The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative: Trinidad and Tobago
Working together through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), the United States and the nations of the Caribbean are combating the drug trade and other transnational crimes that threaten regional security. This partnership fulfills the commitment to deepen regional security cooperation that President Barack Obama made at the Fifth Summit of the Americas in April 2009. CBSI is one piece of an integrated effort that includes the other main citizen security initiatives in the Hemisphere: the Merida Initiative in Mexico, the Central America Regional Security Initiative, and the Colombia Strategic Development Initiative. The United States, CARICOM member nations, and the Dominican Republic are improving citizen safety throughout the Caribbean by working together to:
- Substantially reduce illicit trafficking,
- Increase public safety and security, and
- Promote social justice.
CBSI partner nations have collectively identified several priority areas for cooperation. These include building a regional information sharing network, improving maritime interdiction coordination, developing regional training capacity, implementing prisons/corrections reforms, improving asset sustainment and maintenance practices, and addressing illicit firearms trafficking. Effective solutions to these challenges will require a sustained commitment from all CBSI partners. The United States and its CBSI partners also welcome the assistance of other international donors.
United States Support Under CBSI
The United States is making a significant contribution to CBSI, committing more than $263 million in funding for CBSI since 2010. This contribution to CBSI includes assistance in the following areas, all developed through the CBSI cooperative dialogue process:
- Maritime and Aerial Security Cooperation. Support regional maritime and aerial coordination by improving radar coverage in strategic locations and sharing radar information. Provide equipment and training that will enable Caribbean governments to carry out maritime and aerial operations to identify and respond to threats, engage in effective end game operations, and sustain those capabilities with reliability and regularity.
- Law Enforcement Capacity Building. Enhance law enforcement effectiveness through police professionalization, anti-corruption training, community-based policing, and sharing regional ballistics and fingerprint information. Equipment and training will augment the region’s polygraph capacity, cultivate expertise in the delivery of specialized law enforcement training, and support vetted units in conducting complex investigations, implementing anti-gang initiatives, and combating money laundering and other financial crimes.
- Border/Port Security and Firearms Interdiction. Provide technical support, technology upgrades, and training on techniques for intercepting smuggled narcotics, weapons, bulk cash, and other contraband at commercial airports and seaports, to include the enhancement of strategic trade controls through training to strengthen border security capabilities. Funding will also support the interdiction of firearms and secure management of weapons and ammunition stockpiles.
- Justice Sector Reform. Reform and strengthen juvenile justice systems through alternative sentencing and rehabilitation services. Regional justice advisors are providing technical assistance to judges and prosecutors, advising on legal reform, and developing a task force to address critical crime issues. Funding will support prison assessments and training to assist host governments in alleviating overcrowding and improving prison conditions.
- Crime Prevention and At-Risk Youth. Increase educational opportunities and provide workforce development and entrepreneurship training for at-risk youth as an alternative to crime and other harmful behavior. Funding also will support drug demand reduction through the training of treatment and rehabilitation professionals.
Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago benefits directly from several of the programs described above, including:
- Providing training to develop and enhance law enforcement professionals in the investigation and prosecution of crimes involving narcotics, firearms, gangs, homicides, terrorism, and financial transactions;
- U.S. Regional Firearms Advisers, now stationed in Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica, are working non-stop with the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) and have already started making visits to other countries in the region;
- Building the capacity of law enforcement agencies to improve border security capabilities to prevent terrorists from entering or transiting Trinidad and Tobago en route to other countries, particularly the U.S.;
- Promoting coordination at the working level across the criminal justice sector and related institutions to harmonize policies, procedures, and systems;
- Increasing port security and maritime interdiction capability through technical support, technology upgrades, and training;
- Supporting youth education programs to facilitate workforce entry and provide economic alternatives to crime.
More information regarding U.S. assistance to the Caribbean and the CBSI partnership is available at: 2009-2017.state.gov/p/wha/rt/cbsi.