Today, Secretary Clinton celebrated the launch of a major security partnership with the Caribbean – the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative – and affirmed the Department of State’s commitment of $45 million to CBSI in 2010, with $79 million requested for 2011.
“We all know well that addressing transnational security challenges in the twenty-first century requires a comprehensive approach. CBSI means working together not only to strengthen national security forces and anti-trafficking efforts, but also focusing on broader citizen safety partnerships and social inclusion,” Secretary Clinton told leaders of Caribbean states at a CARICOM ministerial meeting today in Bridgetown, Barbados.
“For all of us, the safety of our people must be our highest priority. That’s why today we are committing ourselves to CBSI…. We’ve worked with Congress to identify over $45 million in funding for this effort this year. And we’ve asked for $79 million in next year’s budget – a $124 million commitment to CBSI over two years.”
This partnership continues to draw upon and help develop the capacity of the Caribbean to address common and related challenges.
Key objectives of the CBSI Partnership include : substantially reducing illicit trafficking, increasing public safety and security, and promoting social justice.
CBSI funds will:
- Combat the growing threat of transnational crime in the region, specifically the illicit trafficking in drugs and small arms
- Develop and strengthen the capacity of regional defense, law enforcement, and justice sector institutions to detect, interdict, and successfully prosecute criminal elements operating in the Caribbean
- Reduce the opportunity for crime and violence to thrive in the Caribbean Region by increasing the skills and educational opportunities for populations vulnerable to recruitment by criminal organizations and fostering community and law enforcement cooperation
- Provide alternatives to at-risk youth, such as formal and informal education initiatives, and through the establishment of effective training and employment opportunities
CBSI will also serve as a coordinating venue to attract and incorporate support from non-Caribbean allies in pursuit of its key objectives.
U.S. and Caribbean government representatives have met four times in recent months to jointly define and develop the goals and scope of the Initiative.
The Inaugural Caribbean-U.S. Security Cooperation Dialogue took place in Washington, D.C. on May 27, 2010 and was attended by all members of CARICOM, the Dominican Republic, and partner nation observers. Participants worked toward a declaration of principles, a framework for engagement, and a broad plan of action.
CBSI partnership activities complement other regional efforts, such as the Merida Initiative and the Central America Regional Security Initiative. They also will mitigate any “balloon effect” – criminal spillover resulting from successful reductions in drug trafficking and transnational crime elsewhere in the region.