Port-of-Spain, Trinidad (12th October, 2016)–The Hon. Vance Amory, Premier of Nevis, and Senior Minister in the Federal Cabinet, is leading the St. Kitts and Nevis Delegation attending the XII Meeting of the Council of Defence Ministers of the Americas (XIICDMA) taking place in Trinidad & Tobago, during 10-12 October 2016. Hon. Vance Amory is deputising for the Hon. Prime Minister, Dr. Timothy Harris, who is also the Minister of National Security. The St. Kitts and Nevis delegation includes Mr. Osmond Petty, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of National Security, and Lt. Colonel Patrick Wallace, Commander of the St. Kitts and Nevis Defence Force.
In his address to delegates from 30 countries, as well as observers from a large number of regional and international organisations, Hon. Vance Amory informed that the hosting of the XII CDMA was a significant turning point in the relationship between and among all member states of the hemisphere. He said that St. Kitts and Nevis takes its participation and membership in the conference and in the hemisphere very seriously, particularly at this time based on developments that are currently taking place in the Federation.
Premier Amory told delegates that the discussions which would be held during the conference would give rise to meaningful policies to guide the provision of a collaborative and cooperative strategy for the establishment of a comprehensive plan by which the member countries in CDMA would operate in response to the challenges which the present day environment poses for all our countries, big or small. ” It is therefore important”, said Premier Amory, “that our countries maintain a level of preparedness and willingness to respond, not only to individual domestic or foreign developments, but also to be able to respond to and provide any necessary assistance to any other member state in order to maintain peace, security and stability, and preserve the democracies of member states, as well as to preserve the quality of life of our people in societies which are harmonious and conducive to fostering economic development. This is necessary if peace and stability is to continue among member states.”
The Senior Minister told the XII CDMA that St. Kitts and Nevis respected the constitutional integrity of all member states of the hemisphere and wished to reiterate its own support for the peaceful coexistence of all countries. St. Kitts and Nevis, said Hon. Senior Minister Amory, was also prepared to support the interdependence of all member states and encouraged the greater enhancement, strengthening and broadening of the hemispheric agreements and partnerships, as well as support for the development and strengthening of bilateral relations and trust among member countries.
“St. Kitts and Nevis also recognises,” stressed Premier Amory, ” that any event that poses a threat and which challenges the peace and stability of one country could possibly leave a contagion which could challenge or test resilience to maintain the peace and security of the subregion and the wider hemisphere. St. Kitts and Nevis believes that when the need for collaborative effort and support is agreed upon, clearly understood and accepted by all member states in the CDMA, the knowledge that there will be a coordinated and collaborative response could be a certain deterrent to any such occurrence, thereby serving to maintain the environment and infrastructure to protect the viability of our countries”.
At this point, the Senior Minister stressed that sharing information, intelligence and technology in a timely manner is paramount. In the OECS/ CARICOM region, there is in existence the Regional Security System (R.S.S.) established by treaty to provide security assistance when called upon by member states, providing the additional resources in responding to disasters, civil unrest, and any increased threat to national security. The R.S.S itself receives support from the U.S.A., the EU and the U.K. The Senior Minister informed the XII CDMA of recent developments in St. Kitts and Nevis in which assistance from the RSS has been solicited and that RSS personnel are currently deployed to assist the Police and other security forces in St. Kitts and Nevis to deal with the rising incidence of firearms and drugs–related criminal activities and homicides in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. This kind of collaboration and cooperation and support systems could be broadened and strengthened across the Hemisphere.
The importance of training and building capacity to strengthen the human resources to ensure social restoration is critical. As a small country in the Western Hemisphere, St. Kitts and Nevis wishes to play its part in the hemispheric strategy and plans to combat all of the challenges which may impact the viability and the peaceful environment of the region. However, it is necessary, Premier Amory noted, that member countries of the CDMA be willing to recognise that Small Island Developing States like St. Kitts and Nevis have limited resources and may need on-going training to ensure that the resources are available to implement the required policies and strategies. It is the contention of St. Kitts and Nevis that CDMA could play an indisputable role in ensuring the future preservation of peace and security, and help to maintain an environment that is conducive to the development and creation of employment to strengthen the social environment.
The Senior Minister closed by stressing that ‘shared responsibility and partnership are essential’. This shared responsibility cannot only be evident in times of discord or threats. Continuous training and shared experiences can help avert some of the threats or at least help to establish a state of affairs to better manage responses to threats and challenges to the peace, security and stability of the Hemisphere.