Caribbean-United States Security Cooperation Dialogue
May 16, 2019 (Washington, DC) – The governments of the Caribbean states and the United States issued this joint statement on the Tenth Anniversary of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative. Assistant Secretary Breier delivered remarks at the opening ceremony of the Eighth Caribbean-U.S. Security Cooperation Dialogue.
Caribbean Basin Security Initiative
The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) is a shared security partnership started in 2010. CBSI programs support efforts to reduce illicit trafficking, increase citizen security, and promote crime prevention. CBSI programs complement the security pillar of the U.S. – Caribbean 2020 Strategy. CBSI members include Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. Belize, Haiti and other Caribbean islands such as Montserrat and the Dutch islands are observers.
Traffickers frequently transport cocaine and other contraband from South American through the Caribbean Sea. Building the law enforcement and interdiction capacities of our Caribbean partners helps them stop illicit flows making all of our nations safer. By developing these capacities, partner countries also can hold perpetrators accountable and deter future criminal activity that might harm their citizens, threaten their economies, and endanger U.S. citizens at home and as tourists to the Caribbean.
The United States has committed over $556 million for CBSI from FY 2010 to 2018, through programs managed by INL, PM, and USAID. Congress has appropriated $58 million for FY 2020. To enhance maritime domain awareness and interdiction, we have improved radar coverage and sharing capacity; enhanced port security; and provided boats, equipment, and training to partner nations. CBSI assistance resulted in civil asset recovery legislation in countries and the use of asset seizure orders to target transnational criminal organizations. With INL assistance, cocaine seizures in all CBSI countries increased fourfold from 2010 to 2017. In the Dominican Republic, the largest Caribbean transit point for cocaine, CBSI programs have yielded a 250 percent increase in cocaine interdictions. USAID programming targets the drivers of youth crime and violence to reduce the risk of youth involvement in Transnational Organized Crime. For example, USAID used a risk assessment tool to identify more at-risk youth in three target Eastern and Southern Caribbean Countries: St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Guyana. USAID then partnered with these host countries to deliver family counselling to these targeted youth. Across these three countries, 75% of the youth targeted have reduced risk levels.
To augment law enforcement, CBSI supports efforts to professionalize and reform law enforcement institutions and enables partner governments to better prevent, investigate, and prosecute crime. CBSI uses U.S. legal and law enforcement experts from the interagency to train and advise investigators, prosecutors, and judges.
The annual U.S. – Caribbean Security Cooperation Dialogue brings together CARICOM members, the Dominican Republic, and the United States to review progress and set CBSI goals for the coming year. Last held on May 16, 2019, the Dialogue, with technical working groups and assessments, aids in monitoring and evaluating CBSI’s impact on security integration in the region.