Minister Ablonczy Announces Canadian Support to Boost Security in the Caribbean
May 17, 2013 - Kingstown - The Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs), today announced increased support for regional security projects in the Caribbean that well help to improve security in the hemisphere and fight the problem of organized crime.
Canadian support will help to equip the Regional Security System (RSS), a collective security organization for the eastern Caribbean, with new radar, infrared scanners and avionics for its air wing. Minister Ablonczy made the announcement at the E.T. Joshua Airport in Kingstown and was joined by partners including Ralph Gonsalves, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines’ Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, National Security, Grenadines Affairs and Legal Affairs, and Grant Watson, Executive Director of the RSS.
“Canada is committed to working with our partners in the Caribbean to build a more prosperous and secure hemisphere for all peoples of the Americas,” said Minister Ablonczy. “By supporting the Regional Security System, Canada is improving safety in the region and helping to detect, disrupt and deter criminal organizations who work to bring drugs and contraband north.”
Support for these projects, in the amount of approximately $5.3 million, will be provided through the Government of Canada’s Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program (ACCBP). The support will go toward upgrades to the forward-looking infrared radar capacity and aircraft sensors for the RSS air wing and to upgrade communications networking between the air wing and member-state coast guards and police forces.
These projects have been developed in partnership with the United States’ Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, which is currently implementing a program for refurbishing the RSS air wing.
This announcement builds upon previous Canadian efforts to support security and stability in the Caribbean. Since 2009, Canada has contributed approximately $20 million through the ACCBP to support police professionalization, justice reform, the fight against illicit drug trafficking, anti-corruption projects and anti-money-laundering efforts.
Minister Ablonczy is currently on a seven-day, seven-country tour of the Caribbean as part of the Harper government’s ongoing efforts to deepen Canada’s engagement in the Americas.
Visit Panorama-Americas to see details of Canada’s partnerships in the Caribbean.
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A backgrounder follows.
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Backgrounder - Support for Security Initiatives in the Caribbean
On May 17, 2013, the Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs), announced that the Government of Canada is contributing $5.3 million toward projects involving the Regional Security System (RSS) in the Caribbean.
Support for these projects will be provided through the Government of Canada’s Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program, which was launched by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2009. Improving security in the region is a Canadian priority. Canada will be delivering the project in partnership with the U.S. Department of State and welcomes the opportunity to work with partners to enhance security in the Caribbean region.
Support to Regional Security System Air Wing Aircraft Refurbishment
Funding announced: $2,100,000
This initiative will provide the Regional Security System air wing with new radar that will have enhanced tracking capabilities, including greater detection range and higher-resolution imaging, resulting in better surveillance of drug-trafficking surface vessels. The identification and tracking of these vessels is crucial to relaying their coordinates to coast guards so they can be intercepted.
Establishment of Infrared Radar Capacity for the Regional Security System Air Wing
Funding announced: $2,200,000
This project will provide Forward Looking Infrared Radar (FLIR) to enhance the capacity of the RSS air wing to conduct effective surveillance of ship movements, aiding in the interception of boats illegally trafficking narcotics from South America to North America. FLIR operates in both the visible and infrared light spectrums, allowing it to detect either a visible image or radiation from heat sources to create a video image in daylight or during the night.
Communications Network for the Regional Security System Air Wing
Funding announced: $950,000
This project will provide upgraded communications and avionics equipment to enhance the capacity of the RSS air wing to conduct effective surveillance of ship movements, aiding in the interception of go-fast boats illegally trafficking narcotics from South America to North America. The communications equipment will enable secure video and radio network communications between the RSS air wing, coast guard, and police forces during drug interdiction operations. This will improve the coordination of security forces and contribute to an increased number of successful seizures.
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