CARICOM Heads Prepare Declaration on International Terrorism

At the conclusion of its emergency meeting this past weekend, CARICOM Heads of Government adopted a *”Nassau Declaration on International Terrorism”.*

The document reinforces the Caribbean Community’s commitment to work with the international community in the multi-faceted flight against terrorism, in accordance with international law and convention. The Declaration further pledges CARICOM’s support for the efforts to bring to justice the perpetrators, organisers and sponsors of the September 11 terrorist attacks against the United States.

*”We are conscious that the unprecedented and barbaric terrorist assaults of September 11 will require of us extraordinary vigilance and co-ordination in the future, to ensure that our territories, our institutions and our citizens are not used in any manner to facilitate the activities of terrorists or to undermine our national and regional security”*, the Declaration states.

CARICOM Heads have agreed to a review of all relevant regional and international conventions in order to ensure the widest possible adherence to them by their respective governments. They also agreed that the highest priority will be taken to enhance existing national legislation relating to security in all its dimensions, and to introduce new laws, as required.

*”We support the efforts of the international and regional financial institutions to develop strategies and programmes to mitigate the economic loss experienced by countries, and look forward to the Caribbean countries participating fully and meaningfully in such strategies and programmes”*, continues the Declaration.

Bahamas Prime Minister H.A. Ingraham, current Chairman of the CARICOM Heads of Government, said * “..we will provide no support for terrorist activity, whether that is in relationship to financial services or anything else. And, we will be supportive of all efforts, in accordance with international law and conventions, to be rid of terrorism in the world.”*

The Prime Minister acknowledged that the Caribbean has suffered greatly as a result of terrorism. Announced at the emergency meeting were plans to establish a joint $18 million Caribbean Tourism Marketing Fund, geared to stimulating the region’s economies. Regional Tourism Ministers and industry officials met earlier last week to assess the situation and submit recommendations to the Heads of Government meeting.

Decrying the reason for the emergency meeting, leaders nevertheless recognised the need for a concerted effort to confront this newest challenge, and indicated that the forum provided them with an excellent opportunity to coordinate a common approach and response, as they “chart the way forward”.