Pubdate: Fri, 05 Mar 2004
Source: Jamaica Gleaner, The (Jamaica)
Copyright: 2004 The Gleaner Company Limited
Author: Omar Anderson, Gleaner Writer


JAMAICA HAS announced the creation of a Regional Information and 
Intelligence Sharing Network (RIISN), a United Kingdom-backed initiative 
which falls within a raft of measures to tackle drug trafficking and 
serious external threats to Caribbean countries.

The agency, according to National Security Minister Dr. Peter Phillips, 
will assist Jamaica and other Caribbean countries to develop their tactical 
and strategic intelligence-gathering capabilities.

The network is expected to become operational before the end of the year, 
said Dr. Phillips, who was also speaking in his capacity as chair of 
CARICOM's Ministerial Sub-committee for Resource Mobilisation for Crime and 
Security. He made the announcement at a joint press conference with Bill 
Rammell, the British Under-Secretary of State in the Foreign and 
Common-wealth Office, at the Hilton Kingston Hotel.

According to Dr. Phillips, CARICOM is attaching the "highest priority" to 
the implementing of the network. To that end, he said Jamaica's Police 
Commissioner Francis Forbes will head a Co-ordinating Information 
Management Authority that will begin immediate work on the project, with 
the help of a U.K. expert who is expected to be deployed here soon.

"They will have an initial report of their survey of the existing 
capabilities within CARICOM, that we can discuss in May," Dr. Phillips 
said, referring to the U.K./Caribbean forum that is to be held in London, 
from May 10-12.

The announcement followed a discussion on Tuesday between members of the 
Ministerial Sub-committee and a senior U.K. team on security co-operation, 
led by Mr. Rammell.

The meeting was also attended by officials from Barbados, Trinidad and 
Tobago, Belize, and the Bahamas.


According to Dr. Phillips, Tuesday's discussions took place against the 
background of CARICOM's determination to establish a single market and economy.

"It is also the case that both the United Kingdom and Jamaica share an 
interest in ensuring that all the arrangements for World Cup 2007 manifest 
the highest level of security in the face of current threats," the National 
Security Minister said.

Dr. Phillips noted that the agreements will also focus on tackling the drug 
trade, for which the Caribbean is often used as a major trans-shipment point.

"We all have an obvious interest in ensuring that the current spate of 
narcotics trading activities do not, in any way at all, impair the 
possibilities for development of Caribbean countries," he said.

Meanwhile, the training of security and law enforcement officials is 
expected to begin October this year, following a study that is expected to 
begin next month.

The communique said the U.K. will identify funding for the project that 
will see the University of the West Indies helping to create a single 
training programme.

Making his address at the press conference, Mr. Rammell said the U.K. 
shares a special historical bond with the Caribbean, and that his country 
had an equal interest in curbing crime and drug trafficking.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom