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Monday 22 July 2019
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TT assumes chairmanship of Defence Ministers secretariat

Trinidad and Tobago assuming the chairmanship of the Pro Tempore Secretariat for the Conference of Defence Ministers of the Americas was important for the defence and security of TT and Caricom countries, says National Security Minister, Gary Griffith.

Griffith was yesterday handed the archives of the CDMA since its creation in 1995, and discussions learnt from the outgoing host country, Peru.

The handing over took place at a ceremony that included the signing of the minutes of the 11th CDMA held in October in Peru.

As host of the 12th CDMA, TT will be required to manage the Pro-Tempore Secretariat until the actual hosting of the summit in 2016.

Peru’s Diplomatic Service Minister, Librado Orozco Zapata, handed over the documents and signed on Peru’s behalf, while Griffith signed for TT.

The signing took place at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain.

As chairman, one of TT’s first priorities, Griffith said, will be to collaborate with member states on the implementation of a framework which will assist in structuring the discussions of the CDMA on specific items.

The framework, he said will be subject to consultations.

The chairmanship, he said, “was an ideal opportunity, not just to deal with the concept of working together throughout the Americas, but it was important for securing Caricom.”

Caricom has been seen, he said, as a soft target for infiltration because it was not in a conflict zone.

For TT, he said, the importance of the CDMA cannot be overemphasised noting that security cooperation agreements signed between TT and Colombia in 2005, and TT and Venezuela in 2008 were achieved on account of the CDMA.

“These security cooperation agreements must not be seen as cosmetic. No country can do it alone. We need to be our brothers’ keepers in the Americas,” he said.

The entire hemisphere, Zapata said was described as a “peace zone” even though there may be specific matters of concerns to some countries.

The objective, he said, was to resolve the concerns peacefully to enable the hemisphere to remain peaceful.

TT took part in the CDMA from the inception in both preparatory meetings and ministerial forums. It was created for the purpose of debating analysing and exchanging experiences among ministers to increase cooperation in the areas of defence and security.

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