COVID-19 Poses Threats To Regional Security

COVID-19 Poses Threats To Regional Security

COVID-19 Poses Threats To Regional Security

Regional Security System | Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Executive Director of the RSS, Captain (N) Errington Shurland

Cyber security, border security and food security within the Caribbean region have been highlighted as three areas which pose significant vulnerabilities during a crisis such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.

This was the view of Executive Director of the Regional Security System (RSS), Captain (N) Errington Shurland, as he delivered his presentation at the first Virtual Security Conference in the Caribbean Community which was hosted by the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (CARICOM IMPACS).

Captain Shurland stated that COVID-19 presented new challenges to addressing the already existing transnational crimes such as the illegal trafficking of drugs and firearms and the rising level of violence.

“The pandemic has definitely brought into stark reality the multi-dimensional nature of security challenges confronting our region… Individually they threaten the well-being of CARICOM countries but together they threaten our very existence,” he asserted.

The RSS official indicated that with the recent surge in remote business operations and information and communications technology (ICT), there has been a rise in cybercrime, with evidence showing a 350 per cent increase in the phishing of websites.

Stressing the need for cyber security providers to shift their focus to building a resilient cyber domain, Captain Shurland stated: “I would suggest, strongly so, that consideration be given to signing on to the Budapest Convention; it is the first international treaty seeking to address internet and computer crime by harmonizing national laws, improving investigative techniques and increasing cooperation.”

He further noted that countries in the region must be more agile in creating or updating national cyber security strategies.

The Executive Director also highlighted the importance of border security coordination, noting that the operational challenges which border security agencies had faced in the first stages of the COVID-19 outbreak highlighted the need to “step-up” assistance on health related issues, including crisis management and contingency planning.

Captain Shurland posited that: “Just as transnational organized crime does not stop at borders similarly the coronavirus does not.  The importance of Border Security coordination and cooperation is even more critical as a consequence of COVID-19, and evidence suggests that there is a need for a better Border Management System at the national level that is fully integrated.”

The RSS head maintained that “an overarching regional response mechanism that includes the development of plans for biological, chemical, radiological and even nuclear hazards, at the intermediate and national response levels, must be considered.”

With regards to food security, Captain Shurland underscored its connection to national security.  He explained that due to a catastrophic decline in revenues and insufficient access to concessional financing, countries may be unable to import food, which would lead to food shortages and could potentially spearhead civil unrest.

“The onset of COVID-19 has underscored for our region, and indeed the global community, the need to establish effective and meaningful collaborative mechanisms to anticipate global risks and threats… What is critical for us not only as a region, but as a global community, is to focus on information sharing… I believe that multilateralism is critical in wrestling COVID-19 to the ground,” he opined.

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Work Of Former CDEMA Head Lauded

Work Of Former CDEMA Head Lauded

Work Of Former CDEMA Head Lauded

Regional Security System | Monday, June 1, 2020

The RSS has had a “hearty and healthy relationship” with CDEMA, during the tenure of former CDEMA head, Ronald Jackson. (Photo: RSS)

The work of former Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), Ronald Jackson, recently came in for high praise from Executive Director of the Regional Security System (RSS), Captain (N) Errington Shurland.

Conveying sentiments on behalf of the RSS Council of Ministers, the Security Chiefs and the management and staff of the RSS Headquarters, Captain Shurland lauded Mr. Jackson for his “sterling contribution” to CDEMA and presented him with a plaque to express gratitude for his service. “Your passion, commitment and dedication to disaster risk management in the Caribbean for the past seven years has been nothing short of outstanding,” he affirmed

The RSS official boasted of the “hearty and healthy relationship” which the two institutions have enjoyed under Mr. Jackson’s tenure, and gave the assurance that the RSS would strive to maintain that bond.

Mr. Jackson was appointed Executive Director of CDEMA on April 3, 2013. He has provided sterling leadership of the regional coordination and responses to Dominica, St. Lucia and St. Vincent after the Christmas Trough in 2013; Tropical Storm Erika in Dominica in 2015; Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017; Hurricane Dorian in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas in 2019 and in the current COVID-19 Pandemic now affecting the region.

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