Keeping Barbados and other CARICOM territories secure is the number one priority for the Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS).

Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Brathwaite, made this clear during an interview with the Barbados Government Information Service last Friday at the just concluded Heads of Government Conference of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) held in Antigua.

As Chairman of the Council for National Security and Law Enforcement, Mr. Brathwaite was invited to give an update about the work of IMPACS during the summit.

He said that some US$4.2 million had been made available under the 10th European Development Fund, and later this year, a number of crime and security initiatives would be started in the region.

Mr. Brathwaite stated: ???The European Union has signalled that they want to partner with us for further initiatives over the next couple of years. Sometime, hopefully next year, under the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, approximately US$80 million is being earmarked in terms of an initiative for Barbados and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States to deal with at risk youth. Again, IMPACS will be the coordinating agency to ensure that there is smooth roll-out of that project which is very important to us as a region, given the challenges that we???re having with at risk youth.???

However, he noted that in Barbados, attention would be placed not only on just addressing at risk youth, but within the family and to see what factors are causing the negative behaviours – be it poverty or other factors.

Commenting on the upsurge in firearm usage across the region, the Attorney General said: ???Again, they (IMPACS) have been working not only with assisting territories with the Arms Trade Treaty negotiations which have been concluded, but certainly, in terms of acting as a coordinating agency and examining what???s happening across the various regions to see how guns have flown into the region. If they (guns) are moving from one territory to the other [we would have to see] how that is happening and advise member states what initiatives they should take to combat what seems to be an upsurge in gun usage across the region.???

Mr. Braithwaite reiterated that IMPACS was doing ???a tremendous amount of work in the area of maintaining regional security and needed the financial backing of member states to continue the work???.

???There are some member states who said that they were not sure about the contribution of IMPACS. We have decided that for those members states that the Executive Director and myself, if possible, will visit the prime minister in one or two member states and explain to them not only what IMPACS has been doing across the region, but what IMPACS has been doing in individual territories,??? he disclosed.

IMPACS assists the region in many areas, such as reducing youth and gang violence, and the training of police officers. It also works closely with the Regional Security System.

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