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N Touch
Wednesday 25 April 2018
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Dillon: Terrorism a top-tier issue

NATIONAL Security Minister Edmund Dillon says the safety and security of citizens remain a top-tier priority for government.

He gave the assurance yesterday during the opening address at a Caricom counter-terrorism strategy conference at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain.

Dillon said a changing global climate has forced regional law enforcement agencies to re-think traditional counter-terrorism initiatives and incorporate a multipronged approach to treat with the threat of terrorism.

He added that while any country is a potential target to international terrorism, greater cooperation and exchange of intelligence between regional and international partners can go a long way in rooting out extremists.

“As we sit here today, we must all acknowledge two undeniable truths, that terrorism and the threat it poses has changed the world and; no country is immune to its impact.

“But our geographical position has also contributed to the osmosis of ideas and ideologies between the Caribbean region and wider global community and shaped our societies in both positive and negative ways,” Dillon said. In addition to terrorist threats and the recent phenomenon of home-grown extremists, the transshipment of arms and narcotics continues to present a challenge to regional security agencies.

Dillon maintained that government is prepared to do whatever it takes to disrupt lines of transport for illicit items as well as the inclusion of communications technology in the fight against terrorism. “The region’s counter-terrorist framework must incorporate development of succinct counter messages at national and regional levels and use physical as well as cyber communication platforms to disrupt destructive ideologies.” He said while government plays a key role in the fight against terror, all stakeholders must do their part as he called on Caricom to be more inclusive of those most susceptible to radical ideologies and engage in activities that would prevent extremism before it begins.

“Importantly, these counter messages must not only discourage use of violent extremism as a mechanism for expressing grievances by vulnerable individuals.

Such messages must also avoid antagonizing sentiments of mistrust in vulnerable populations.

Key components of Caricom’s counter terrorism strategy must also give primary focus to the empowerment at regional level, of communities, the youth and women given the proven ability of these groups as change agents.”


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