The Government of Barbados has pledged continued full support for the Regional Security System.
This was made clear by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, as he addressed a 30th Anniversary Luncheon and Awards Ceremony of the RSS at Casa Grande Hotel yesterday.
Stuart told a gathering that included former Commissioner of Police and current RSS Coordinator, Grantley Watson; retired Chief of Staff of the Barbados Defence Force, Brigadier Rudyard Lewis; and Chief of Staff of the Barbados Defence Force Colonel Alvin Quintyne, and members of the diplomatic corps, that continual support for the RSS was non-negotiable.
In fact, he committed future administrations to ensuring that security in the region would remain on the front burner.
“As far as we are concerned, this system is an indispensable prerequisite to the continued tranquility of this region. And therefore, whatever the Barbados Government has to do to ensure that it is properly resourced and properly fuelled – the Government will do as long as I have anything to do with it. And I believe that I can speak here for governments coming after. I don’t think that we will ever go back to a stage where we allow ourselves to believe that we do not need a system like the RSS.”
Recalling the Grenada coups, Stuart noted that the threats to regional security had not lessened over the years.
“If anything,” he stressed, “they have grown. The existence of the RSS is not to be explained by just a pipe dream. Security issues are real for us here in the Caribbean… If we did not want to be mature up to then [the Grenada coup]… We were forced into maturity by those events and we came face to face with a reality that we needed to have in place the kind of mechanisms, military and otherwise that would allow us to handle such challenges.
“And I recall with undiminished clarity, the leadership provided by Brigadier retired Rudyard Lewis on that momentous occasion and during those momentous events,” he added.
The Prime Minister explained that as a result of the events in Grenada, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed in 1996, and the accompanying legislation gave birth to the RSS as it exists today.
Stuart sounded a note of caution for persons to realise that the Caribbean was not divorced from the problems of the world.
“Located where we are, we cannot continue to believe that we are insulated or isolated from the threats that bedevil other parts of the world. We are not even allowed to believe that in the month of December 2012, on the 19th day, when we should all be talking about peace on earth and goodwill towards all men,” he added.