Media Center

Press Release


  September 28, 2007

Through an updated security agenda, the Organization of American States (OAS) has been actively engaged in helping the region tackle major security challenges of illegal trafficking in drugs, weapons trafficking, transnational organized crime, the emergence of non-state criminal networks, economic dislocations and natural disasters.

Ambassador Albert R. Ramdin, the OAS Assistant Secretary General, underscored these and other issues as he addressed today’s session of the 2007 Annual Legislative Conference Issues Forum of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. Convened by Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-NY), the session on “Homeland Security, Terrorism and the Caribbean” focused on Third Border, Container Security and Megaports Initiatives, and drew participation from more than 100 representatives of the African American community from across the United States.

Ramdin opened the session highlighting the major security challenges and noting how, based on the new security agenda launched by the OAS member states at a 2002 meeting in Barbados, the hemispheric body has strengthened the work of its Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacture of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition and Other Related Materials (CIFTA), the Inter-American Committee on Terrorism (CICTE), activities of the Department of Public Security and new initiatives to strengthen cooperation among national governments and international organizations.

Ambassador Ramdin concluded his remarks by seeking to stimulate discussion during the session on proposals concerning: strengthening law enforcement; increasing the sharing of intelligence; recognizing cross border ramifications of national threats; enhancing cooperation between the Caribbean nations and the US states bordering the Caribbean region; and increasing investment in social policies to combat criminality and poverty, especially among youth.

Among the recommendations emanating from the questions and answer period, was the need for: (a) Caribbean governments to design and cost a comprehensive multidimensional security program as the basis for formal discussions with the US government; (b) sustained collaboration between the management of correctional facilities in the region; (c) field research on the impact in “receiving countries” of the repatriation of criminals from the USA.

The session included presentations by diplomats from the Embassies of Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago as well as specialists on ports security, economic development in the Caribbean, crime prevention and security cooperation.

Reference: E-242/07