The Ministry of Home Affairs Acting Deputy Chief Officer, Michael Ebanks, led a team of senior officials to the CARICOM Counter-Terrorism Strategy Conference, in Trinidad and Tobago, on June 12-13.
Hosted by the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security, in collaboration with the European Union, the purpose of the conference was to finalise the CARICOM Counter-Terrorism Strategy that will help guide the CARICOM member states in their efforts to address terrorism and violent extremism.
The Cayman Islands delegation included officials from the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, Immigration Border Control, Customs Department and Her Majesty’s Cayman Islands Prison Service. They included the Director of Prison Service, Neil Lavis, RCIPS Detective Sergeant, Leonel Riverol, Acting Deputy Chief Immigration Officer, Tamara Reid-Vernon, Deputy Collector of Customs Border Protection, Jeff Jackson and RCIPS Detective Superintendent Peter Lansdown
Conference participants included senior representatives from various law enforcement throughout the region, public safety and intelligence services of CARICOM member states and partner nations.
The group worked to formulate activities under the five pillars of the proposed CARICOM Counter-Terrorism Strategy:
1. Preventing violent extremism;
2. Denying terrorists the means and opportunity to carry out their activities;
3. Disrupting extremist and terrorist activities and movements in CARICOM Member States;
4. Improving preparedness for terrorist attacks; and
5. Responding effectively to terrorist attacks and promoting a culture of resilience.
“At the heart of counter-terrorism is cooperation, and in that regard the conference was a brilliant display of collective action, coordination, and leadership,” Mr. Ebanks said. “We are fortunate that officials from various enforcement agencies in Cayman attended the conference because it takes multiple agencies to approach this issue and identify our plan as a country going forward.”
The Acting DCO served as an expert on border security, while Mr. Lavis served as an expert on preventing radicalisation in prisons.
The overriding objective of the CARICOM Counter-Terrorism Strategy is to support national, regional, and international counter-terrorism efforts in advancing security and public safety.
Premier and Minister for Immigration, Alden McLaughlin, said: “The threat of terrorism and violent extremism is global in scope, and one which every country has a responsibility to tackle.”
He added: “The development of the CARICOM Counter-Terrorism Strategy is crucial for this region as it can be used as a road map identifying how the region should address the issue. Given the transnational nature of the threat it is clear that a focus must be placed on developing multilateral solutions.”