AG: Transnational organised crime 'constantly evolving'

Attorney General Reginald Armour, SC
Attorney General Reginald Armour, SC

ATTORNEY General Reginald Armour, SC, says a combined effort is needed to reduce organised crime in the region, as it is a "constantly evolving enterprise."

He was speaking at a special meeting of the permanent council of the Organization of American States (OAS) on Wednesday morning.

The meeting's theme was Guns, Gangs and Violence.

Armour said the Caribbean region's "strategic location, shared marine space and access from South America, northwards to the Bahamas and Haiti" made it "an ideal destination and transshipment zone threatened now by competition for drugs and gun trafficking routes."

He added that data shows crime is fuelled and sustained by the illegal importation of guns from the US.

As a result, "Regional governments are forced to spend millions of dollars on national security, which could otherwise be allocated to other critical needs (like) healthcare (and) education, to name only two."

The Caribbean, he said, is not traditionally known for violent crime, but is now "gravely affected" by armed, unconventional violence.

"Gang violence affects our foreign direct investment, trade and tourism.

"Murder rates, combined with the overwhelming illegal-firearms possession, paint a dismal picture to the international community, resulting in adverse travel advisories."

He then listed what he considers "significant co-operation" in the region, including the Caricom Crime Gun Intelligence Unit of Caricom Impacs (Implementation Agency for Crime and Security), Caricom's regional symposium on crime, arrest warrant treaty and discussions on autonomous weapons, among other things.

"We must adopt collective strategies to address these challenges, along key thematic areas of prevention, intervention and suppression, evidence-based initiatives,

multi-agency intervention, technological support and comprehensive communication strategies.

"We are addressing a shared challenge which requires a conjoined approach."

By pooling resources, expertise and experience, he added, "We can develop comprehensive solutions that not only target the symptoms but also address the root causes of gang violence."

He said Caricom will continue to explore the need for regional law enforcement co-operation.

"Transnational organised crime which encompasses guns and gangs is a constantly evolving enterprise that responds to market shifts and perpetual innovations in criminal methodology. It represents an underground industry that operates beyond established borders or regulations.

"As a region, we need greater law-enforcement collaboration and intelligence-sharing to target transnational criminal networks and secure our borders."

He said together, the region has the potential to create safer, more secure societies.

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"AG: Transnational organised crime ‘constantly evolving’"

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