Over 75 representatives of governments, Montreux Document participants, international and regional organisations, civil society, private security companies and other industry representatives gathered in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, to discuss regulation, oversight and governance of the private security industry in the Caribbean Region. The event was organised by the Implementation Agency for Crime and Security of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM IMPACS), with the support of the Secretariat of the Montreux Document Forum (DCAF).
This high level event was presided over by Executive Director of CARICOM IMPACS Major Michael Jones and hosted by Customs and Excise Comptroller Ms. Kathy-Ann Matthews, Trinidad and Tobago. Minister Fitzgerald Hinds of Office of the Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago of stated in his Keynote Speech, “in this multi-stakeholder regional workshop, I gathered that we have been able to share our experiences on the challenges that are in front of us in this regard, and at the same time, to seriously deepen our knowledge and understanding as we try to forge a way ahead in regulating this industry.” Moreover, he underlined, "we also aim at best practice, globally and therefore we are thankful for the suggestions and input from our friends in Switzerland and in the Montreux Document Forum in this regard." The Assistant Commissioner of Police of Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. Ansley Garrick who presented on the regulations in his country stated that security “means giving a peace of mind to citizens in public spaces and in their homes and businesses. Private security plays an important role in this regard and must be regulated.”
The workshop gathered 13 States from the Caribbean Community:
- Antigua and Barbuda, - Bahamas, - Barbados,
- Grenada, - Guyana, - Jamaica,
- Montserrat, - St. Kitts and Nevis, - St. Lucia,
- St. Vincent and the Grenadines, - Suriname, - Trinidad and Tobago;
- Turks and Caicos (Associate Member)
The event facilitated the sharing of experiences regarding private security companies in the region, built knowledge and understanding of the complex issues around PSC regulation, oversight and governance, and encouraged dialogue among CARICOM States on how to integrate effective policies on private security into regional and national security policies. The meeting also provided an opportunity to present the Montreux Document and other international regulatory tools to CARICOM and its Member States.
The combination of panels, keynote speeches, discussions and break-out sessions enabled participants to discuss recommendations on good practices in regulating private security. These recommendations will be submitted for consideration by CARICOM Member States, the CARICOM Secretariat, the Common Single Market and Economy (CSME) and the Council of Ministers of National Security and Law Enforcement (CONSLE).
The organisers are delighted with the outcome of the conference, which demonstrated a strong interest and engagement by participants, and supported the development of concrete recommendations. More importantly, the meeting underlined the great potential of future collaboration between different stakeholders to strengthen the oversight of private security in the Caribbean.
Customs and Excise Comptroller Kathy-Ann Matthews with Minister Fitzgerald Hinds of the Office of the Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago.
Closing Panel; from left to right: Earl Harris, Assistance Director, Strategic Services, CARICOM IMPACS, Minister Fitzgerald Hinds of the Office of the Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago, Kathy-Ann Matthews, Customs and Excise Comptroller; Anna Marie Burdzy, Project Officer, Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces, MDF Secretariat; Eric Tardif, Legal Adviser, International Committee of the Red Cross; Callixtus Joseph, Regional Crime and Security Strategy Coordinator, CARICOM IMPACS.