The troubling issues of terrorism and cybercrime are high on the agenda of the new Executive Director of the Barbados-based Regional Security System (RSS) Captain Errington Shurland.
The former Deputy Chief of Staff of the Barbados Defence Force, who took up his new position on February 1 this year after 33 years of military service, told Barbados TODAY that RSS member states were grappling with significant security challenges, which also include drug trafficking and transnational organized crime.
“Criminality has evolved over the years, people are not robbing banks in the traditional way that we’re accustomed to hearing them rob banks. We in the region have been observing a lot of scamming of ATM machines, as well as there’s a link between terrorism and cyber financing,” he said.
Shurland said the matter was discussed at last month’s meeting in St Kitts of the RSS Council of Ministers, who directed the force “to look very, very closely at building capacity to be able to deal with cybercrime, as well as to build capacity to be able to deal with terrorism and the monitoring and tracking of individuals who we know have left the region and returned”.
The new boss stressed that terrorism and cybercrime had the potential to threaten the region’s bread and butter tourism industry, and the RSS had a responsibility to ensure the Caribbean remained safe and attractive to visitors. “
Shurland said the RSS would also be seeking the support of its international partners to combat drug trafficking, as the region is a major transhipment point for illegal drugs.
He added that member states were working to develop legislation to address the proceeds of crime.
“Our Asset Recovery Unit has developed model legislation that we’re encouraging our member states to adopt, because we have to close all the gaps when it comes to criminality. We have to be on the preventive side, we have to be on the side where we interrupt the flow, and we have to have the legislative framework in order to bring those individuals to justice. And finally we have to take the proceeds out of crime [for] those individuals that live in the $2 million and $3 million houses and drive all the fancy cars . . . . So we are looking at a network of responses in order to treat to the level of crime and to deal with transnational crime as well,” Shurland said.