ST JOHN’S, Antigua – The execution of two agreements between Antigua & Barbuda and the United States (US) under the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) has given local law enforcement agencies a financial boost of at least $1.5 million to improve crime-fighting capabilities.
National Security Minister Dr Errol Cort said the grant of EC $1,555,200 would go towards law enforcement capacity building, the first agreement which was signed by way of Letter of Agreement.
The monies would be distributed in four areas.
“The first agreement would see Antigua & Barbuda benefit from a little over EC $1.5 million in respect of law enforcement enhancement and in particular the monies will be distributed in four areas. Firstly, law enforcement professionalism; secondly, rule of law and anti-corruption; thirdly strengthening the counter-narcotics capabilities; and fourthly more monies for monitoring money laundering and financial crimes,” the minister said.
The US intends to provide the law enforcement agencies here with ballistic vests, computer hardware, port security equipment, software and communications equipment, vehicles and video interview equipment among other things.
Personnel will also be trained as polygraphists and the necessary polygraph equipment will be provided.
The second agreement, titled Co-operative Sensor and Information Integration (CSII), seeks to improve domain awareness and coordination in the Caribbean by integrating partner nations and US data into a regional, web-based network for sharing a common operating picture on air, maritime, and land activity.
“We also signed another agreement which deals with information sharing specifically in terms of very sensitive matters in terms of counter-narcotics surveillances where the Regional Security Systems (RSS) countries along with the US will begin to share information that would allow us to better deal with those challenges of illicit trafficking,” Dr Cort said.
The official said his office is pleased with the developments.
“I am quite excited over the execution of those agreements especially the one which deals with funding towards law enforcement because we would see more training and equipment being provided for our law enforcement thus increasing their capacity to deal with crime, polygraphing. It will go a long way in terms of helping our security forces,” Dr Cort said.
He also said some of the funds would go towards the development of the recently established Financial Investigation Unit (FIU).