February 8, 2023

Caribbean brokers in terrorism

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By COREY CONNELLY From News Day Trinidad & Tobago

There is a growing threat within the Caribbean of citizens being involved as “brokers” in terrorism and money- laundering.

Criminologist Prof Ramesh Deosaran said this was one of the salient issues raised at the recently-concluded Caribbean Commissioners of Police Meeting in Aruba.

Noting the situation had the potential to obstruct the fight against crime, Deosaran said in order for law enforcement personnel to effectively carry out its functions, there must be no corruption or accomplices within local security agencies, such as in the Customs and Excise Division, Immigration Department, Police Service and even the political arena.

“This is a serious deficit because while you are trying to deal with the external threat, you find inside your locality, these accomplices helping the traffickers, terrorists and money- launderers,” he told Sunday Newsday.

“It is really fighting a twopronged battle at the same time and your approach to dealing with national security and the intrusion of these criminal activities will be diminished by having localised brokers along the way. So that was a clear message.” A former chairman of the Police Service Commission, Deosaran said at the five-day conference, concern also was raised about border security “which is growing in both seriousness and danger.” He said: “The porosity of these borders require special treatment in terms of manpower and technology and regular coastal surveillance which add to the drainage of available resources across Caricom countries.” Deosaran said the situation was of particular importance given the ongoing socio-economic crisis in neighbouring Venezuela.

“The Venezuelan phenomenon of unexpected migration has put increasingly severe strain on each Caricom country for expenditures as part of national security,” he said.

“So, that is going to be a troubling situation for the years to come as was explained during the conference.” The criminologist, who addressed commissioners of police, said the conference also heard about the modern technologies available in producing field against illegal traffic, both internal and external.

“So, electronically, you could have a system that the police could not only detect illegal activities but also respond quickly in a centralised way. That produced some help for strategic planning.” Deosaran said the locally- based National Operations Centre should have been developed with greater precision and supported by modern technology for more coverage across the country.

“That is the way that this country and other Caricom countries have to go in not only knowing what to do but how to do it well,” he said.

“I think there is s serious gap across the Caribbean in filling up that gap, both in terms of manpower and technology.” Deosaran said the commissioners were grateful for the shared experiences in this regard and vowed to return to their respective jurisdictions to improve their response to increasing crime.

“The crime today is not only internally It is coming in from abroad. That is why the focus was on transnational organised crime.” Deosaran said his papers on the subject have pointed out that the illegal transfer of money from one country to another also was linked intrinsically to drug trafficking and terrorism.

“So, when police tried to respond to money laundering in terms of the banks and the financial intelligence units, it has to be broadened now because you are fixing a three-headed monster.” “So your approach has to be strategic in the sense that you have to involve experts in money- laundering and anti-terrorism..

That is another pressure for the resources of national security both internally and externally. There is no time to waste in this regard.” The former independent senator said the country should also “take the message” in relation to the expeditiousness and focus with which these emerging threats have to be approached.

Deosaran said he also made an appeal for police and law enforcement agencies to work more closely with researchers because the policies now have to be driven, not by opinions or impressions, but by deep-seated research so that the policy will be sustainable and properly targeted.

He added that the conference, which will be held in Jamaica next year, allowed commissioners to generate their own indigenous analysis and response to crime.

At the event, head of the Northern Division, Snr Supt Mc Donald Jacob won the Top Caribbean Crime Fighter award.

For more on this story go to: http://newsday.co.tt/news/0,244249.html

IMAGE: A Contrario ICL

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