The EU is providing Euro 2.5 million towards the fight against drug trafficking and international criminal networks in the Caribbean, according to the Jamaica Observer.
Speaking at the second annual Caribbean Basin Coastal Surveillance and Maritime Security conference (CABSEC 14) in Barbados this week, Ambassador Mikael Barfod, Head of the European Union Delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, said the funding would be provided through the EU Seaport Co-operation Project (SEACOP).
The goal is to establish a joint national maritime intelligence units and a regional maritime information system.
“Coastal surveillance and maritime security is very important to the Caribbean and Europe, since both have a common purpose, which is the eradication of drug trafficking in the region,” Ambassador Barfod told the conference.
The region of Central America and the Caribbean has long been used by drug traffickers as a major transit and trans-shipment area. While the Caribbean route is largely preferred by Colombian traffickers, Mexican criminal groups engaged in drug trafficking opt to exploit the Central American corridor.
From a maritime perspective, this is a region of strategically important sea lanes, holding key routes and approaches to the continental U.S from the Atlantic Ocean, namely the Windward Passage and the Panama Canal.
In addition to its strategic location relative to commercial shipping routes, the region is a reputed locale for hundreds of ports, marinas and harbours complemented by major cargo and cruise ship terminals and facilities for the handling and shipping of petroleum, natural gas and ammonia.
Counter-Narcotic operations are a shared security concern across South America as drug trafficking serves as the predominant means by which Transnational Criminal Organizations obtain money and increase power in the region. Following AFSEC14 and CABSEC 14, which took place this month, SAMSEC 14, the South American Security Summit, will be the next conference in Defence IQ‚Äôs security portfolio. Taking place in Colombia at the end of June, SAMSEC is focused on developing an integrated approach to land and maritime border management in South America. Click on the link below to find out more.