Tue, 2005-05-31

The Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police (ACCP) held their 20th Annual General Meeting and Conference at the Carambola hotel St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands between May 18th and 24th 2004. This year’s Conference theme was “Protecting Our Tourism Product” and a series of highly successful panel discussions and informative presentations in support of the theme took place. The active participation of many in government, non-governmental agencies, professionals and volunteers in the panel discussions and open sessions of the conference was evident and was fully supported by the ACCP.

Commissioners also dealt with a broad array of operational issues affecting the region with the planning for the Cricket World Cup – 2007, terrorism, kidnapping and extortion offences, firearms offences, illicit drugs, intelligence sharing, money laundering, security issues and youth crime and violence featured prominently in the conference and meetings between the Commissioners. Commissioners discussed specific strategies to mitigate the effects of crime and criminality.

The ACCP is deeply indebted to the Government of the United States Virgin Islands and to the United States Virgin Islands Police Department and the hard-working professionals who contributed to the success of this year’s Conference. We would especially like to commend the participation of those in the tourism and security sector who, by their active participation at the conference, contributed to its success. Without their full support, this year’s Conference would not have been possible. The support for the ACCP and law enforcement in general is greatly appreciated.

A summary of the presentations made at this year’s Conference is as follows:-

A Threat to Regional Safety and Security

The Hon. Martin Joseph, Minister of National Security for Trinidad and Tobago, speaking in his capacity as chairman of the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE) addressed the ACCP Conference. He provided an overview of the risks of terrorism to the Caribbean’s important tourist product. A summary of the work of CICTE was also provided. Mr. Joseph emphasized that technology, regional collaboration, counter-terrorism planning and the holding of simulated exercises, all had to be leveraged for maximum advantage in preventing terrorism in the region. Police Commissioners of the ACCP are well aware of the regional threat of terrorism and of the law enforcement efforts to reduce that threat.

The Importance of Tourism in the Context of the Caribbean Economy

Mr. Arley Sobers, Head of Research and Information Management for the Caribbean Tourist Organisation (CTO) presented on the importance of tourism in the context of the Caribbean economy. Recent analysis of the tourism industry showed the growing influence of the cruise ship industry, the large influence of the North American cruise market, the land based versus the cruise based industries and the economic input of tourism in the Caribbean. Recent figures from the World Tourism Council indicated that 14.8% of the region’s GDP and 15.5% of the region’s employment was generated by the tourism sector.

Consumer trends continue to evolve and safety and security are still a particularly important marketing tool for the region. The last observation reinforced the point that those who work in the security sector need to be ever vigilant of the importance of safety and security on tourists’ choice of destination.

An Integrated Approach to Border Protection

Mr. Tarance Drafts, Caribbean Area Port Director, Department of Homeland Security, United States Virgin Islands - a man with considerable Customs and Border Protection experience, gave a presentation on “An Integrated Approach to Border Protection.” Mr. Drafts gave an overview of how the approach to secure borders had changed in recent years. The amalgamation of several agencies in the USA with border security responsibilities into the Department of Homeland Security in March 2003 had produced considerable benefits. The consolidation of operations, cross-training, the sharing of intelligence systems had led to drastic improvements in border security.

Characteristics of a ‘Smart Border’ includes automated targeting tools, advance electronic information and inspection technology, all of which enhanced the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to protect US interests. Emphasis was made of the continuing collaboration and partnership building between the respective Customs, Immigration, Police and other agencies responsible for border protection in the Caribbean.

The Cyber Security Threat to Tourism

Ms. Lynn-Anne Williams of the Ministry of National Security, Trinidad and Tobago gave a presentation on the Cyber Security Threat to tourism. The presentation included a synopsis on the current realities of regional tourism, the state of information technology in the region, the new face of terror – which included cyber attacks, IT security and cyber security. Examples were given of the types of cyber attacks experience to date (ATM fraud, spamming, ID thefts, credit card fraud, manipulation/destruction of data) and she emphasized the growing need for the better management and protection of information systems. An outline of a strategy to secure cyberspace was presented.

Tourism in the Region – Trends, Challenges and Prospects

Ms. Pamela Richards, Commissioner, USVI Department of Tourism moderated a panel discussion on ‘Tourism in the region- trends, challenges and prospects’ which included:

  • The Hon. Wykeham McNeill, Minister of State, Ministry of Industry and Tourism, Jamaica – who gave an overview of the Jamaican Tourist Industry.
  • Mr. Neil Wilson, Secretary of Tourism, Tobago – who provided information on the state of tourism in Tobago with details on reduced crime level against tourist in Tobago in recent years.
  • Ms. Sharon Banfield, Chief Tourism Officer, Ministry of Tourism, Barbados – who gave an overview of the tourist industry in Barbados.
  • Mr. Steven Monblatt, Executive Director Inter-American Committee Against Tourism (OAS) –who gave an overview of terrorist threats to the Caribbean Region.

All panelists reiterated the importance of effective partnerships to reduce tourist-related crime and other strategies to protect the important tourist industry. The ACCP welcomed the prepared presentations and panel discussions on the challenges and opportunities that exist in the regional efforts to enhance the tourism product by reducing crime and increasing visitor safety.

Best practice example: Aruba Hospitality and Security Foundation (AH & SF)

Ms. Marcia Grobman, Programme Coordinator for the Aruba Hospitality and Security Foundation (AH & SF) presented the details of the highly successful Visibility Team in Aruba. Recognizing the critical need to maintain safety and security in the Tourism Sector, the AH and SF was formed to be a bridge between the public and private sector. Through private sector funding and close cooperation with the Commissioner of Police in Aruba, a Visibility Team was formed to patrol high risk areas of the tourist sector. The Visibility Team consists of police officers and private sector security officers. The aim of the Visibility Team is to provide highly visible patrols in the areas where tourists frequent. The Visibility Team initiative has now expanded to all areas of Aruba and reports of both crime and drugs in tourist areas have dropped since the Visibility Teams were introduced in 2002. Delegates to the Conference were enthusiastic in learning of this initiative which received an award from Motorola in this year’s Annual Community Policing Award for the Caribbean.

Regional Visitor Safety and Security Initiatives

Mrs. Susan Springer- Executive Vice President, Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) moderated a panel discussion on the regional visitor safety and security initiatives. Those on the panel included:

  • Ms. Jasmin Garraway, Director Sustainable Tourism, Association of Caribbean States (ACS) who spoke on the programme initiatives of the ACS.
  • Dr. Clifford Griffin, Consultant, Caribbean Project for Economic Competitiveness (CPEC) who spoke on initiatives being undertaken by CPEC including the creation of National Visitor Safety and Security networks.
  • Ms. Marcia Grobman, Programme Coordinator, Aruba Hospitality and Security Foundation who spoke on the Aruba Visibility Team Project.
  • Mr. Alec Sanguinetti, Director General and CEO of the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA) who spoke on the role of the CHA and emphasized that security and safety in the tourist industry were the main factor in destination selection.

The Panelists then engaged in discussions and debates on a number of critically important issues affecting Caribbean Tourism:

  • The Caribbean is the most dependent region in the world on tourism in terms of tourist related jobs.
  • The importance of maintaining safety and security in tourism.
  • The recognition that crime, harassment and anti-social behaviour is one of the real threats to the reputation of the tourist industry.
  • Issues regarding sustainability of tourism in the region.

The ACCP was commended for taking the ”bold step” in addressing the “protecting our Tourism Product” theme for this year’s Conference and for recognizing that much of tourism’s success was attributed to the continued reputation of the Caribbean as a safe destination.

Regional Disaster Emergency Response Initiatives

Mr. Grantley Watson, Coordinator of the Regional Security System (RSS), Barbados moderated a panel discussion which comprised of:

  • Ms. Cheryl Corbin – Forensic Science Centre, Barbados who provided an insight in the identification of victims in a natural disaster scenario using ante-mortem and post-mortem data.
  • Dr. Camella Rhone – Executive Secretary for the CARICOM Regional Organization for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) in the harmonizing a regional Building Code (RBC) to enhance public safety. She stated that it was the experience of CROSQ that countries had Building Codes but such codes were either not implemented or there was little or no compliance. This clearly put individuals at risk in a natural disaster; hence the importance of developing a RBC which will be implemented and complied with, the intention being that local legislation would require compliance.
  • Mr. Watson provided the conference with information on the Caribbean Emergency Response Agency (CDERA) and its capacity to lead on disaster response in the region. In addition, Mr. Watson outlined the effective working of a MOU between RSS/CDERA and the RSS’s responsibility in coordinating the Caribbean Disaster Relief Unit (CDRU).

Much of the ensuing discussion centred on the importance of planning at the national level for disaster in light of the hurricane experiences of 2004. The Commissioners took note of the significant lessons learned from the experiences of the region during the 2004 hurricane season and as a result of other critical incidents.

Sharing the Hurricane Ivan Experience – Cayman Islands, September, 2004

Mr. John Magee, Motorola Corporation gave an overview of the critical importance of developing a robust communications system which will withstand the effects of a major hurricane or other natural disaster – in this case, Hurricane Ivan which hit the Cayman Islands in September 2004. During the hurricane, critical radio communications systems, designed to withstand major hurricanes maintained operations. This was significant factor in assisting in the recovery of the Islands and in the coordination of the National recovery efforts.

ACCP Commissioners were acutely aware of the impact of hurricanes on the region and lessons continue to be learned from the recent experiences in Grenada, Bahamas and the Cayman Islands as national disaster response plans continue to be modified and improved.

Cricket World Cup 2007 – Progress Report

Mr. John Collymore, Director of Security, International Cricket Council and Mr. Rory Steyn, Consultant presented a progress report on the Cricket World Cup 2007 and outlined the expectations of the ICC for the management of the matches in the forthcoming Cricket World Cup.

A significant part of the presentation dealt with the requirements for host venues to be compliant with the Master Security Plan which deals with the complete array of venue, safety and security and venue management issues. Mr. Collymore and Mr. Steyn answered questions from Commissioners and other delegates. The ACCP took note of the presentation and it remained apparent that there was much work to be accomplished in the preparations for the Cricket World Cup 2007.

Cricket World Cup 2007 – Meeting Visitors’ Expectations

Mr. Orville Durant, Attorney-at-Law, and former Commissioner of the Royal Barbados Police Force moderated a panel discussion involving:

  • Mr. Paul Slaughter, CEO TASK International Limited.
  • Mr. John Collymore, Director of Security, International Cricket Council (ICC).
  • Lt. Col. Anthony Phillips-Spencer, Military Attaché, Trinidad and Tobago Embassy, Washington.

The panelists and panel discussion which ensued concentrated on the importance of meeting visitor and event expectations through proper and effective event planning. The delegates heard that over 100,000 visitors and 3,000 media representatives were expected over a 51 day period of the CWC 2007 and that detailed security and venue planning were essential to the success of the event.

Implementing the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) Standards

Mr. Curtis Roach, Regional Maritime Advisor (Caribbean), International Maritime Organization provided information to the conference delegates on the IMO- based in London – its administrative and organizational structure together with an overview of the IMO’s Conventions and Instruments. The IMO consists of 165 member countries; compliance is voluntary and the IMO has no enforcement power. However, Governments have an obligation to give effect to various Conventions by the implementation of domestic legislation. The Commissioners and delegates heard that the administrative burden imposed by various Conventions and domestic legislation is beyond the ability of some small island states to implement and manage. The Commissioners heard that the IMO had assisted with the development of model legislation for the Caribbean. The nexus between maritime security and national security was noted. This made the implementation and enforcement of domestic legislation and instruments so important for countries in the region.

Safety Security and Health Initiatives in the Cruise Ship Sector:

Ms. Jennifer Nugent-Hill, Assistant Vice-President, Tropical Shipping moderated a panel discussion involving:

  • Mr. Stanford Deno, Director Operations, International Council of Cruise Lines who provided an overview of security, the strategic elements of security in the cruise ship industry and the health and sanitation prevention and compliance measures.
  • Captain Howard Newhoff, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines who provided information on the development of the Security regime in the cruise ship industry – largely triggered since the “Achille Lauro” terrorist incident in 1985. Captain Newhoff described the typical security infrastructure and operations on board the entire lines.
  • Ms. Candyce Kelshall, Director Task International Ltd. Who presented on threats and vulnerabilities to the maritime operations in the region owing to the transit of LNG and other energy and chemical carriers in the region.

The panel addressed a number of questions from Commissioners related to reducing terrorist and drug trafficking in the cruise ship industry.

Closed Sessions

Commissioners of ACCP also dealt with a wide range of policing matters in their closed sessions as follows:

Meeting with US Ambassadors: The Commissioners appreciated the benefits of a closed session meeting with United States Ambassador for Barbados Mrs. Mary Kramer and for Bahamas, Mr. John Rood. Considerable focus was paid to the level of US funding made available to the region to support law enforcement efforts and Commissioners received assurances that US support for the region would remain vibrant.

The Threats of Crime and Corruption in International Cricket:

Mr. Jeffrey Rees/Mr. Bruce Ewan, Anti-Corruption Unit, International Cricket Council (ICC) gave a presentation to the ACCP Commissioners and delegates on the vulnerabilities and issues associated with illegal betting and corruption involving international cricket. Mr. Rees outlined a number of initiatives which the ICC has implemented to prevent corruption in international cricket. These initiatives include an education programme for umpires and players, the appointment of five regional security managers to be present at international matches, banning of mobile phones from players dressing rooms and restricted access to the dressing rooms.

A number of closed session presentations were also made to the Commissioners of Police. These Closed Sessions included presentations from:

  • Mr. Aron Dovrat, Verint Systems Inc. who spoke on information technology solutions for effective law enforcement.
  • Mr. Lewis Nadel, National Intelligence Academy, United States who spoke on the range of surveillance technology available for law enforcement.
  • Mr. Patricio Rojas Soto, Interpol – an update on Interpol initiatives including the I 24/7 global communication system.
  • Mr. Jerome Harris, Special in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration who provided an update to Commissioners on regional drug-trafficking trends.
  • Mr. John Parker, UK Law Enforcement Adviser who provided an update on the UK sponsored regional training initiatives including the highly successful Senior Command Course held in Trinidad earlier in 2005.
  • Mr. Eli Barnoon of A.E.I. Transactions International who provided an overview of coastal radar technology designed to protect a country’s maritime borders and coastal settlement and other assets.
  • Chief Superintendent Derek Haines, Royal Cayman Islands Police Force, Chairman of the Regional Drug Commanders provided an overview of drug trafficking trends, current and planned counter-trafficking initiatives.

The Commissioners of Police also dealt with a number of business papers during the Closed Sessions. These included:

  • Regional Information and Intelligence Sharing System. Progress on this regional initiative was noted and the ACCP approved a recommendation for a management report to identify the salient issues in the development of this important project.
  • Visitor Safety and Security Network. Commissioners will consider a MOU with the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) at the Intersessional Meeting in December 2005.
  • Emergency Response Capability in the Region: Commissioners were briefed on the prison situation in Barbados, the large fire in Port of Spain and a discussion ensued on the lessons learned from these critical incidents. The capacity of the Regional Security System (RSS) in response to critical incidents was noted.
  • Use of Force Policy Development: Commissioners noted the best practice Use of Force Policy development amongst several member countries.
  • Shooting of Police Commissioner Barry Webb, Royal British Virgin Islands Police Force (RBVIPF). Commissioners were briefed on the circumstances of the shooting of Commissioner Webb in the British Virgin Islands in October, 2004. Some lessons learned from this critical incident were noted by Commissioners.
  • Combating Illegal Firearms Trafficking: Commissioners noted the developments in last year’s research into illegal firearms trafficking in the region and undertook to concentrate their enforcement efforts to reduce the presence of illegal firearms in member countries.
  • Cricket World Cup Security Issues: Commissioners noted the developments in security planning and arrangements in preparation for the Cricket World Cup 2007.
  • Forensic Facility: Commissioners were briefed on the operational status of the new Centre for Forensic Sciences in Barbados and were encouraged to utilize the services of the Centre.

Election of Officers:

At the conclusion of the ACCP’s 20th Annual General Meeting and Conference the following members were elected to the new executive:

  • President: Commissioner Paul Farquharson – Bahamas
  • 1st Vice President: Commissioner Darwin Dottin – Barbados
  • 2nd Vice President Commissioner Jonathan Smith – Bermuda
  • Secretary/Treasurer: Commissioner Keithly Benjamin – Anguilla

Tributes were paid to past President Commissioner Francis Forbes (Jamaica) who retired in January, 2005 and Commissioner Paul Farquharson (Bahamas) who assumed the post of Acting President from January to May, 2005.

The Commissioners approved Aruba as the venue for the 2006 21st Annual General Meeting and Conference.

The ACCP Members also pledge their commitment to continue to support other regional and international law enforcement agencies such as: Interpol, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in pursuit of initiatives to reduce crime and criminality. In particular, members will continue to focus on the following:

(1) Terrorism

(2) Illicit Drugs and firearms trafficking

(3) Money Laundering

(4) Kidnapping

(5) Youth and gang violence

Approved for release by the ACCP on 1 June 2005.