The possibility that Caribbean nationals are being recruited by international terrorist elements is causing concern for regional security strategists.
Retired Major-General Cameron Ross told a Press briefing at Paragon yesterday he was part of a three-man team reviewing all elements of the Regional Security System (RSS), as well as current and projected security concerns facing the region. He noted focus was also being placed on threats posed internally.
“There is a real concern that people from the region may be recruited by terrorist groups to conduct terrorist activities within the region, primarily directed against foreigners, particularly Americans.
“We are also concerned that some of these terrorist groups might seek to promote terror in any part of the world, and if there is a disruption with respect to the economies of any one country in this region, or the region [generally],” he said.
Ross, retired Commissioner of Police of Grenada, Lieutenant-Colonel Nestor Ogilvie, and retired Chief of Staff of the Barbados Defence Force, Lieutenant-Colonel Deighton Maynard, were appointed by the regional Council of Ministers to carry out the assessment and report their findings by March 2005.
Ross said reviews had already commenced in Barbados, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda and Grenada, where they met with people from all sections of society. He added they were examining traditional and non-traditional threats to security, ranging from terrorism and corruption of public officials to money laundering and truancy in schools.
The Canadian national said regional countries could not fight terrorism or deal with security matters individually. He said there had to be co-operation under legal frameworks, and with legislation in accordance with international law “to stop these bad people”.
Ross also said the spate of kidnappings occurring in Trinidad and Tobago on an almost weekly basis was also causing concern.
Describing their occurrence as a “hobby”, he said the situation posed a particular danger within the context of freedom of movement of Caribbean people in the region.