High-level security conference seeks to break ‘threat networks’
Guyana is hosting this year’s Caribbean Nations Security Conference (CANSEC) during which top military officers from 16 nations will meet to intensify collaborative efforts with the aim of dismantling the “threat network” created by extremists groups.
The regional security seminar is sponsored by the United States’ Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) and provides a platform for dialogue among chiefs of defence and public security ministers aimed at examining threats to Caribbean
stability and improving regional security cooperation.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the two-day conference, Chief of SOUTHCOM, Admiral Kurt Tidd, noted that while regional and global threats have evolved, at the same time, security cooperation has grown to bind nations globally.
“This network was born of sustained engagements that emphasise collective action and cooperative solutions. It is built upon the foundation of information sharing. It is inclusive and principled, binding together like-minded nations who
share common values and a commitment to work together. Throughout the years, those values and shared commitment have been the common thread linking all of our initiatives, programmes, training, exercises, and operations,” he stated.
According to Admiral Tidd, collective investments made by the partners have made the hemisphere more secure with improved coordination at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels.
The SOUTHCOM Head pointed out that while the untapped potential of the threat network was tremendous, greater integration and linkages could have all sorts of cross-cutting effects. On this note, he called on the participants to work together to
further address the most pressing security challenges facing the Region today.
“By aligning our security efforts with the work being done by our civilian agencies and NGOs, we not only improve community resiliency and extend governance where it’s needed most, we help deny criminal networks sanctuary and freedom of movement. By integrating and sequencing our respective operations and activities, we can sustain pressure against illicit networks… And aggregate the impact of individual mitigation and preparedness efforts,” Tidd stated.
The two-day conference is being held at the Marriott Hotel under the theme: “Unifying Regional Action to Counter Trans-regional and Transnational Threat Networks”.
Brigadier Patrick West, Chief-of-Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), which is the co-host of the CANSEC, outlined that the threats posed by organised networks and increasing funding of illicit trades and illegal activities need to be dealt with collectively with support from partners within and beyond the Atlantic.
Brigadier West posited that the presence of major partner nations at the conference was testimony of a commitment to build capacity in the Region to counter these threats, especially since its vulnerability can create a gateway for illegal activities.
Moreover, the Chief-of-Staff outlined that global connectivity has also created conditions for dependence and inter-dependency on cyber space.
“The Region has experienced and continues to be challenged by increasing threats of cyber-crime. The security forces are, in many instances, way behind the perpetrators of these crimes and we need now more than ever to be able to be in step with or ahead of this new level of technological challenge within the Region. As their network grows, ours must grow stronger. As they find ways to exploit security weakness, we must strengthen our bonds,” he asserted.
According to Brigadier West, the security forces, along with concerned partners, must seek to find new initiatives to deal with the various emerging challenges and find ways to break their linkages.
Meanwhile, delivering brief remarks, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, emphasised on the importance of cooperation in tackling the various threats facing the Region.
He noted that such support has created a counter-network with participating nations partnering to share information and resources to tackle trans-regional and transnational crimes – something which Guyana has benefited from.
In fact, the Prime Minister noted that through such networking, local law enforcement has successfully undertaken major interceptions in areas such as narco-trafficking, corruption and even piracy.
This is the 16th Caribbean Nations Security Conference, and Guyana is the first South American nation to host the forum.
In addition to Guyana and the US, participants from: Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago are taking part in the conference with representatives from Brazil, Canada, France, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom as observers.
Among the regional organisations also attending the forum are: Caribbean Community (Caricom); Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA); Regional Security System (RSS) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).