Friday, April 20, 2012

USA, SVG sign new agreement:Drugs traffickers beware

Author: Kenville Horne Published: 04/12/2012

The Barack Obama led United States of America administration and the Dr. Ralph Gonsalves led government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines have signed another agreement, under the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative(CBSI).

The CBSI is a commitment made by President Obama at the fifth Summit of the Americas Conference in April 2009, to deepen regional security cooperation and complement the other citizen security initiatives in the Hemisphere.
The recent agreement, signed on Wednesday 4th April, at the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Kingstown, extends assistance to this country’s fight against illicit drug trafficking and effort to increase public safety.

It provides a sum of US$768,000 to be used as follows: US$200,000 towards law enforcement professionalization; US$343,000 for rule of law and anti-corruption measures; and US$ 134,000 to strengthen counter-narcotics control capabilities.

Money laundering and financial crimes will be tackled with an additional US$91,000.

The agreement will also see the US providing assistance in sharing real time information in locating, indentifying, tracking and intercepting civil aircraft in SVG’s airspace.

Traffickers will be caught

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Charge d’ Affaires/ US embassy in Barbados, Christopher Sandrolini, stated, “The United States has contributed by developing the Cooperative Sensor Integrated Initiative(CSII) to integrate partner nations with the United States into a regional Web Base, declassifying the information sharing system covering air and sea.”

Sandrolini espoused that, with the sharing of real time information, drug traffickers will be caught and prosecuted.

Adding that the US has a role beyond counter narcotics, he detailed the benefits of the agreement. “It will increase air and maritime domain awareness by improving our shared ability to assemble and analyze real time data, which we can act upon, and there will be improved capacities in humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and search and rescue.”

He commended the local authorities on the recent conviction of Antonio Gellizeau , referring to it as a “ground- breaking conviction which established an important precedent in the Eastern Caribbean,” and added that “if they (drug traffickers) are not stopped, they will also use their (ill-gotten) gains to ferment corruption and other kinds of crimes, which essentially are corrosive to the fabric of a free society.”

US and SVG continuing cooperation

According to Prime Minister Dr. Gonsalves, the United States has two C26 aircrafts doing over flights and providing information relating to the detection and apprehension of people at sea.

“They wouldn’t know what is happening, the persons who are at sea. When the plane is in the sky, they wouldn’t see it, but the infra-red facility is picking them up and they connect with the coast guard bases, for us to move,” Dr. Gonsalves warned.

Dr. Gonsalves praised President Obama for initiating the CBSI, saying that it was bearing fruit.
The US government is also expected to provide, by July this year, two fast interceptors.
The construction of a Coast Guard base in Canouan will also receive assistance under the CBSI.

From The Vincentian