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 to the XII Meeting of the Council of Defence Ministers of the Caribbean (XII CDMA), which has been taking place in Trinidad & Tobago during 10th -12th October, 2016.
Premier Amory is deputising for the Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris, who is the substantive Minister of National Security and, therefore, Defence Minister for St. Kitts and Nevis. The other members of the delegation are Mr. Osmond Petty, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of National Security, and Lt. Colonel Patrick Wallace, Commander of the St. Kitts and Nevis Defence Force.
The XII CDMA is being held under the theme: ‘Security and Defence of the Americas in a Changing International Environment: The Evolving Role of the Armed Forces’. The general theme is being discussed under three Thematic Axes, which were chosen to reflect the realities of the changing defence and security climate in this hemisphere.
Thematic Axis 1 is entitled, ‘The Changing International Defence and Security Climate: The Evolving Function of the Armed Forces’. This Thematic Axis recognises that crime, natural disasters, the inappropriate use of technological development and institutional ineffectiveness in dealing with some public issues are currently factors that promote instability, insecurity and violence, which are impacting all countries in the hemisphere. The XII CDMA, therefore, recognises the expanding use of the armed forces for humanitarian purposes, fighting localised, as well as, transnational and organized crime, and emerging technologies, including security management during mass events.
Thematic Axis 2 focuses on the use of the armed forces for ‘Environmental Protection and Resilience’. It is essential that the Hemisphere of the Americas inclusive of the Caribbean Basin urgently broadens the focus from individual crisis management to a collective hemispheric approach that leverages the skills, expertise, range of technology, equipment and physical human power of the armed forces. The XII CDMA posits that a number of strategic interventions can be made by defence institutions throughout the Americas to address the issue of environmental protection and climate resilience.
Thematic Axis 3 elaborates a ‘Hemispheric Security and Defence Cooperation Policy: Beginning with Strengthened Humanitarian Emergency Assistance’. This thematic axis examines the proposition that it is becoming highly relevant to consider the need to overcome the paradigm of contacts between countries being primarily bilateral or ‘point to point’ and to move towards a multilateral system where countries can have the defence capabilities as part of a rapid and efficient response, in a coordinated and systemic manner. This should provide for the provision of immediate support to a country in the hemisphere that is victim of a disaster or catastrophe, a situation that none of the existing mechanisms or agreements to date fully satisfy.
In his address to the delegates and observers at the XII CDMA, Premier Amory presented a St. Kitts and Nevis perspective on the three Thematic Axes, and outlined the role that the CDMA can play in improving peace and stability in member countries.
The main output from the XII CDMA is to be labelled the Declaration of Port-of-Spain, in which Ministers and Heads of Delegations commit to full cooperation in the implementation of agreed recommendations, mechanisms for partnership and cooperation, and plans emerging primarily from the deliberations on the three Thematic Axes, as well as amendments to the CDMA Regulations.