CARICOM IMPACS, Executive Director (Ag), Lt Col Michael Jones presents Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Dr Jerome Walcott with a token of appreciation for Signing the Agreement to establish an Interpol Caribbean Liaison Office, to be based in Barbados. (BGIS/S.Forde-Craigg)

Barbados appreciates the work of INTERPOL in assisting with monitoring organised crime and taking action against it, and looks forward to a continuous relationship.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Dr. Jerome Walcott, stated this on Wednesday, as he expressed thanks to INTERPOL’s Executive Director of Police Services, Stephen Kavanagh, for the assistance rendered over the years, and for choosing Barbados as the regional headquarters for its Caribbean Liaison Office.

He was speaking during a courtesy call at the Ministry’s Culloden Road, St. Michael office.  Senator Walcott also pledged Barbados’ support to the continued efforts of INTERPOL and CARICOM IMPACS, in strengthening law enforcement in Barbados and the Caribbean region.

INTERPOL, Executive Director of Police Services, Stephen Kavanagh signs Foreign Affairs Guest Book in the Minister’s Ante Room. (BGIS/S.Forde-Craigg)

Though the agreement to establish the Regional Office was approved by CARICOM Heads of Government and mooted in 2013, it wasn’t until November 2018, at INTERPOL’s 87th session of its General Assembly that the INTERPOL Caribbean Liaison Office received unanimous approval from its 194 General Secretariat member countries.

Minister Walcott, who stated that “it is better late than never”, added: “It has happened at the correct time, at the appropriate time.  Barbados appreciates the work of INTERPOL, the enhanced strategic cooperation, technical assistance and support to Barbados and CARICOM at this critical juncture of heightened insecurity and more emboldened crime, and sophisticated and integrated criminal networks.”

During the discussions, Mr. Kavanagh pointed out that this would be the first liaison office to be opened in 15 years, and one of the reasons Barbados was chosen was because of the existing working relationship that INTERPOL had established with CARICOM IMPACS’ Acting Executive Director, Lt. Col. Michael Jones, who is also the Chief Operations Officer, Border Security at the Joint Regional Communications Centre (JRCC) in Barbados.

INTERPOL’s Executive Director of Police Services noted that it was important to establish the office so that he and his team could enhance processes and start to tailor what INTERPOL can do to support Caribbean countries in monitoring and impeding organised criminal activities within regional borders.

“This is just a base camp; we’re not at the summit.  This signature (Agreement) gives us an opportunity to get the resources together and then go for the summit, and that’s the key; we’ll work closely with Michael to get the resources to open the office quickly…. 

“What we’re trying to do is help investigators and help police leadership step up and modernise the way they’re looking at these issues.  You know policing and law enforcement more broadly; public safety is a team sport and we’re stronger together,” Mr. Kavanagh emphasised. INTERPOL is an inter-governmental organisation, with 194 member countries. It assists police in member countries by sharing access to data on crimes and criminals, as well as offers a range of technical and operational support.to make the world a safer place.

sheena.forde-craigg@barbados.gov.bb

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