July 7, 2023 -Governor-General of Saint Kitts and Nevis Her Excellency Dame Marcella Liburd GCMG, JP, and Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew attended, by way of invitation, the United States Independence celebrations at the US Embassy in Barbados on Friday, June 30, 2023.
Prime Minister Drew met with Her Excellency Linda Taglialatela, United States Ambassador to Barbados, and the Eastern Caribbean, and several other high-level officials to discuss national and regional security matters.
Also present at the meeting were Mrs. Cierra Saylor U.S. Country Coordinator for Saint Christopher and Nevis, David Schneider Deputy Chief of the Mission, and representatives from the United States of America Pol-Economy Unit, the United States of America Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL), the United States of America Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The discussions centered around continued collaboration with the Regional Security System (RSS) on matters of national security including on-boarding a vetted team and the continued efforts between the islands to address the porosity of our borders, and the recently passed legislation within the United States of America to disrupt firearms trafficking in the Caribbean by interdicting illicit shipment of firearms and ammunition, holding offenders accountable, and bringing them to justice.
Ambassador stated she “believes this is a step in the right direction to address gun trafficking in the region.”
Also discussed were available training opportunities in various sectors of National Security, including but not limited to, the Customs and Excise Department to enhance their National Security, revenue collection abilities and keeping the operations systems within the department current with those used regionally and internationally, in addition to collaborations with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS).
CARICOM IMPACS was established by the Twenty Seventh Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government in July 2006, in Bird Rock, Saint Kitts and Nevis, as the implementation arm of a new Regional Architecture to manage CARICOM’s action agenda on crime and security.
Prime Minister Drew spoke about his role as the new Chairman of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). He noted the launch of the Opportunities to Advance and Support Youth for Success (OASYS) Project, a partnership between the OECS Commission, USAID, and other government and non-government stakeholders, that focuses “on increasing the diversion of youth away from courts and custodial sentences, supporting rehabilitation centers and diversion programs to use evidence-based diagnoses and treatment and facilitating the reintegration of youth leaving rehabilitation facilities into their families and communities”.
Dr. Drew noted that “this is just one of the ways that we can continue to collaborate; to support these programs and the role that they can play in our efforts to divert youth from lives of crime, gang membership, and violence”.
At the end of discussions both parties agreed that more collaboration will ensue on other cooperative programs addressing our social development mandates within Saint Kitts and Nevis and the wider Caribbean region.