Barbados And US Stepping Up Fight Against Crime

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US Attorney General, Eric Holder, Jr. (left) is pictured as he met with Barbados’ Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite yesterday at his Wildey office. (A. Gaskin/BGIS)

Barbados and the US are committed to wrestling with and reducing the incidence of serious crimes in the region, particularly those that are of mutual concern, such as transnational offences and narcotic trafficking that have had a detrimental effect on the region.

This was the clear-cut message emanating from yesterday’s talks between US Attorney General, Eric Holder, and Barbados’ Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite.

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US Attorney General, Eric Holder, Jr. (left) is pictured as he met with Barbados’ Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite yesterday at his Wildey office. Others??left?? to right are: Deputy Assistant Counselor for Industry Affairs, Department of Justice Bruce Swartz; US Charge D’Affaires, Christopher Sandrolini; and Counselor to the US Attorney General, Denise Cheung; along with??Barbados’ Commissioner of Police, Darwin Dottin and Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Barbados Attorney General, Diane Campbell. (A. Gaskin/BGIS)

Mr. Holder, who is head of the United States Department of Justice and his country’s chief law enforcement officer, arrived in Barbados yesterday on a two-day visit for bilateral talks, as well as discussions with the Attorneys General of the Eastern Caribbean.

Mr. Holder and his Barbadian counterpart examined areas of functional cooperation and best practices, including the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative.

Mr. Holder emphasised that the United States cared about what was happening in the region and said that his government wanted to have a closer working relationship to try to solve some of the problems that were adversely affecting both the region and the US. He maintained that this was imperative since, as neighbours, the Caribbean islands were in close proximity to its borders.

He stressed that the United States was a partner in the fight against crime and would be paying more attention to areas of cross border cooperation, noting that without safety, security and crime prevention, the public’s wellbeing could not be guaranteed.

Mr. Holder added that it was important to identify the underlying risk factors that precipitated crime, and that the US Justice Department had been paying special attention to social issues as a means of "getting a handle on the crime problem". He further contended that policing programmes had to be culturally sensitive if they were to be effective, and cautioned that if young people felt a sense of alienation then they might resort to negative and anti-social behaviour.

This country’s Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite, explained that Barbados, despite its limited resources, was striving to rein in the rate of serious crimes, especially where the youth were concerned. He thanked the US Attorney General for his administration’s continued commitment in assisting the Regional Security System over the years, and welcomed having greater cooperation with the United States to fight the scourge of illegal drugs that was posing a threat to regional security.

Mr. Brathwaite said that throughout the region there were ongoing issues of crime and security, but stressed that unless countries tried to find remedies to the underlying causes, then prosperity would be limited.

He pointed to such factors as high unemployment in the region as one causal factor that fuelled crime, and told Mr. Holder that persons involved in illicit drug trafficking needed to feel the full weight of the law and to have their assets seized if found guilty of committing such offences.

He reassured that Barbados was working assiduously, with like-minded regional states and extra-regional partners to stem the incidence of serious crimes; since, as he put it, "as a government, we owe it to our citizens and future generations to be proactive and committed to achieving positive results from our actions."

The US Attorney General said it was a pleasure for him to be in Barbados again, and that the island held a special place in his heart since he had familial ties here that included his father and grandparents.

During yesterday’s talks, Mr. Holder also met with the Commissioner of Police, Darwin Dottin, and the Director of Public Prosecutions, Charles Leacock.

cathy.lashley@barbados.gov.bb

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