Saturday, June 1, 2013

Criminal deportees from the United States to the Caribbean are a great challenge to the countries of the region...

CARICOM leaders discuss criminal deportees with Biden

by Calvin G. Brown:

Regional Governments have told US Vice President Joe Biden that the matter of criminal deportees from the US to the Caribbean was a great challenge to the countries of the region and the US needs to do more in terms of intelligence sharing in this regard.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar the incoming Chairman of the CARICOM's Conference of Heads of Government, told the media yesterday that the matter of criminal deportees featured in the discussions with the US Vice President as it was one of the issues that Specific focus was given to the issue as it relates to the Caribbean, and the increase of crime and violence, which has a perceived correlation with the increase in the number of criminal deportees from the United States of America.

She also indicated that the discussions were in line with the Prime Minister’s meeting with US Deputy Secretary of State, William Burns on April 17, this year, when she referred to the need for the US Government to do more to inform Trinidad and Tobago and regional authorities of the criminal background of deportees from Caribbean countries and to the need to improve information sharing on deportations.

The Prime Minister thanked Biden, noting that one of the major problems being experienced is that many of the criminal deportees would have left the Region prior to adulthood and do not have any ties to the countries to which they have been deported.

In this context, Persad-Bissessar suggested that increased focus should be placed on improved information and intelligence sharing with respect to criminal deportees, in particular access to complete dossiers on medical and criminal history as well as consideration of financial and technical assistance to establish re-integration programmes within CARICOM Member States.

In addition, she noted that because the majority of criminal deportees have few support networks or connections in their home country, making them vulnerable to criminal careers, therefore threatening the same citizen peace and security that the Region is working so assiduously to improve.

The Prime Minister referred to a Memorandum of Understanding between both governments, pertaining to the removal of criminal aliens from the United States. That MoU, from the year 2000, was intended to address, among other issues, the challenges faced by Trinidad and Tobago when criminal aliens arrive from the US without advanced notification. However it has not produced all of the expected results as it failed to ensure forwarding of complete records.

The Prime Minister thanked the US Vice President for his visit and noted that the visit indicated that the US remains a strong ally to the region.

She noted that other security matters were discussed at their meeting, including an offer from the United States with respect to the use of naval vessels that are being decommissioned to see whether they would be able to assist with border security.

The Prime Miinister said several options had been discussed along with the invitation to see the naval vessels on site and their capabilities.

At yesterday’s media briefing, at which no questions were allowed, chairman of Caricom, Haitian President Michel Martelly, described the talks as “frank but cordial” and said the meeting with Biden was an important precursor to a summit between regional leaders and US President Barack Obama.

Biden said the talks were “important,” “completely open, frank and straightforward,” Persad-Bissessar said: “Both of you mentioned being very frank. I would say that it was brutal, but at the end of the day there was consensus and together we share much in common: in terms of our people, in terms of our culture. Indeed our jurisprudence and our language.”

May 29, 2013

Caricom News Network