Barbados’ Prime Minister, Freundel Stuart has called on CARICOM Heads of Government to refocus on the Regional Security System to better protect Caribbean countries.
Prime Minister Stuart, at the opening of the Twenty-Eighth Inter-Sessional meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, explained that over the years, some Caribbean states have faced threats to their security in the form of direct invasion, mercenary attack, incursion and intervention. Against that background, he is calling on Heads of Government to start focusing on regional security.
“We have to spend some time on the whole issue of regional security which is for us not just a law and order issue, but for us, a developmental issue, and therefore, we’re going to be spending some considerable time on that,” Prime Minister Stuart explained.
The Regional Security System is an international agreement for the defence and security of the Eastern Caribbean region, created to counter threats to the stability of the region in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The Barbadian Prime Minister said that efforts have been made since the early 1970s for the establishment of a collective security mechanism in the region. In 1982 a Memorandum of Understanding was signed among Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines to prepare contingency plans and assist one another on request, in national emergencies and threats to national security.
Barbados was assigned a central, dominant role in the new regime. It did not include St. Kitts-Nevis and Grenada, but these two territories joined within the next three years.
“We embarked on this journey in 1973 because people of the Caribbean need to feel safe in their everyday going out and coming in, the effect of not just being citizens of one country, but citizens of a regional civilisation and that is what we are aiming for,” Prime Minister Stuart pointed out.
The Barbadian Prime Minister re-emphasised the need for recommitment by CARICIOM countries, to address peace and security from its multidimensional perspective. He noted that this regional project should be given a chance by Heads of Government to ensure decisions taken are implemented.
Peace and security in many of the nations of this hemisphere stand in a very delicate balance. Therefore, CARICOM countries must work towards the establishment or strengthening of the institutions in the Inter-American system to, not only build confidence, but ensure peace and security in the hemisphere, Prime Minister Stuart pointed out. (GINA)