The Regional Security System (RSS) this morning marked 35 years of devoted service to protecting the small island states of the Eastern Caribbean with a church service at the Bethel Methodist Church.
Chairman, Senator Hermangild Francis; Chief Justice of Barbados, Sir Marston Gibson; Attorney-General, Adriel Brathwaite and other members of the diplomatic core were in attendance.
Senator Francis, who is also the Minister of Home Affairs, Legal Affairs and National Security in St Lucia, applauded the organisation and its members – Barbados, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica for reaching this milestone while following the RSS motto of Strength Through Unity.
“Teamwork has enabled us to build capacity on a continuous basis in our member states’ security forces, as well as to assist in protecting the domestic space of these states, for the past 35 years,” he said.
“The RSS stands as a bastion of cooperation in the protection of democratic values in our sub-region,” he added.
Francis praised the participation of regional security teams for the organisation’s success over the years.
“Even as we move to strengthen the regional response coordination architecture, we recognise that unfunded mandates will be a key challenge. While we have a well laid out response structure, inadequacy and unpredictability of available assets is a significant challenge,” the RSS chairman said.
“The training and practising of our response actions is also subject to uncertainty due to persistent resource uncertainty,” he added, while thanking the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Holland and France for their assistance.
The RSS deployed more than 300 police, military and fire service officials to Dominica to assist in the relief efforts after the country was devastated by Hurricane Maria.
“The service and teamwork of the RSS was never more evident than the recent response to the Government and people of Dominica in the aftermath of hurricane Maria,” Francis said.
“Mention must be made for the unstinting support of the men and women of the RSS forces who have come together, unhesitatingly over the years to respond to every situation where they were required to assist our member states,” he added.