At 39th meeting of the heads of government of the Caribbean Community in Montego Bay, Jamaica on July 4-6, 2018, several significant actions occurred on international enforcement and security cooperation, as shown by the Communique.
Jamaica signed the CARICOM arrest warrant treaty, which enables Jamaica and CARICOM countries to more easily surrender individuals without need to extradite them.
After receiving an update on current and emerging Crime and Security issues in the region, the Heads mandated the Regional Security Agencies to work closely with the National Security Heads to address the various challenges emphasizing the need to strengthen the network of security head in the region to promote further information and intelligence sharing.
The Heads underscored the importance of strengthening the use of information and Communications technology in the fight against illicit trafficking in narcotics and firearms, trans-border criminal activities and cyber attacks. They emphasized the importance of working more closely with their international development partners to help the region in this regard.
CARICOM Members were encouraged to urgently update all legal instruments to combat crime and enhance regional security.
The Heads observed with great concern the amendment approved by the UK House of Commons to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill requiring the UK Government to ensure that the British Overseas Territories, but not Crown Dependencies, establish public registers of beneficial ownership information by no later than December 31, 2020.
They expressed solidarity with the territories “adversely affected by this unfair and unilateral action to legislate in areas of domestic policy constitutionally devolved to the territories without the consent of the people. Moreover, the action ran counter to an alternative arrangement to public registers earlier negotiated and agreed with the UK government and put in place at great cost to the overseas territories.”
According to the Heads, this they view as similar to the “unfair, unilateral and punitive extraterritorial measures such as blacklisting and de-risking taken against their own countries financial services sector, also a critical aspect of their economies, despite their best efforts at transparency and compliance.”
The Heads welcomed the report of the Regional Commission on Marijuana, which reviewed information and studies pertaining to marijuana legislation regulating its use and classification, findings related to research conducted on the medicinal use of marijuana as well as the economic and social impact and its implications for the region.
The Heads accepted in principle the need for changes in the classification of the drug which will make it more available for medicinal purposes and research. The acknowledged the region must intensify its lobbying at the international level to facilitate reclassification.
The Communiqué shows that the Caribbean Single Market Economy continues to facilitate streamlined procedure to enforcement cooperation, such as the CARICOM arrest warrant treaty. They continue to try to develop common approaches and policies to transnational criminal threats, such as illicit trafficking in narcotics and firearms, trans-border criminal activities and cyber attacks.
The Heads are also developing common approaches to efforts by extraregional actors to impose tax transparency and money laundering/counter-terrorism financial regulatory and enforcement policies on them. They are especially supportive of the overseas territories because the same policies, e.g., the requirement to have corporate public registers, will undoubtedly be imposed on them, even as they continue losing their financial service markets to other jurisdictions, especially to states in the U.S. which do not even have any private registers and the Trump Administration has not prioritized or pledged to meet international standards in tax transparency or anti-money laundering.
CARICOM has developed a number of regional enforcement and security mechanisms, including CARICOM Implementing Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS), the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police, and subregional enforcement mechanisms, such as the Organization of East Caribbean States (OECS) Regional Security System.