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Remarks for the RSS Maritime Security Strategy Project:  Hand Over Ceremony

Remarks by Deputy Executive Secretary of the Inter American Committee Against Terrorism for the Organization of American States, Violanda Botet.

Good morning,

On behalf of the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States and the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (otherwise known as “CICTE”), it is a great pleasure to be here today to participate in this ceremonial handover of Maritime Security Strategies for seven states who are members of both the Regional Security System and the Organization of American States. 

I’d like to begin by acknowledging and thanking the Honorable Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados who will speak later this morning. 

I also want to thank the key institutions and individuals who were instrumental in designing, funding and implementing this project over the last two years.

  • First, the success of this project is based on the commitment, dedication and support of the Member States which participated.  Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Without their active engagement, expertise and commitment to this effort, it would have been impossible to achieve these important outcomes. 
  • I also want to thank the Caribbean Development Bank for its financial support for this initiative and its commitment to strengthening maritime security in the Caribbean region.
  • Many thanks too to the Regional Security System for partnering with us on this endeavor.  A special thanks to Commodore Errington Shurland and his expert team, especially Rhea Reid-Bowen, for their leadership, their dedication and overall stewardship of this program.
  • I also extend another warm thanks to CICTE’s key collaborator on this project, the International Maritime Organization, for its global leadership on maritime issues.  Throughout this engagement, we have worked hand in hand with Andrew Clarke, and we thank him and his colleagues including Peter Adams from IMO and the United Kingdom’s Department for Transport for their invaluable support.  
  • Last but not least, I want to extend a special thanks to my team members in CICTE, Lisbeth Laurie, for her leadership and management of the project.  She overcame many challenges in implementing this initiative in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. And we are truly grateful for the work of our key expert, John Platts, for the expertise, counsel and wisdom that he brought to this process.

Developing national maritime security strategies is key to promoting security in the Caribbean. These strategies help national authorities implement their long term vision for developing and safeguarding their maritime domains, including territorial waters.  These plans also assist in putting in place safeguards which can serve to counter threats which all states must address, such as terrorism related activities, corruption and poor management practices.  

National Maritime Security strategies also help states ensure that they are conforming to international rules and best practices related to maritime operations and that their domestic legislation and rules and policies reflect these norms.

Improving maritime and port security in our Hemisphere is a key objective of CICTE’s work and we have provided practical support to the region in this area now for nearly 15 years.  But we haven’t done it alone. We firmly believe in the importance of cooperation and coordination and so we have been honored to work alongside organizations such as the International Maritime Organization, CARICOM-IMPACS and RSS to strengthen maritime security of our region.

This particular effort has been two years in the making. Some of you will recall we began this journey in April 2019 with a briefing to the RSS Council of Ministers in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  

Since then, CICTE has been working hand in hand with RSS HQ, national authorities, and with key maritime security officials in Antigua & Barbuda; Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts & Nevis; St. Lucia; and St. Vincent & the Grenadines to see this project to a successful completion.

I am particularly proud to confirm that together we have developed:

  • Four comprehensive National Maritime Security Strategies for Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Three additional strategies for Dominica, St. Lucia and Grenada that have not yet been fully completed but are very nicely advanced .
  • And one regional maritime security strategy for the entire Caribbean area.

However, we know that the real value in a strategy and other similar policy documents, lies in its use and implementation. And so today I’d like to encourage all Member States to first congratulate yourselves on this important accomplishment, but also I want to encourage you to begin implementing these strategies as quickly as possible. CICTE of course would welcome the opportunity to continue supporting you in that process and in other efforts to help strengthen and protect the Caribbean’s maritime domain.

Thank you.

Written by RSS

October 26, 2021

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