BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – The Obama Administration has praised St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas and his Government for the strong commitment to combating crime.
United States Charge d’Affaires at the United States Embassy for the Eastern Caribbean, His Excellency Dr. Brent Hardt speaking at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for the Secure Seas Maritime Support Package with Prime Minister Douglas said it was developed in a new, holistic way to increase public safety and security and promote social justice through crime and prevention partnerships.
St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas (left) and United States Charge d'Affaires, His Excellency, Dr. Brent Hardt sign the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative MOU in the Office of the Prime Minister.
“The United States of America and St. Christopher and Nevis join together as part of a shared security partnership to address the complex and constantly evolving transnational security challenges facing this region. I thank Prime Minister Douglas and his government for their strong commitment to combating drug trafficking and other major crimes, and for working with us in partnership to strengthen the regional response to this challenge. The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has demonstrated firm resolve in its commitment to combat drug trafficking and other international crime, and we welcome them as one of our most effective law enforcement partners in this region,” Dr. Hardt said.
He said that in deepening the relationship, the Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of St. Christopher and Nevis “will allow us to increase our cooperation in pursuit of our common national interests in deterring narcotics trafficking and transnational crime in the region.”
The U.S. diplomat said the partnership forms an integral part of President Obama’s Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, which he first announced at the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad in 2009 and through the CBSI, the United States was deepening its partnership with St. Christopher and Nevis and other Caribbean nations to combat these serious threats to regional security and to work together to keep the citizens safe.
“President Obama also recognized that unemployment and social instability, especially among vulnerable populations, negatively impact the safety of the individual, the social fabric throughout our communities, and the very institutions of our states that are responsible for ensuring public safety and security,” said the United States official.
United States Charge d'Affaires, Dr. Brent Hardt (seated) gives brief remarks as United States Military Laison Officer, Commander Theodore Gangsei listens.
He pointed out that this comprehensive approach means working together not only to strengthen national security forces and anti-trafficking efforts, but also focusing on broader citizen safety partnerships and social inclusion.
Funding for the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative will support strengthening maritime borders, law enforcement capacity building and crime prevention programs including expansion of education and development activities for at-risk youth and other vulnerable populations.
Dr. Hardt said the United States will provide St. Kitts and Nevis support for workforce development training for youth to facilitate workforce entry, youth entrepreneurship training, and increased access to microfinance where appropriate.
“To build this partnership, today the United States is pleased to offer St.Kitts and Nevis a Marine Support Package consisting of two ten meter interceptor vessels, including spare parts, a vehicle, a trailer, information systems and command, control and communication equipment, as well as training. This US$1.7million maritime support package is only part of the long-term U.S. commitment to support and build the capacity of the national security of St.Kitts and Nevis,” he said at the signing ceremony.
He said also that the Secure Seas platform will enhance the ability of the St. Kitts and Nevis Coast Guard to bridge the gap between Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica to Counter Illicit Trafficking and conduct Search and Rescue (SAR) missions.
“St. Christopher and Nevis is already a key regional partner, as reflected in your participation in the Regional Security System and your willingness to invest in your police to strengthen your own national security and that of your Eastern Caribbean partners,” said Dr. Hardt, adding:
“The United States is pleased to conclude this Secure Seas Memorandum of Understanding with St.Kitts and Nevis. As we continue to implement the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, we look forward to expanding our capacity building efforts in the region. In partnership with St.Kitts and Nevis and other RSS member nations, the United States will do all we can to counter illicit trafficking in the Eastern Caribbean and make the region safer and more secure for all our citizens.”
(left to right) - United States Military Laison Officer, Commander Theodore Gangsei; St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas; United States Charge d'Affaires, His Excellency, Dr. Brent Hardt and Commander of the St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force and Coast Guard, Colonel Patrick Wallace pose after the signing ceremomy.