CARICOM-Central America agree joint fight on organized crime

The third CARICOM-SICA Summit in San Salvador, El Salvador, on Friday agreed to promote coordinated initiatives between their sub-regional institutions to combat transnational organized crime, according to a  copy of the joint declaration from the CARICOM Secretariat at Turkeyen.

The agreement included drug trafficking, illicit trafficking of weapons, human trafficking, terrorist acts, and other criminal activities that impinge on the security, welfare, and social and economic development of their  countries.

In this regard, the Secretariats of CARICOM and SICA and their specialized agencies were requested to harmonize theirapproaches with particular emphasis on the strategic security plans and to exchange ideas and  cooperate in order to combat international organized crime.

In addition, the two sub-regions agreed to instruct the Caribbean Disaster Emer-gency Management Agency (CDEMA) and the Centre of Coordination for the Preven-tion of Natural Disasters in Central America (CEPREDENAC) to exchange information, experiences and training on integrated disaster risk management.

They also welcomed Panama´s initiative to establish a Regional Humanitarian Assistance Logistic Centre, with the participation of international cooperation agencies. This centre will be able to respond to any emergency situations in the region within 24 to 48 hours, the release noted.

The summit also decided to promote  within the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism,  monitoring, control and surveillance to prevent and eradicate illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, and to explore new options of production like aquaculture.

And looking at air and maritime transportation, the summit agreed to instruct national and regional institutions to take initiatives to improve these sectors of transportation between the two sub-regions in order to increase trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchanges.

Going further onto the cultural stage, they agreed to instruct the two secretariats of CARICOM and SICA to establish a mechanism to cooperate in promoting a regime for cultural industries and to collaborate towards the participation of SICA member states in CARIFESTA XI in Suriname in August 2013, the release said.

Moreover, while underscoring the importance of  economic relations, including trade, investment and tourism between the  sub-regions, the summit instructed that ministers responsible for foreign trade and economy should resume discussions in order to conclude a trade agreement between CARICOM and SICA under conditions established in the Joint Declaration of the Second Summit of Heads of State and Government held in May 2007, using as a reference the current Free Trade Agreement between Costa Rica and CARICOM.

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