By Jasminee Sahoye
TORONTO, Canada, July 31, 2006 – Canada is among the countries that will be providing strategic and technical assistance to Caribbean officials preparing for cricket World Cup next year. The move follows a visit by a group of CARICOM security personnel here.
The team was in Ottawa earlier this month for meetings with law enforcement agencies including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Among those at the meetings were Colonel Stewart Saunders of the Jamaica Defence Force, O’Neil Hamilton, special adviser to Jamaica’s National Security Minister Dr Peter Phillips, who chairs the CARICOM sub committee for Resource Mobilization for Cricket World Cup 2007 and former Jamaica Constabulary Force Commissioner Francis Forbes, who is the chair of CARICOM’s Implementation Task Force for Regional Security.
Forbes told media officials and CARICO diplomatic corps representatives in Toronto that the objective was to ensure that regional borders are secure throughout and to facilitate the movement of people and goods.
“There are certain requests that we have put on the table for assistance and the response has been extremely positive,” said Forbes.
CARICOM has approved the creation of a Caribbean law enforcement center in Jamaica for the World Cup, with 400 police and other military officers from across the Caribbean.
Canada, along with British and French law enforcement agencies and Interpol have been requested to provide Caribbean security forces with maritime and aerial security where possible and assistance in the areas of intelligence, information and crisis management, disaster preparedness and public communication.
Hamilton said the region lacks the resources. “The fact is that we do have resource challenges in the region and that is one of the reasons why we are so assiduously and emphatically reaching out to our traditional partners to really stand with us and really help us fill the gaps,” he said.
Forbes added that the regional intelligence committee, which represents the nine host venues and other Caribbean territories, has been set up to implement the security plan.
“What this has allowed is for an informational technology platform to be built and an intelligence architecture to be developed that allows for the generation of national watch lists of people who should be given particular attention,” Forbes explained.
He said the lists could include people for whom serious arrest warrants have been issued, persons who are potential terrorists, deportees and individuals involved in human trafficking.
“The national watch list, will be generated in countries for the first time, will then go into a regional database that will be shared with Interpol and other international intelligence agencies,” said Forbes. “For the first time too, legislation has been put in place to request advance passenger information. There is an arrangement being worked out with the United States to assist in processing the e-manifest.”
He added that before an aircraft takes off, the manifest will be electronically transmitted and the region will be given enough time to run names and other relevant information against its own databases in an effort to identify persons before they arrive.
The former Jamaica Constabulary Force Commissioner believes that the major challenge for law enforcement during the World Cup is to maintain security while assisting the influx of people and goods.
It is estimated that more than 100,000 fans will attend the event that runs from March 13 to April 28, 2007. CARICOM heads recently approved legislation that will allow fans to travel freely throughout the nine host countries. (Hardbeatnews.com)
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