From left: US Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates; Prime Minister David Thompson; and Minister of National Security of St. Lucia and Chairman of the Regional Security System, Sen. Guy Mayers, at the a private meeting with CARICOM leaders, Ministers of Defence and the Regional Security System, at Hilton Barbados. (A. Miller/BGIS)????

Prime Minister, David Thompson, has praised the United States for its continued assistance to the region, in its attempts to safeguard the coastlines from narco-traffickers.

He made this observation during a press conference following a high-level security meeting with US Secretary of Denfense, Robert Gates, CARICOM leaders, the Regional Security System and regional governmental security leaders, at Hilton Barbados, recently.

Mr. Thompson stated that Barbados was anxious to re-engage with the United States, given the long-standing partnership which both sides shared in relation to security.

"By working together as a region, we can better achieve our objectives and pool our resources together to provide leadership in this regard.?? Additionally, the US is aware of the challenges and we have had assistance in the past, with two helicopters for the RSS, and there have been other areas of important assistance," he outlined.

The Prime Minister said during the meeting with Secretary Gates, regional representatives identified areas of cooperation "that the government and people of the United States are making available to us and the modalities we would use, to ensure that these assets are going to be used in a manner, that is constant with our objectives," Mr. Thompson stressed.

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