By D. Markie Spring
Turks and Caicos Islands:
The past leaders of the OECS members’ states should be applauded for their vision, which our present leaders are failing to conceptualize. The world over will soon become a single unit, where every region is forming alliances in all aspects, including that of security and safety. In this sense, it is necessary that the Caribbean introduces and implements a regional police force.
The Eastern Caribbean has always faceted integrated, but their efforts were crippled and discouraged by the so-called More Developed Countries, especially Jamaica and Barbados that have economic difference and disputes. The Regional Security System - the RSS that was created by the OECS is closest the region has come to creating oneness for our security and safety.
This regional body has served the Eastern Caribbean in the eradication of illegal drugs in the OECS, especially in St Vincent and the Grenadines, where that problem is prominent. Hitherto, the RSS has assisted with security in the 1983 Grenada uprising and the attempted coup d’état in 1990 by the Muslimeen leader, Yasin Abu Bakr in Port of Spain, Trinidad.
This regional force has proven to be effective, although this organization does not have all the necessary equipment. I strongly encourage the leaders of the More Developed Countries to take note.
The Dominican Republic, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Puerto Rico have advanced law enforcement equipment and personnel, which should aid the rest of the regional in its pursuit of a regional security system.
Moreover, the Caribbean is experiencing an increase number of criminal activities. Again most of these criminal activities are evident in the More Developed Countries of the region -- Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Barbados, to some extent. In Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica criminal activities range from kidnapping, murder and other drug related crimes.
Haiti and the Dominican Republic are in a crime zone by themselves. Crimes in the Bahamas are also escalating to a point never imagined.
In my honest opinion, the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Jamaica Defence Force is in no way effectively controlling and dealing with crimes in that state. The same can be said about Trinidad and Tobago -- the same reason the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the RCMP assisted that country with its crime rate in 2006. It is also evident that the crimes associated with the More Developed Countries indirectly influence and affect the OECS nations.
Furthermore, it won’t be much longer before terrorism spreads its operation within our region. The big questions to ask here are, if terror strikes the Caribbean, is any single nation equipped to deal with this problem? And if not, are we going to wait on the US or other global armed forces for months before they respond? So where do we go from here?
In light of this, terrorism in the region is inevitable; it is just a matter of time before it strikes. Millions of American citizens visit our shores on a yearly basis and the trend shows that terrorists target Americans in unexpected places. We should not forget the hotel bombings in India and Indonesia, which targeted American citizens.
Global trends also indicate that countries are forming alliances and integrating their efforts in order to achieve shared responsibilities, shared resources, shared costs, and creating diversity in both their ideas and personnel. The European Union, the economic giant, has formed NATO, the intergovernmental military alliance, which constitutes a system of collective defence. The United States, another economic giant, has solicited the assistance of NATO and UN to fight the war of terror in Afghanistan.
It is safe to conclude that we need a regional force to police our nations -- land, sea and air. With the enormous drug trade, disasters, political unrests, peacekeeping missions, attempted coups d’état, other criminal activities and the advent of terrorism, the region must be prepared. We need a police force that would be readily available for deployment at any time and place.
If a regional organization existed, Haiti would be a better place today. World leaders allowed Haiti’s issues to escalate before they could intervene.
I realise that this mission would be a long painstaking one, which demands enormous energy, finance, political disputes, and months, if not years of planning amongst other underlying challenges; therefore, we must communicate the change early enough and understand the benefits of the integration process. We could only make it happen if we unite our efforts and support the change.
August 5, 2010
Regionalism: The Caribbean prospective - Part 3
Regionalism: The Caribbean prospective - Part 1