Caribbean-United States High Level Security Cooperation Dialogue, Nassau Commitment for Citizen Security in the Caribbean - Fifth Anniversary

Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
June 4, 2015


We, the Governments of the Caribbean and the United States have gathered in Nassau to:

REAFFIRM the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) Partnership launched on 27 May, 2010, at the Inaugural Caribbean-U.S. Security Cooperation Dialogue in Washington, D.C.;

BEAR in mind our commitments stated in the Caribbean-United States Declaration of Principles; the Caribbean-United States Plan of Action on Security Cooperation; the Joint Caribbean-United States Framework for Security Cooperation Engagement; the Joint Statement of the Second Caribbean-U.S. Security Cooperation Dialogue held in Nassau in 2011; the Joint Statement of the Third Caribbean-U.S. Cooperation Dialogue held in Port of Spain in 2012; and the Joint Statement of the Fourth Annual Caribbean-United States Security Cooperation Dialogue held in Washington, D.C. in 2013;

RENEW our commitment to our vital partnership; take stock of progress in; and reconfirm our commitment to CBSI and its priorities;

ACKNOWLEDGE the efforts of the Caribbean states and international partners of a range of capacity-building activities, operational exercises, programs and projects which have enabled Caribbean states to address crime and violence in the Region;

COMMEND the leadership shown by Caribbean states in formulating and implementing policies to promote security, and encourage continuation of efforts through regional integration mechanisms and national contributions of adequate financing based on timely fiscal and budgetary policy decisions;

RECOGNIZE the need to fully implement the CARICOM Crime and Security Strategy (CCSS) and its supporting plans, and invite CARICOM Member States and cooperating partners to utilize the CCSS as the over-arching framework for establishing regional crime and security priorities and initiatives in coordination with agreed CBSI goals and objectives;

WELCOME the partnership with other States, regional and international organizations, and private sector institutions to enhance the security and advance the safety of citizens in the Caribbean region;

UNDERSCORE the urgent need to continue to substantially reduce illicit trafficking, advance public safety and security, and further promote social justice and seek a safer region and community for our citizens;

DECLARE to:

Continue our partnership and seek over the next five years greater progress in providing a safe, prosperous society for our citizens.

Deepen the coordination, cooperation and sustainability of our joint efforts among Caribbean states and international partners to more effectively address the security challenges in the Caribbean and ensure the monitoring and evaluation of program implementation for effective results.

Adopt a sustained approach to citizen safety in the Caribbean by strengthening budgetary domestic Caribbean measures to meet recurring security costs.

Strengthen and adequately fund the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) security structure and institutions, to more effectively promote regional and international coordination, ensuring the full benefits of international partner efforts, the sharing of best practices, and the implementation of the CBSI and other regional security initiatives to address the security challenges facing the Caribbean.

Establish a mechanism for the dissemination of information on CBSI and regional efforts to enhance security in the Caribbean through a virtual site for official use and a website for public use.

Designate national focal points for the internal dissemination and coordination of information with respect to the CBSI and other regional initiatives within and among Caribbean states and with CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) as the CBSI Secretariat.

Undertake these priority actions to address the illicit trafficking of firearms at the national, bilateral and regional level by all Caribbean states and international partners:

• Operationalize the Regional Integrated Ballistic Information Network (RIBIN) to stop illicit firearms trafficking in the region, including overcoming legal impediments to utilizing the regional hubs and sharing information;

• Adopt national policies requiring full input into RIBIN of exemplars of all shell casings and bullets found at crime scenes;

• Review and update firearms legislation in each Caribbean state and share the results of such a review and action;

• Sustain stockpile management and destruction practices established through technical assistance from the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean and establish a Caribbean regional monitoring and evaluation process to maintain those standards;

• Create dedicated firearms investigation units within each national police force to assure the adherence to global best practices in the investigation of all firearms related crimes;

• Mark firearms at point of manufacture and import, as well as guns seized and retained for official use;

• Adopt national policies to require full tracing of all recovered firearms to identify trafficking routes and traffickers for prosecution in accordance with domestic laws; and

• Hold an annual meeting of national authorities convened by IMPACS to better facilitate cooperation among Caribbean states and international partners to comprehensively address firearms trafficking.

Undertake these priority actions to advance public safety and security at the national, bilateral and regional level by all Caribbean states and international partners:

• Enact civil asset forfeiture legislation specifically targeting transnational criminal organizations (TOC) for the seizure of their assets by all States and the creation in all States of a dedicated security fund to receive the proceeds of all seized TOC assets to augment support for law enforcement, prosecutors, drug prevention and treatment, and payment of regional collective security organization dues;

• Intensify efforts to improve prosecutions by modernizing criminal codes to incorporate global and regional best practices and implement national prosecution services to move away from the police prosecutor paradigm;

• Establish national legislation to permit plea bargains and implement alternative sentencing regimes for non-violent drug abusers;

• Adopt legislation to require video recorded interviews with all felony suspects to decrease in-court retractions and police abuse allegations that contribute to excessive court delays;

• Establish professional standards units within all national police forces to promote the adoption of global best practices and to assure member integrity as basic elements of strengthening trust between law enforcement and the citizenry;

• Collect basic crime data that conforms to global best practices and share that data on a regular and routine basis with donor countries so that we may jointly understand our progress and target areas for improvement in citizen security;

• Establish dedicated special victims units to incorporate global and regional best practices to investigate humanely and professionally cases of domestic violence and sexually based offenses against women and children;

• Engage in information sharing efforts to improve maritime and air domain awareness and the ability to effectively detect and interdict threats in national and international territory that will further enable our forces to work toward common security objectives;

• Adopt national multiyear plans for the maintenance and sustainment of maritime assets; and

• Continued cooperation on emerging health issues related to the migration of individuals

Undertake these priority actions to promote social justice by addressing the important issues of at-risk youth and juvenile justice reform in the Caribbean at the national, bilateral and regional level by all Caribbean states and international partners:

• Reform current law, policy, and practice to ensure that, per the Convention on the Rights of the Child, juveniles are kept separate from adults at all stages of the penal system;

• Integrate alternative sentencing for youth who have committed minor crimes as a routine practice of the courts and ensure that all incarcerated youth have opportunities for rehabilitation;

• Improve trust between police and at-risk youth and communities through appropriate legislative and policy reform as well as training;

• Decriminalize, where appropriate, “wandering” or “being uncontrollable” so that instead of being incarcerated, youth in crisis receive the services they need to help them return to their communities and become productive members of society;

• Address the societal factors that put youth at risk of becoming victims and/or perpetrators of crime, and make addressing these challenges a regional priority;

• Continue to pursue policy reforms at the national and regional levels to expand productive opportunities for youth in areas such as education, employment, entrepreneurship, volunteerism, sports and culture; and

• Support improvements in basic education, including the monitoring of school management and performance, developing public/private partnerships and improving literacy and numeracy for primary school students and young adults.

EXPRESS OUR THANKS to the Government and people of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas for their hospitality and efforts in hosting the High Level Dialogue.

ANTICIPATE success in our joint efforts to improve citizen security in the Caribbean and the future High Level Security Cooperation Dialogue.