Guyana Hosts RSS’ Joint Coordinating and Planning Committee
The Regional Security System (RSS) held its bi-annual meeting of the Joint Coordinating and Planning Committee (JCPC) on October 6, 2023, in the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. The JCPC is comprised of the military and police chiefs of the eight Member States of the RSS, of which Guyana currently holds the chairmanship. The leaders had the opportunity to share expertise, discuss emerging trends, and promote collaborative efforts in the field of security.
During the meeting the Chairman, Brigadier Omar Khan, noted that Guyana's membership in the RSS is anticipated to bring added value to regional domain awareness, partnership, and interoperability. He referenced the increasingly complex operating environment and the challenges it presents to developing countries. This, he concluded, requires countries to advance their collective interests to confront the common and emerging threats. He welcomed the other members to Guyana noting that this is the first time Guyana is hosting such meeting.
The meeting received detailed briefings from the Executive Director, Commodore Errington Shurland, and the leadership of the RSS Headquarters on the activities since the previous meeting as well as the plans and programmes for the remainder of the financial year.
One of the key concerns discussed was the emerging trend of synthetic drugs such as methamphetamines and fentanyl. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is primarily used to treat severe pain. However, it also presents some significant challenges, particularly in relation to its misuse and abuse. In highlighting the challenges, the Security Chiefs received a briefing from the US Drug Enforcement Agency. It was noted that addressing the challenges associated with fentanyl requires a multi-faceted approach involving public awareness, access to addiction treatment services, proper regulation of prescription medications, and law enforcement efforts to curb illegal production and distribution. It is crucial to prioritise education, prevention, and support for individuals struggling with fentanyl misuse.
The Security Chiefs also discussed the current security in Haiti and the likelihood of the deployment of forces from the Caribbean as well as the security implications of the hosting of 4th International Conference on Small Island Developing States in Antigua and Barbuda and the International Cricket Council Cricket World Cup in the region.
The Security Chiefs paid a courtesy call on His Excellency Dr. Irfaan Ali, President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. In his engagement with the Security Chiefs, President Ali urged the body to consider strategic responses to Climate Change and Sea Level Rise to military and police installations, as well as greater level of sharing and the procurement of assets to leverage economies of scale.
The next meeting of the Security Chiefs is scheduled for March 2024.