Cutting off access to resources is a key component in the fight against terrorism.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Dale Marshall, made this assertion today, as he addressed the opening ceremony of a Counter-Terrorism Tabletop Exercise in the Hodgson Hall Conference Room, at the Barbados Defence Force, St. Ann’s Fort.
He told those present that three weeks ago, the amendments to the Barbados Anti-Terrorism Act were debated and passed in the House of Assembly, as part of Barbados’ response to recommendations in its fourth Mutual Evaluation Report.
“That report authored by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force, highlighted deficiencies in the country’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing arrangements. This is one of the areas in which we received low ratings.
“So, while I am keenly aware that the discussion today will focus on rooting out terrorist threats and things of this nature, the bald fact is that terrorists require funding to operate. Without funding, they cannot buy weapons; they can’t access equipment; they can’t plan; [and] they can’t obtain supplies,” Mr. Marshall said.
He added that in March, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution aimed at strengthening global efforts to combat the ways in which terrorists are obtaining financing.
The attorney general said the timeliness of this week’s tabletop exercise complemented efforts being made on the financial side to suppress terrorism and its financing, along with the financing of weapons of mass destruction.
While urging Barbadians not to forget the October 1976 Cubana crash in which many lives were lost, Mr. Marshall said since that incident, the methods of prevention and detection had improved considerably, along with the knowledge of the operations of terrorist networks.
He stressed that addressing the financial side of terrorism could not be done in a vaccum, but rather it must be a coherent and focused national effort.
During his address, Chief of Staff of the BDF, Colonel Glyne Grannum, noted that the Counter-Terrorism Tabletop Exercise was part of a strategic trajectory to enhance the island’s response capacities to risks and threats that exist in the modern global village of the world today.
Meanwhile, British High Commissioner, Janet Douglas, urged participants to use the exercise to better prepare and test their own plans, standard operating procedures, and inter-agency collaboration.
The workshop, hosted by the BDF, in collaboration with the UK Defence Advisor to the Caribbean, is designed to strengthen the knowledge and understanding of the contemporary global terrorist threat.
It also seeks to improve the understanding of agencies’ roles and plans relative to counter-terrorism contingency operations; identify gaps in policy and plans; and make recommendations to strengthen national and agency plans.
The workshop concludes on Wednesday, June 26.