President Bharrat Jagdeo is of the view that crime in the region cannot be solved by crafting regional organizations and is suggesting that the place where there will be greater impact on crime is in the domestic jurisdiction.
Meanwhile he is also insisting that there is a role for coordination, but it should be based on information flow through the offices of regional commissioners of police, the Government Information Agency (GINA) reported.
“This is what is needed rather than building regional bureaucracies to talk about crime,” the President is quoted as saying.
“We set up a small one for World Cup Cricket then it morphed into a big regional bureaucracy with a whole range of initiatives, some of which may be useful, and then the last meeting we had (they) came to us and presented an administrative budget for US$30M per annum to be funded by a new tax on airlines, while everyone recognizes that the region has to reduce the cost of our tourism. This is a perfect example of what I am saying,” Jagdeo noted.
He said further, “I made the point that to fund a regional bureaucracy that is about as much as I spend on my entire police force.”
Jagdeo said that within each jurisdiction there is need for more and improved intelligence, counter-intelligence, better anti-crime capabilities, improved forensic capabilities, SWAT teams and similar initiatives.
The Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), at its Twenty-Second Meeting held in Nassau, The Bahamas in July 2001, had raised concerns over the new forms of crime and violence that continue to pose threats to the region’s security.
These latest types of crime were recognized as having implications for individual safety and the social and economic well-being of the region as a whole.
The Heads agreed to establish a Regional Task Force on Crime and Security to examine the major causes of crime and to recommend approaches to deal with the inter-related problems of crime, illicit drugs and firearms, as well as terrorism.
The Task Force comprised representatives from each of the member states, the Regional Security System (RSS), the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police, the University of the West Indies (UWI), and the Regional Secretariats (CARICOM and the OECS).
In 2007, the Conference of Heads of Government took a decision which resulted in the Regional Intelligence Fusion Centre (RIFC) and Joint Regional Communications Centre (JRCC) becoming sub-agencies of IMPACS. The agency reports to CONSLE, while a management committee comprising permanent secretaries from a maximum of seven member states is responsible for general management (administration and finance) and oversight of IMPACS and its sub-agencies.
The agency is staffed by personnel from CARICOM member states, many of whom are serving or retired law enforcement, military and border security officers dedicated to providing maximum support towards securing the region and ultimately individual CARICOM states.
According to GINA, Jagdeo believes the IMPACS needs to be examined carefully and he asked “what will happen to crime figures in each state if we are to close IMPACS?”.