While many of us in the Caribbean think of countries far away from these shores when we hear about terrorism, the threat could be on our doorsteps.
With this in mind, representatives from the military and paramilitary forces throughout the region are this week taking part in a five-day workshop on Counter Terrorism at the Barbados Defence Force’s St. Ann’s Fort headquarters.
Defence Attache from the United Kingdom and one of the coordinators of the course, Lieutenant Colonel Anton Gash, said, “The likelihood of a terrorist event in the Caribbean is a matter now of ‘when’ and not ‘if’. This region is a tempting target for the bad guys because there are inherent vulnerabilities owing to the scale and size of the countries. However, we tend to push the threat into the background because it is easier to see the effects of other matters such as drug and weapons trafficking in our everyday lives.”
Gash, who is based in Jamaica and is responsible for the entire Caribbean basin from Belize and Guyana to Barbados, gave a possible scenario that could play out in Caribbean waters and stressed the importance of a regional approach to combating the threat.
Chief of Staff of the Barbados Defence Force Colonel Glyne Grannum agreed that since the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in the United States on September 11, 2001, “Terrorism is spreading into the developed world because a lot of the proponents are from that part of the world, so it is important to have a coordinated approach to combat and pre-empt the problems associated with it”.
The week-long workshop will focus on understanding the psychology of terrorists and the people charged with flushing them out, using a series of practical exercises based on real world experiences with Palestinian activists and the Tamil Tigers group in Sri Lanka.