Caribbean-U.S. Plan of Action on Security Cooperation

Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
May 27, 2010

Inaugural Caribbean-U.S. Security Cooperation Dialogue

This Plan of Action will be used to:

  • Strengthen the commitment and accountability of the Caribbean-U.S. Security Cooperation process at the highest levels;
  • Formulate strategies, actions, and programs in a consistent and effective manner to advance the mandates set by the “Joint Caribbean-U.S. Security Cooperation Partnership and the Declaration of Principles;”
  • Ensure greater support for implementation at the national, sub-regional, and regional levels;
  • Enhance international and inter-agency cooperation.


To break the power and impunity of illicit trafficking and related criminal organizations that threaten public safety, citizen security and the stability of our institutions, our Governments are committed to:

I. Substantially Reduce Illicit Trafficking
Undertake legislative reforms to enhance our governments’ ability, to investigate and prosecute drug traffickers;

Establish and implement new and improved legal tools that will enhance our ability to combat drug trafficking and the diversion of precursor chemicals, including through the development of additional and improved investigative techniques;

Work actively with the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) expert groups that address demand reduction, money laundering, and drug and precursor chemical trafficking, in order to facilitate and increase cooperation, coordination, and information exchange;
Advance the fight against the illicit cultivation, production, trafficking, and consumption of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and related crimes by engaging states in the hemisphere on how best to advance common national security objectives;

Improve each nation’s capability and capacity to enforce counternarcotics laws and deter smuggling through sharing of best practices, robust exchanges of information, and coordinated and joint operations, and the use of bilateral and multilateral agreements to eliminate safe havens for drug smugglers;

Enhance mechanisms for training and counternarcotics coordination and operations among our nations;

Develop a regional interdiction strategy to complement the CARICOM Maritime and Airspace Security Cooperation Agreement;

Increase communication and advance technological capacity to ensure interoperability among aviation and maritime authorities;

Optimize multi-agency detection and response capabilities by developing and sustaining air and maritime detection and monitoring, tracking, intercept, and apprehension operations to effect coordinated law enforcement endgames;

Establish a common operating picture by developing and maintaining, within the existing architecture, a comprehensive, real-time picture of the air and maritime threats, to include an active, intelligence-driven database of suspect aircraft and maritime vessels;

Develop greater links between JIATF-S and Caribbean law enforcement and Coast Guard authorities;

Enhance, expand, and share drug-trafficking-related information systems, databases, and required agreements;

Develop legislation and protocols to permit use of forfeited proceeds to support law enforcement and drug rehabilitation efforts;

Promote awareness of the harmful effects of narcotics substances and assist populations at risk of criminal recruitment with economic alternatives;

Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW)
Implement the December 2007 CARICOM-U.S. Joint Statement on Combating Trafficking in Arms;

Train investigators, prosecutors, judges, and other experts to enhance the quality of firearms cases and improve conviction rates of firearms traffickers;

Leverage technology and best practices to improve the oversight, security, and destruction of firearms, ammunition, and other related materials;

Improve the tracking of firearms seized in connection with illicit activities, in support of investigative leads;

Ensure full compliance with international and hemispheric instruments addressing the illicit manufacturing and trafficking in firearms;

Make effective use of the e-Trace cooperation agreement and establish complementary measures to identify illicit traffickers and trafficking routes;

Improve the sharing of law enforcement information on routes, organizations, and persons involved in the trafficking of such weapons;

Enhance the capacity of states to mark firearms in order to more effectively trace and identify illegal activities;

Establish and strengthen import and export controls, to include brokering controls, consistent with international practices, standards, and agreements;

Enact and enforce sanctions for illicit arms brokering proliferation;

Work within existing regional and international organizations to combat illegal trafficking in firearms, ammunition, and other related materials;

Money Laundering
Continue working together to strengthen national, regional, and international action against money laundering and support Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (FATF and CFATF) - sponsored anti-money laundering training initiatives;

Expand cooperation on financial investigations of trafficking and criminal organizations;

Obtain international support for criminal sanctions against large-scale bulk cash smuggling;

Enhance the capacity of investigators and prosecutors to prevent, detect, investigate, and prosecute money laundering, and to effectively and transparently use forfeited assets to build the capacity of the criminal justice system;

Trafficking of Persons
Enact and enforce legislation to combat all forms of trafficking in persons;
Enact and enforce legislation that prohibits fraud in labor contracting involving national and foreign guest workers;
Establish counter-trafficking intervention mechanisms that focus on victim assistance, capacity building, research and data collection, and public education/information awareness (including hotlines);

II. Advance Public Safety and Security
Crime and Violence
Implement the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the three protocols thereto: the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air; the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children; and the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition, that make up the international legal framework for fighting transnational organized crime;

Improve capacity of law enforcement agencies and the judicial system in order to effectively investigate and prosecute crimes while respecting human rights;

Improve the capacity of law enforcement to secure, analyze, and use forensic evidence in criminal cases;

Enhance mechanisms for the exchange of law enforcement information between agencies, institutions, and nations;

Modernize criminal laws within the region to be consistent with established standards and best practices;

Pursue reforms of national prison systems and improve rehabilitation and reintegration programs;

Provide support for community policing programs to improve cooperation between local law enforcement entities and citizens;

Promote non-violent means of dispute resolution, such as mediation and problem solving;

Encourage member states to consider developing comparable public security parameters in order to strengthen our cooperative efforts (Commitment to Public Security in the Americas October. 8, 2008);

Border Security
Coordinate with immigration and customs law enforcement to develop the appropriate balance between security measures and legitimate travel;

Increase communication and advance technological capacity to ensure interoperability among port and border authorities;

Implement appropriate customs and enforcement policies to ensure effective and transparent revenue collection processes that promote economic prosperity and support government operations;

Coordinate and expand training to mitigate the use of fraudulent documents by transnational criminal networks, organized gangs, and terrorists;

Improve tracking and analysis systems, immigration controls, and the identification and interdiction of illicit goods;

Conduct joint surveillance operations and training among border security agencies to deter/prevent human smuggling via the deliberate evasion of immigration laws;

Strengthen the sharing of passenger information;

Further develop a regional data sharing mechanism– including information on crime and immigration- to track the movement of people in the Caribbean on a real-time basis;

Effectively and efficiently screen all passengers and cargo at points of entry using relevant technology and equipment;

Strengthen processes for issuance of secure identity and travel documents;

Ensure full compliance with current ICAO standards for machine readable travel document specifications and related technology;

Develop databases to identify properly registered and flagged vessels and ownership;

Cooperate on issues associated with criminal deportees;

Improve information sharing across government agencies and with private sector actors to detect and prosecute those involved with terrorist activities;

Strengthen cooperation, including mutual legal assistance and extradition, in combating terrorism and its financing, in accordance with each nation’s domestic law and established international conventions;

Accede to the international conventions on terrorism, including the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism;

Strengthen the regulation of our banking systems and other financial sectors to shut down funding sources for terrorist activities;

Sufficiently train financial sector employees to recognize patterns indicating possible support for terrorists or terrorist organizations;

Employ needed resources, such as secure communications systems, to permit domestic and international communications on possible terrorist-related matters;

Work actively with the Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism (CICTE), particularly on training programs and activities to enhance capacity in the field of counter-terrorism;

Enact laws and improve capacity of law enforcement agencies and judicial systems to effectively investigate and prosecute crimes involving computers and the Internet;

Strengthen cooperation, including mutual legal assistance in criminal matters involving cybercrimes and electronic evidence; join the 24/7 High-Tech Crime Network for the preservation of electronic evidence;

Accede to the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime;

Actively participate in regional workshops and other programs offered by the Cybercrime Working Group of the Meetings of Ministers of Justice or Other Ministers or Attorneys General of the Americas (REMJA) to promote regional cooperation, share best practices, and enhance national capacity to deter, investigate, and prosecute crimes involving computers and the Internet;

Criminal GangsWork with multilateral organizations to coordinate and support national and regional anti-gang strategies for the Caribbean;

Identify opportunities to conduct joint international law enforcement operations targeted against transnational criminal gangs operating in the region;

Develop effective channels for sharing operational law enforcement information pertinent to anti-gang activities;

Offer assistance in the revision of laws and legislation necessary to establish an appropriate and regionally harmonized legal framework to address the gang problem;

Natural and Other Disasters
Ensure all national plans for prevention, mitigation, and post-disaster recovery are up to date;

Establish early warning and response systems, protect water supplies and other critical infrastructure, mitigate damage to agriculture, and support the quick return of economic activities to pre-emergency levels;

Develop and update policy and contingency plans to effectively respond to mass migration flows occurring as a result of natural or other disasters;

Develop the capacity of higher education institutions in the area of disaster risk reduction;

Identify communities for disaster risk reduction programming in areas recently affected by disasters, including historically vulnerable areas, areas undergoing rapid growth or slated for expansion, and areas undergoing post-disaster transition;

Increase consultation with other donors to help prioritize geographic areas, coordinate programs, and leverage additional resources;

Foster private sector involvement in disaster response and risk reduction activities;

Support training programs and community-based disaster preparedness and mitigation activities, with the aim of increasing public awareness;

Prevent loss of shelter through the promotion of land use planning and the development of improved building codes with national disaster organizations, including building better programs, at regional and national levels;

Support coastal management agency interventions and capacity building exercises in an effort to implement flood, tsunami, and coastal hazards early warning systems;

Strengthen hemispheric cooperation and national capacities to develop a more integrated approach to the management of natural and other disasters;

Promote information sharing regarding hazards and potential models for mitigation and response;

Support increased training in, and use of, technologies and information systems that allow the observation and monitoring of different natural phenomena;

Enhance disaster recovery and reconstruction efforts through livelihood recovery activities, in collaboration with relevant humanitarian partners and international and regional institutions;

III. Further Promote Social Justice
Prevention (General):
Pursue policy reforms at the national and regional level to expand productive opportunities for youth such as education, employment, volunteerism, and sports;

Cooperate with non-governmental organizations, the private sector, community service agencies, religious institutions, and the media to support national programs against drugs and other risky behaviors;

Support community efforts to combat violence and to promote early identification of youths at risk, including collaboration between law enforcement entities and communities;

Prevention (Criminal Gangs):
Increase international cooperation on gang prevention and reduction among our nations to develop a common gang strategy, to include policymakers and civil society;

Foster partnerships at the national, regional, sub-regional, and international levels --among the public and private sectors, donors, faith-based organizations, and the Caribbean diaspora – to leverage resources to address gang prevention;

Increase information-sharing, training, and technical assistance among government and nongovernmental actors on tools and successful practices in gang prevention, rehabilitation, and reintegration;

Develop capacity of authorities at all levels of government and communities to identify factors driving youth into gangs and to create multi-sectoral alliances to address these in a sustainable fashion;

Assist community-based organizations and local authorities to provide vulnerable youth and at-risk populations with productive alternatives to criminal gang activity or encourage them to leave gangs (e.g. vocational skills, job placement, training/alternative education, sports, cultural programs, drug rehabilitation);

Establish gang typology across the region and adopt a regional strategy for gang identification and diffusion;

Justice Sector Reform
Facilitate the improvement of police organizational efficiency and effectiveness;

Promote multi-agency collaboration and information sharing at both national and regional levels to enhance the capability of law enforcement agencies, policymakers, prosecutors, and judges;

Equip and train the authorities and personnel of judicial, law enforcement, and penal systems;

Improve the judicial and prosecutorial independence and impartiality of the justice sector;

Conclude regional agreements in specified areas of mutual interest, including extradition and mutual legal assistance in criminal matters;

Increase efforts to protect witnesses, victims, jurors, judicial, and law enforcement personnel, their families, and facilities;

Facilitate improved coordination of justice sector actors to better prosecute criminal activity while defending human rights;

Recognize the importance of access to justice in implementation of reforms, working to address the structural, security, and financial impediments to justice by the region’s citizens;

Recognize the particular importance of juvenile justice reforms, including conduct of needs-assessments, deployment of multidisciplinary approaches, and institutional strengthening to reduce pre-trial detention and increase alternatives to imprisonment;

Recognize and promote due process throughout the justice process to encompass- law enforcement, adjudication, and corrections;

Enhance and encourage legal aid service among young law school graduates;

Work with other nations and with regional organizations including the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to coordinate training and technical assistance efforts in this area;

Enhance the capacity of governments and governmental institutions to investigate and prosecute corruption;

Ensure that progress is made in providing access for our citizens to public information, particularly on government revenues, expenditures, and budgets;

Design and implement policy strategies for government and private institutions to create institutional incentives for greater transparency and accountability;

Work cooperatively to improve budgeting and procurement transparency and auditing practices;

Encourage the active involvement of citizens and civil society organizations in the design, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation of reform efforts;

Leverage existing mechanisms, programs, and institutions to minimize corruption by increasing the use of vetted units, internal audits, and good governance practices and policies;

Encourage ratification and implementation of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption and the United Nations Convention against Corruption;

Encourage the acceptance of global standards to combat corruption in police forces and/or services in accordance with the International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO) Interpol Standards;

Strengthen ethical codes of conduct for and enforcement of disciplinary measures against members of police forces, prosecutor offices, and the judiciary;

Cooperate in the extradition of corrupt officials and those who corrupt them as well as in the return of the proceeds of corruption to their legitimate owners.