CDEMA Team Off To Suriname To Assess Impact Of Heavy Flooding

CDEMA Team Off To Suriname To Assess Impact Of Heavy Flooding

CDEMA Team Off To Suriname To Assess Impact Of Heavy Flooding

Regional Security System | Tuesday, May 31, 2022

CDEMA’s Programme Manager, Preparedness and Response, Joanne Persad, preparing to board the RSS aircraft for her mission to Suriname. (Photo courtesy CDEMA)

The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), has deployed a two-man team to travel to Suriname to assess the impact of heavy flooding caused by recent heavy rainfall.

This follows a Declaration on Wednesday, May 25, from President of Suriname, Chandrikaperdad Santokhi, that the districts of Brokopondo, Sipaliwini, Marowijne, Para, Saramacca, Coronie and Nickerie, in the Interior and southern sections, have been severely impacted due to continuous rainfall which started as early as March affecting agricultural crops, roads, electricity, housing, and schools.

The CDEMA Response Support Mission is being led by Programme Manager, Preparedness and Response, Joanne Persad who is supported by Navindra Persad from the Disaster Preparedness Office in Trinidad and Tobago. The one-week mission will assess the situation on the ground and help with determining the response and humanitarian needs of the country.

Following the Declaration from President Santokhi, CDEMA activated a high-level meeting attended by its international partner donors operating in the region, where more than a dozen pledged humanitarian assistance to the Suriname people.

Funding support for the RSS transport of the two-man team and a CARICOM Operations Support Team is being provided by the USAID Eastern and Southern Caribbean through the Caribbean Climate Resilience Initiative which is being implemented by the CDEMA CU.

Executive Director, Elizabeth Riley explained that “CDEMA is in solidarity with the government and people of Suriname at this troubling time. We recognise the multi-hazard environment in which this severe flood event has occurred and has been monitoring the situation since March. We have been in constant contact with the National Co-ordinating Centre for Disaster Management in the country and stands ready to assist where necessary. The Advance Team, which is heading to Suriname, will be able to better inform us of the co-ordination response needed as well be able to determine the humanitarian assistance that will follow.”


Barbados Committed To Fighting Illicit Maritime Trafficking

Barbados Committed To Fighting Illicit Maritime Trafficking

Barbados Committed To Fighting Illicit Maritime Trafficking

Regional Security System | Sunday, May 22, 2022

Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, Alies Jordan, and EU Ambassador to the Eastern Caribbean OECS and CARICOM/CARIFORUM, Malgorzata Wasilewska, as they signed the SEACOP MOU. At right is SEACOP’s Project Coordinator, Dominique Bucas, while looking on is Deputy Director of the RSS, Graham Archer and EU Representative, Luc Pazelt. (Photo courtesy T. Barker/BGIS)

Barbados has renewed its commitment to fight illicit maritime trafficking and protect our borders. This comes with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Expertise France/International and Ibero/American Foundation for Administration and Public Policy for the European Union (EU) funded phase five of the Seaport Cooperation Project (SEACOP).

The signing took place Friday at the Main Guard, St. Ann’s Fort, the Garrison.  Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, Alies Jordan signed on behalf of government, while EU Ambassador to the Eastern Caribbean (OECS) and CARICOM/CARIFORUM, Malgorzata Wasilewska, signed on behalf of the EU.

In her welcome remarks, Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, Alies Jordan, spoke of the importance of the SEACOP programme in building the island’s security infrastructure and achieving Sustainable Development Goal number 17 which speaks to partnership for the strengthening of the goals.

“Barbados is one of those countries that pays very serious and close attention to the execution of sustainable development goals. These goals we recognise, are akin to goals we have for ourselves in terms of the development trajectory of Barbados. So partnerships such as the one that we have here this afternoon between the EU and the government, on this particular programme, SEACOP, are very near and dear to us.”, Ms. Jordan stated.

Staff Advisor to the Chief of Staff, Commander Mark Peterson, thanked Ambassador Wasilewska for the continued interest in helping to promote the safety, security and stability of Barbados and the wider Caribbean region, through international partnerships such as SEACOP.

He maintained that the trafficking of illicit goods, including illegal drugs was mainly through transport by sea and concealment among legitimate cargo within containers or on cargo vessels, fishing boats and yachts.

Commander Peterson pointed out that inadequate port controls and general institutional weaknesses facilitated criminal activity and “enabled the intersection of illicit flows connecting ports in our region to ports in Africa and Europe that promote criminal networking”.

“This flexibility in transatlantic maritime trafficking is a fundamental reason why it is necessary to target trans-regional trafficking routes in a consistent, coherent and simultaneous manner,” the senior military official stated.

Mr. Peterson underscored the importance of partnerships in Barbados’ quest to be a zone of peace. “… We can never have enough friends, partners and allies in this never-ending quest to protect our islands and our reputation for being known as a zone of peace and stability. Certainly, regional and international criminal networks are also forging connections with the focused intent of destabilizing our way of life and destroying our children’s future through drugs, crime and violence.”

He continued: “That is why initiatives like SEACOP, and hopefully more like it, are always to be appreciated. For they send a clear message that those who believe in the triumph of good over evil, will always fight to protect our future.

Meanwhile, Ambassador Wasilewska acknowledged the threats posed to governments and societies by organised crime and drug trafficking. She suggested that governments must be aware of the challenges and “seek innovative solutions so that we can respond quickly and effectively to rapidly evolving trends”.

“In order to be that step ahead, we must join forces that go beyond local and national approaches, build a common agenda to forge effective regional and global responses and work together very closely in implementing them.  Building resilience of governance systems to resist organised crime and tackle associated risks is critical to security and development,” she underlined.

The Ambassador said the EU was deeply committed to addressing these issues through close cooperation and coordination with its regional partners evidenced by the assistance and programmes offered to the region.

SEACOP’s Project Coordinator, Dominique Bucas highlighted the need for  knowledge and sharing of intelligence with the agencies involved in the illicit drugs fight.

He said the organisation was keen to renew the partnership with Barbados and the signing of the MOU “is a way to register firmly about our common will to fight jointly in illicit trafficking.

SEACOP promotes closer ties between the Barbados Police Service, Customs and the Barbados Coast Guard, by combatting illicit maritime trafficking and associated criminal networks through maritime intelligence sharing.

The programme was implemented in Barbados in 2015.


RSS 40th Anniversary Celebrations Underway

RSS 40th Anniversary Celebrations Underway

RSS 40th Anniversary Celebrations Underway

Regional Security System | Tuesday, April 3, 2022

The Regional Security System will be celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, and plans are underway to commemorate the milestone in a grand way.

Operating under the motto Strength through Unity, the RSS will unite its eight Member States through face-to-face and virtual events, to reflect on its journey since its inception in October 1982, and to charter a path for the future.

Coordinator of the anniversary celebrations, and Disaster Management & Humanitarian Assistance Co-ordinator, Keisha Linton, affirmed that the distance between Member States would not hinder plans to have an all-included celebration.

“While the RSS is divided by waters, the establishment is bound by the mutual goal of ensuring a secure region. And, just as we share this responsibility so too will we share in this achievement of attaining 40 years,” she stated.

The RSS official pointed out that there would be a number of projects designed to bring greater awareness to the role of the organisation, and expressed hope that ties would be created between the agencies under the its aegis and citizens of its Member States.

“Building relationships with our communities is extremely important to the RSS. Many people may not be aware of, or completely understand, what we do, but we intend to change that this year, and we hope that our efforts will increase cooperation between members of our team and members of the public,” Ms. Linton declared.

Among the six-month plans for the RSS’ celebration are a number of community outreach programmes; a Family Fun Day; the production of a documentary series on the RSS; a mural competition and internal team building actitvities.

More details on the events will be posted to the RSS’ website and its Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Youtube pages.