Approximately 1.935 million persons from across Regional Security System (RSS) Member States have been affected by hazard events since 1982, and the estimated damages to these nations have surpassed US $8 million.
This was disclosed by Executive Director of the RSS, Commodore Errington Shurland, during the launch of the RSS’ Unity Exercise (UNEX) 2024, which was held yesterday at the Ministry of Infrastructure, Ports, Transport, Physical Development and Urban Renewal, in Castries, St. Lucia.
Commodore Shurland pointed out that in the past, the events, whether it be hurricanes, fire, or volcanic activity, have caused significant instability, and in turn has required additional resources to support the states’ national response plans.
To this end, he emphasised the relevance of the Unity Exercise as it is designed to test the efficiency of coordinating resource deployments in support of RSS Member States, under the RSS Response Mechanism.
The RSS head also alluded to the security threats which are currently affecting the region for which mobilisation of RSS resources may also be required, and affirmed the relevance of a “homegrown” exercise to test the efficacy of the organisation’s response mechanism.
“At the RSS Headquarters we foresee a security environment which may be affected by serious climatic events and public health concerns, migratory pressures and post-conflict and post-disaster economies created and sustained by transnational criminal organisations, the exacerbation of crime and insecurity environments due to the nefarious use of technology and artificial intelligence…This signifies the importance of constantly monitoring the security environment with a view to understanding its evolution, evaluating the utility of our Response Mechanism to these threats, and upgrading our alliances in light of the deficiencies uncovered,” he maintained.
Meanwhile, Attaché – Security, Justice & Human Rights Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean States, the OECS and CARICOM/CARIFORUM, Alessandro Tedesco, also lauded the Unity Exercise and reaffirmed the EU’s commitment to assisting the RSS in this and future projects.
“The support to the RSS is part of a larger commitment to help the EU ensure higher security standards in the region. This is further evidence of the EU’s intention to provide increasingly coordinated assistance to our regional partners to meet their ever-evolving needs,” Mr. Tedesco asserted.
UNEX 2024 is being implemented under the RSS 11th European Development Fund project in collaboration with the European Union and the Government of St. Lucia. It will be held from April 3 – 14, 2024 and will see participation from security organisations from the eight RSS Member States, in addition to representation from regional and international partners.