Bridgetown, 7 March 2023 – The government of Barbados on Tuesday reiterated its commitment to the fight against trafficking at sea during a National Steering Committee co-organised with European Union-funded project SEACOP.
Chaired by the Division of National Security, Prime Minister’s Office, the committee gave SEACOP representatives the opportunity to meet with representatives of local stakeholders and partners including the Barbados Defence Force and CARICOM IMPACS-Joint Regional Communications Centre (JRCC). The EU Delegation to Barbados was also in attendance.
“We welcome the opportunity to meet as a national steering committee to monitor the implementation of the SEACOP project. We have seen the positive impact of the training which the officers have undertaken and want to thank the European Union for its partnership in this most important area of maritime security,” a representative from the Prime Minister’s Office said.
In parallel to the committee, SEACOP has been delivering a regional training of trainers course for the past week, targeted at 12 Joint Maritime Control Unit officers from five Caribbean countries (Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago) and Ghana.
This course, which will last a total of two weeks, is the first of its kind in the region, according to SEACOP Regional Coordinator for the Caribbean, Karen Clarke, who stated: “It is a remarkable example of cross-country cooperation and transregional exchange of good practices.”
Instructors from Jamaica, Morocco and Trinidad and Tobago made presentations at the sessions, which covered topics such as advanced search techniques, pedagogic skills and health and safety, among others.
“This is the second national steering committee organised with our Barbadian partners in two years, and the 7th regional course carried out in the country,” Mrs Clarke noted, highlighting the long standing 8-year collaboration between Barbados and SEACOP.
The regional course also witnessed the participation of guest speakers from the World Customs Organisation, CARICOM and the Regional Security System who delivered presentations on topics such as maritime trafficking trends, small arms and weapons trafficking, parasitic concealments and dive operations.
SEACOP officially launched its fifth phase of implementation in May 2021, under a consortium led by Expertise France and the International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP), with funding from the European Union.
Building on the achievements of the four first phases, SEACOP V aims to continue contributing to the fight against maritime illicit trade and associated criminal networks in the targeted countries of the Caribbean, Latin America and West Africa. Consistent with human rights, the project seeks to help alleviate the negative impact of illicit trafficking on security, public health, the environment and socio-economic development, while promoting women’s rights.
Over the last ten years, SEACOP has provided support to a number of institutions fighting transnational organised crime in Barbados, leading to a significant rise in the number of seizures of illicit goods.