Joint Action Statement Caribbean-United States Security Cooperation Dialogue

Joint Statement
Washington, DC
October 18, 2016

We, the Governments of Antigua and Barbuda; the Commonwealth of the Bahamas; Barbados; Belize, the Commonwealth of Dominica; the Dominican Republic; Grenada; the Co-operative Republic of Guyana; the Republic of Haiti; Jamaica; the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; the Republic of Suriname; the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago; and the United States of America (US);

COMMITTED to the priorities of substantially reducing illicit trafficking, advancing public safety and security and promoting social justice to improve the lives of our citizens;

UNDERSCORING the importance of implementing policies to promote security, continuing efforts through regional integration mechanisms, and financing Caribbean national and regional public safety and security institutions;

ALSO UNDERSCORING the value of international partner support and the need to improve coordination and reduce duplication of efforts to maximize the effectiveness of that support towards advancing common security objectives in the Caribbean;

Set out to advance the following critical efforts among Caribbean States in 2017:

Substantially reduce illicit trafficking by:

  • Developing a common regional maritime and airspace strategy as well as standard operating procedures including, as appropriate, those provided in the CARICOM Maritime and Airspace Security Cooperation Agreement and the Caribbean Regional Maritime Agreement that allow for the coordination of maritime interdiction efforts between and among Caribbean countries, to include regional security institutions such as the Regional Security System (RSS), the security institutions of the Dominican Republic and other international partners.
  • Maintaining maritime operations, assets and equipment in order to contribute to a regional approach to patrolling and ensuring maritime security in the Caribbean;
  • Developing a sustainable and complementary sub-regional and regional defense and security maritime training capacity in the Caribbean that utilizes existing national and regional training facilities and facilitates harmonization of security measures.

To this end, our maritime and air space officials will develop national strategies, to include national multi-year plans for maintenance of maritime assets, and meet within six months to define a common regional strategy among our states and international partners.

  • Implementing the regional program to counter illicit trafficking in firearms through the use of the Regional Integrated Ballistic Information Network (RIBIN) by all Caribbean countries and the sharing of firearms case information through this network.

To this end, IMPACS will, by the end of the year, identify and communicate remaining obstacles to RIBIN’s full use and convene a meeting of national authorities to better facilitate cooperation among Caribbean states and international partners to comprehensively address illicit firearms trafficking.

  • Continuing to expand the Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS) and fully implement the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) to facilitate the exchange of data among all Caribbean countries, subject to domestic laws.

To this end, in 2017 we will enact policy and legislative reforms, as appropriate, and in accordance with national laws, to implement the APIS and AFIS on a region-wide basis.

Advance Public Safety and Security by:

  • Strengthening public safety and security institutions by enacting legislation and policies that allow for the seizure of assets used in illicit activity and, in turn, making these assets available for law enforcement and crime prevention initiatives; permit plea bargains; provide for the use of video recorded interviews in criminal proceedings; and implement alternative sentencing regimes for non-violent drug offenders;
  • Expanding training programs to maintain and develop the capacity of prosecutors and other judicial actors, assisting in the professionalization of the region’s law enforcement and training academies, and combating corruption at all levels of government.

To this end, our Attorneys General will meet in 2017 to gauge progress on policy and legislative reform efforts on these justice matters as well as on information sharing among Caribbean States.

Further Promote Social Justice by:

  • Continuing to build resilience of at-risk communities, particularly their youth, with a focus on those most likely to become involved in criminal and other risky behavior.

To this end, our countries will continue to evaluate progress against annual benchmarks and further coordinate on how best to target high-risk communities and youth with quality prevention interventions through the Technical Working Group on Preventing Crime by Focusing on at risk youth and vulnerable population.

  • Supporting criminal justice systems to develop alternatives to incarceration for non-violent juvenile offenders as well as to strengthen relationships between police and communities.

To this end, our countries will agree on a multi-year plan to increase the use of alternative sentencing and availability of diversion programs for non-violent juvenile offenders as well as to promote the integration of the community-oriented policing approach throughout civilian law enforcement agencies.

  • Fostering regional cooperation to build a robust, accessible knowledge base to encourage adoption of evidence-based, data-driven citizen security and social justice interventions.

To this end, our countries will continue to collaborate in the effort to harmonize and standardize sources of data on crime and violence and to create a regional platform for the effective collection, analysis, and dissemination of said data.

Establish a stronger partnership for the future by:

  • Continuing to strengthen the Joint Caribbean-United States Framework for Security Cooperation, allowing for the further engagement of international partners.
  • Recognizing the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) and Regional Security System (RSS) as the entities for the coordination of regional security programs and projects among the CARICOM States, RSS Member States and with the Dominican Republic.
  • Establishing a permanent liaison between the Dominican Republic and IMPACS to further common security objectives.
  • Continuing political, technical and financial collaboration among international partners with IMPACS to advance the CARICOM Crime and Security Strategy (CCSS).
  • Pursuing a whole of government approach which includes the important role of legislative branches in informing priorities and policy development.
  • Encouraging nations, regional and international organizations, and private sector institutions to continue to partner with us, as appropriate, in advancing security throughout the Caribbean.

To this end, we pledge to identify priority programming of significant national importance and national cost share provisions to enhance the sustainability of those programs. In addition, Caribbean security institutions such as IMPACS and international partner coordination mechanisms will be strengthened and fully utilized; we also request that the Caribbean – US Commission review the Joint Caribbean- United States Framework for Security Cooperation Engagement; the Declaration of Principles and the Joint Plan of Action for possible modification in light of the CARICOM Crime and Security Strategy (CCSS) and other relevant security strategies as well as regional developments and new international partners.

We encourage Cuba to participate in appropriate Caribbean security fora to continue to contribute to advancing security and safety throughout the Caribbean.

We thank the Government and people of the United States‎ for hosting the Sixth Caribbean-U.S. Security Cooperation Dialogue.