AG and CBSI one on security laws
Despite the delay in passing legislation that would allow authorities to seize the property of those involved in criminal activity, Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite today gave the assurance Government was committed to making it a reality.
He said today that he hoped it would be in place by year-end.
Brathwaite made the disclosure as he noted that Barbados was meeting the various goals under the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) which is assisting the island, and the rest of the region, in building citizen security and reducing illicit trafficking.
“The only area of legislation that we [Barbados] are committed to addressing that we haven’t yet done so under the CBSI is that of civil forfeiture, which sometime, hopefully before the end of the year, we will get in place,” he said.
A year ago, Brathwaite said a civil asset forfeiture proposal would be taken before Cabinet. At the time he said the civil asset recovery regime, based on civil procedure, would prove to be faster and more effective than the existing Proceeds Of Crime Act.
Brathwaite said Barbados had benefited greatly from the CBSI and while some degree of uncertainty hung over the initiative, efforts must be made to maximize on the programme.
“The CBSI was actually conceptualized under President [Barack] Obama and his term comes to an end in another two years. The amount pledged was US$260 million, which is a significant amount. We don’t know what will happen after this present US administration,” he told Barbados TODAY.
“I was just speaking to Kurt van der Walde from the US Embassy [director for international narcotics and law enforcement affairs) and I asked him whether or not they have done any evaluation as to what they have accomplished over the last six years . . . . He said that they are in the middle of doing exactly that because at the end of the day we need to ensure that when this programme is finished, that it was money spent [and] that we are better off as a result.”
Brathwaite said the benefits included not only equipment, but training as well, noting that there had been a significant amount of money going into the latter.
“You can never have enough resources. There is no country I can think of, at least in the Caribbean, that has all the resources that they require in terms of law enforcement. Even if I use Trinidad and Tobago as an example, with all the equipment that they have, you can see the significant amount of crime that they are still having in terms of murders on a daily basis. It still means that equipment isn’t all and there is a certain amount of training that you need to do,” the Attorney General said.
One area currently being examined, Brathwaite said, related to polygraph testing.
Brathwaite revealed that there was a plan, under the initiative, to have a trained officer operating out of the Regional Security System (RSS) which had been a direct beneficiary of significant amount of resources from the programme.