Cybercrime has the potential to cause untold damage to individuals and countries.
This is according to Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite, who admitted that Barbados, and many of its regional counterparts, still had deficiencies in dealing with th issue.
He expressed these concerns recently, as he addressed the opening of the Third Americas Working Group Meeting at the Hilton Barbados Resort.
Mr. Brathwaite told the lawmen gathered that within the last few years, no country in the English-speaking Caribbean had been spared the effects of a cybercrime attack.
“Whether it be the private sector or the public sector; Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados, or St Vincent, none of us have been saved from being attacked, [and] it is expected that it will cost us billions of dollars in the region,” he said, noting that a Jamaican bank already lost US$130 million as a result of cybercrime.
Pointing out that the region started looking into the issues surrounding cybercrime late and were now trying to catch up, the Attorney General said officials met in 2010 to examine the region’s position on cybercrime and identified a number of serious challenges given its lack of experience in that capacity.
“We realised there and then [that] we needed to place ‘up front and centre’ how we address the deficiencies that we believe we had as a region and as a country,” he said.
However, the Attorney General lamented that seven years later, he could not say Barbados or the region were where they needed to be in terms of dealing with cybercrime and the consequences that could result.
“I don’t feel comfortable that I can stand and say to you that we are where we need to be. We do have some capacity issues, we do have some financial issues, [and] we do have some knowledge gaps…,” he acknowledged.
Meanwhile, Director of the Cybercrime Directorate of INTERPOL, Silvino Schlickman Junior, reaffirmed his agency’s commitment to fighting cybercrime, which was being regarded as one of the biggest challenges facing law enforcement officials.
Noting any one could fall victim to cybercrime, Mr. Schlickman stressed the importance of police staying ahead of the criminals.
“INTERPOL believes that cooperation is key to fighting cybercrime. We have to work together closely to counter the increasing threat,” he stated.