Law enforcement capacities and rehabilitation projects in correctional facilities for drug offenders in Barbados are to benefit from a regional grant of more than $2 million, thanks to the European Union.
Addressing a meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Regional Security System at Hilton Barbados Resort this morning, EU Ambassador to Barbados, Mikael Barfod announced that the Europeans will be providing a 1.2 million Euro grant to the RSS.
Barfod said the overall objective is to strengthen the region’s institutional capacity and response to reduce drug demand, prevent crime and violence and combat illicit drug trafficking.
“This innovative programme is expected to strengthen the capacities of law enforcement and border security personnel to address illicit trafficking in RSS member states, [including Barbados],” he stated.
The EU representative also said the programme will enhance existing rehabilitation projects in correctional facilities for drug offenders and provide them with alternative skills.
It is anticipated, too, that the scheme will support public awareness about key law enforcement issues, such as drug enforcement and human rights matters in RSS member territories.
“The programme, [which] will complement the support provided by Canada for the setting up of a training academy, will enhance professionalisation,” added the diplomat.
Barfod is of the view that the project could be a catalyst for increased cooperation among RSS member countries, partner states and key regional partners.
“I also hope that the programme will liaise with the EU Safety and Security programme in St Kitts and Nevis, building on technical expertise on national safety, as well as using the National Security Training Centre,” the EU official suggested.
The 10th diplomat disclosed, as well, that the EU was planning to allocate 45.5 million euros to security for the 11th European Development Fund, through CARIFORUM, with focus on support for crime prevention, restorative justice, improving citizen security and the fight against financial crimes.
“The 10th European Development Fund will in 2014, roll out its crime and security programme, with a value of 12.6 million euros supporting multiple actors of the Caribbean region, including CARIFORUM, IMPACTS, the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force and last but not least, the Regional Security System,” Barfod continued.
He also had some ideas for the meeting to consider.
“I would like to encourage other countries to follow the examples of Dominica and St Vincent and the Grenadines and to adopt similar civil assets forfeiture laws. The UK has made important efforts in sharing their expertise on the issue. In the current economic climate, these approaches should be welcomed, not only from a security point of view, but also from a revenue one,” Barfod.