Caricom boss says negotiations on Arrest Warrant Treaty, Assets Recovery progressing

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While there is no guarantee that the legal instruments, the Arrest Warrant Treaty and the Assets Recovery programme will be adopted anytime soon, the Caribbean Community (Caricom) is very much advanced in getting this completed.

Caricom Secretary General Irwin LaRocque on Monday told journalists that some of these legal instruments require very careful examination.

Last week, Minister of State Joseph Harmon said Guyana will present the draft Caricom Arrest Warrant Treaty for ratification at the 28th Intercessional Caricom Heads of Government meeting which will be held in Guyana on Thursday and Friday of this week.

He said the adoption of the Treaty will simplify the procedures by which fugitives from justice are returned to participating Member States to face criminal prosecution or serve judicial sentences.

The Treaty is one of the regional security instruments that was formulated to enhance cooperation between Member States in the fight against crime and to reduce the complexity, cost and delays in the existing extradition arrangements inherent in the Region.

Meanwhile, LaRocque said the Asset Recovery programme is a legal instrument that would allow for the recovery of assets that have been transferred to another country by “ill-gotten means”.

He said it will first be a legal instrument of treaty and will have to be enacted in domestic legislations. He said negotiations are moving forward and it has received the attention of the Council for Crime and Security and the Legal Affairs Committee which comprises Attorneys General from across the Region.

Harmon had said last week that Guyana will give its approval on the return and sharing of assets at the two-day meeting.

The crime and security strategy was adopted at Caricom’s 24th Intercessional Meeting held in Haiti in October 2013. It included the utilisation of asset recovery as a tool in the fight against organised crime.

Meanwhile LaRocque, responding to questions on how soon the legal instruments would be ratified, said once it gets the clearance of the Legal Affairs Committee, a recommendation will be made to the conference of Heads of Government that it is ready for adoption and that is where the signature will take place.

Guyana will also be recommending the signing of a draft agreement to establish the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy Efficiency (CCREE) at the Heads of Government meeting. “This agreement is geared at addressing several areas including energy security, energy access for production use and climate change mitigation,” Minister Harmon said.

Guyana’s green agenda will benefit substantially from this agreement by way of technical and financial support, the Minister of State noted.

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