Terror threat

Region prepares to fight terrorism in joint military exercise

Radicalized Caribbean nationals returning home from fighting alongside the so-called Islamic State (IS) – otherwise called ISIS or ISIL – are posing some of the greatest challenges to law enforcement officials in Barbados and the rest of the region, according to regional security officials.

Director of training at the Regional Security System (RSS) retired Captain Brian Roberts said Tuesday morning at the launch of the annual security exercise, Tradewinds 2017, that returning foreign terrorist fighters, and terrorism on a whole, were among new threats with which the region had to contend.

RSS Director of Training Captain Brian Roberts

It is for this reason, he said, that the exercise, due to take place here and in Trinidad and Tobago from June 6-17, will focus on the new, non-traditional threats to security.

“We knew that we had to be prepared in order to confront these new challenges to our security,” Roberts told journalists gathered at St Ann’s Fort, The Garrison, St Michal for today’s launch.

The retired soldier made reference to global security challenges, such as ethnic conflicts, religious fundamentalism, separatism, insurgencies, public disorder, illegal drugs and terrorism, compounded by environmental degradation, mass migration and the refugee situation.

And he warned that the region must keep an eye on those developments, even as it confronts its own problems.

“We here in the Caribbean are not immune to such events. We not only have to deal with our local and regional issues, like our rising murder rates, the threat of terrorism or the political, social and economic instability in nearby countries, but also pay close attention to what is happening in the international arena,” Roberts said.

A report late last year in the American publication The Atlantic, which was later carried by several leading international media, named Trinidad and Tobago as the country in the Western Hemisphere with the highest rate if IS recruits, with more than 400 of its citizens feared to have left to join the terror group in Syria and Iraq since 2013. The figure is closer to between 100 and 130, according to former United States ambassador John L Estrada, and Trinidad’s minister of national security Edmund Dillon.

In February of this year, The New York Times reported that law enforcement officials in Port of Spain were scrambling to close a pipeline that has sent the steady stream of young Muslims to Syria, where they have taken up arms for IS.

It said American officials were worried about having a breeding ground for extremists so close to the United States, fearing that Trinidadian fighters could return from the Middle East and attack American diplomatic and oil installations in Trinidad, or even make the journey to the US.

US president Donald Trump spoke by telephone in February with Prime Minister Keith Rowley of Trinidad and Tobago about terrorism and other security challenges, including foreign fighters, stated While House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Chief of the Office of Security Cooperation in the US Military Liaison Office Lt Col Jorge Jaramillo made it clear today the plan was to send a clear message to terrorists that Washington would stand behind its Caribbean allies to ensure the safety and security of their citizens.

“Any terrorist threat is a serious threat. That’s the reality we’re talking about. It’s different for every one of the countries, I don’t know that we’re going to get into the details on that but the reality is we need to defeat the threat before it shows up and that’s the point of this exercise. It’s a show of force, let’s not make any mistake about this.  This is an opportunity for the forces to practise but it’s also an opportunity to show anybody that’s out there, that is not well intended, that the United States with all its partners, are willing to protect its citizens,” Jaramillo said.

Twenty-one countries, including RSS member states, the Caribbean Community, Canada, France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands will participate in the exercise, which will shift from a classroom, simulation method to a more practical, real-life programme,.

Already, a regional combined task force has been introduced, which will test the regional response mechanism and highlight areas for improvement.

“The scourge of illegal drugs, illegal arms and human trafficking are some of the familiar issues for which Tradewinds 2017 will seek to enhance our capabilities to counter these threats.  It will also seek to develop new techniques and procedures to combat unfamiliar threats to Barbados such as the use of improvised explosive devices, threats to key government infrastructure and kidnapping, to name a few,” Tradewinds 2017 Co-director Major Carlos Lovell said.

11 Responses to Terror threat

  1. Jennifer April 19, 2017 at 5:46 am

    Wrong pants. The leaf has fallen from the tree. What is missing?? maybe a good DOSE of cognitive dissonance. That aught to do it.

  2. Greengiant April 19, 2017 at 6:14 am

    ISIS real MOU is to destabilize economies, by making tourists fear for their safety in those developed countries. Do they have anything to gain by striking in this region? Maybe, but very little. I would lean more towards the cruise industry, I think that would be more of a major economic hit on America, and other developed states. Reality is radical Islamic fundamentalist have nothing whatsoever to gain from attacking the economic well being of regional nations.

  3. RB April 19, 2017 at 6:44 am

    The blind leading the blind

    • jennifer April 19, 2017 at 10:36 am

      Problem- the so called Islamic terrorist thinking capacity and capability compounded with their amalgamatory skills far surpasses general people. These so called terrorist ability to THINK is not restricted in any kind of container weather it be a skillet, bottle, barrel, box, coffin, drum etc. The sky is the limit. SO by the time this people have figured out the first game plan, there are already two more holes already dug for their enemy to fall into. Mind u we securing the enemy within. Oh the irony.

  4. Leroy April 19, 2017 at 10:40 am

    Stupse..RSS need to focus on cross border crime, drugs and inter island sex trade.
    What reciprocative data sharing do we have in the Caribbean,
    would bajan officials know if a convicted child molester or convicted murdering was on a flight to bds?

    Does RSS work in tandem with local authorities at the various ultra rich ports to stem drugs and guns?

    What RSS come here spending so much energy on isis just because usa say so?

  5. seagul April 19, 2017 at 11:10 am

    @ Leroy–Real word. The ultra rich are abusing us at every turn. We need real leaders to give us a hand up not hands out beggars.

    • jennifer April 19, 2017 at 11:30 am

      @seagul & leroy- exactly. We securing the enemy within. The problem is that we have lost sight of who the enemy really is. We can’t deal with the jack Russel but want to deal with the pitbul.

  6. Tony Webster April 19, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    National security, is one subject that cannot, ever, be openly discussed , either in policy, or in operational detail. It certainly, and inescapably, requires a place very near the top of the list of security issues; it requires enhanced resources, such as specialized training, communications in strategic, tactical and surveillance modes; adequate financing; and the selection of our finest men and women willing and available. It also would require a ratchetting-up of our existing liaisons- inhabiting the interplay and two-way communications the instantaneous digital kind- with Interpol and other top-tier global security entities.

    The “training” and other allied issues, would necessarily include training ( “sensitizing” may be a kinder, more gentle term, but the essentials remain the same) the “Relevant Authority” . God help us if National Security is not placed in the right hands, here as well as in all CARICOM sister countries.

  7. Mikey April 19, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    All the long and big talk, if we cannot stop the entry of guns and drugs, how can we stem the tide of highly trained international terrorists ? HOW ? PLEASE EXPLAIN TONY ?

    • Jennifer April 19, 2017 at 8:11 pm

      @Mikey – sweet. Mind you, all this training, and fancy tech the big heads using, and the SIMPLE ONES using a new line each time and BASIC/SIMPLE techniques and ideas. Jokers

  8. Wade Bailey August 20, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    ISIS has much to gain by attacking regional states. Millions of American, Canadian and European tourists pass through the Caribbean on a yearly basis, not to mention the many westerners that live in the region. All of the countries previously mentioned are part of the coalition bombing ISIS now in Iraq and Syria, the Caribbean is now the perfect theatre to unleash spectacular, devastating attacks. The many security vulnerabilities in the Caribbean, porous borders, corrupt police and judiciary makes the region the perfect staging ground for terrorist attacks, the question is now when and where in the region will they strike first?


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