The new RSS Fusion Centre at Paragon, Christ Church. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

The Caribbean needs all the tools it can muster to fight against the scourge of trafficking in drugs, small arms and light weapons, and to defend the region against those who seek to spread terror.

This assertion came from Prime Minister Freundel Stuart on Monday, as he addressed the official opening ceremony for the RSS Fusion Centre, an initiative of the Regional Security System (RSS), in collaboration with the Government of the United Kingdom.

The Centre, located at the RSS’ headquarters, Paragon, Christ Church, brings together law enforcement and other agencies involved in crime and security work across RSS member states, so that they can share intelligence and capabilities in the fight against organised crime threats.

Describing the centre as “another powerful string to our law enforcement bow”, Mr. Stuart suggested that now was a good time for the region to take stock of all its security and intelligence resources with a view to ensuring that the “best and most efficient results” were being realised.

“We cannot afford to waste any of our scarce financial and human resources through unnecessary duplication by different agencies doing the same thing, without the required coordination and information,” he submitted.

Mr. Stuart explained that as new security challenges confronted the Caribbean, it had become imperative that new methods be adopted by the RSS to defend the region and protect the sovereignty of island nations.

“Money laundering, cyber-crimes and cross-border criminal activity now constitute some of the greatest threats to security in the region,” he disclosed. He cited the recent incidents regarding theft from automatic teller machines (ATMs) in Barbados, allegedly perpetrated by “persons from distant lands”, as one example of the new crimes facing the region.

As a result, the Prime Minister maintained, there was the need for the region to have in place a mechanism that guaranteed a swift response to new threats with the potential to wreak havoc.

He stressed that national security has always been an inescapable responsibility of the state. “The primary security objective of all member states in this region must continue to be the establishment and maintenance of a peaceful, safe, secure and stable environment that is conducive to social harmony and national development,” he stated.

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