Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) now have a better understanding of the role of the Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) and how funding could be secured for it to operate effectively.
This was disclosed by Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Brathwaite, during an interview with the Barbados Government Information Service last Friday, at the just concluded Heads of Government Conference of 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 noted: ???We wanted to alert the Heads [of Government] not only about the role of IMPACS, which they appreciate because IMPACS has been doing a tremendous amount of work across the region. In particular, since last year, it has been identified as the agency which would be responsible for the coordination of the regional crime and security strategy that was adopted by the Heads at their Inter-Sessional meeting in Haiti last year.???
He added that between 2009 and 2012, IMPACS had received only about 50 per cent of contributions from CARICOM Members States.
???Last year, it received around 59 per cent and that has caused considerable damage to its ability to carry out its core functions. We???ve been trying to find some funding solutions. We appreciate the tremendous difficulties almost all states have, in terms of their financial challenges. That notwithstanding, we???ve been suggesting that … if member states find it increasingly difficult to honour their obligations, [then] we need to find some creative ways for IMPACS to maybe even self-finance,??? he said.
Noting that one solution was for member states to consider imposing a security levy, he said some countries thought that they could not afford to impose additional taxes on people flying into, or across the region because it might lead to a fall-off in visitor arrivals.
???Then there was the question of who manages the Fund. If funds are pooled, then there was a question of what happens in terms of disparity of the number of visitors that come to various member states. So, for lots of reasons, it (the suggestion) wasn???t adopted,??? he revealed.
The Attorney General added that as a funding mechanism last year, St. Kitts and Nevis had imposed a $10 fee on incoming visitors to the federation with much success.
He noted that instead of recording a fall-off in visitors to the island, an increase had been registered and it had enabled them to meet their obligations, not only to IMPACS, but to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and the Regional Security System, among others.
???But if members states didn???t collectively want to do it (give funds) [then] I???m suggesting that they can follow the St. Kitts model. ???CDEMA is also faced with tremendous challenges… By the end of the month, if member states don???t indicate the extent of their contributions, then we have to start looking at CDEMA – how does it continue operating at the level that it is and that is exactly the situation that IMPACS is faced with,??? he said.