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Canadian government donates Cdn$5.3 million worth of equipment to RSS

Canadian government donates Cdn$5.3 million worth of equipment to RSS

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The more than Cdn$5.3 million worth of equipment to be donated by the Government of Canada to the Regional Security Systems (RSS), is expected to put a damper on the illegal operations of the “bad guys.”{{more}}

During a press briefing last Friday, hosted by local, Canadian, United States and RSS officials, Diane Ablonczy, Canadian Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in the Americas and Consular Affairs, announced that her country would be providing four areas of assistance to the RSS.

“…What we did today was get together to upgrade the planes,” Ablonczy announced at the briefing, held on the tarmac of the E.T. Joshua Airport.

“We also wanted to give them some upgraded equipment, so the radar system will be upgraded to the latest and greatest… and we are also marrying that with infra-red radar equipment so that the team can follow these illegal operators at night….”

Ablonczy indicated that the Canadian government would also be upgrading the communications systems, to strengthen links between the RSS and other regional law enforcement agencies.

“Because of course, the RSS is only one part of the security forces in the Caribbean. You’ve got local police forces, you’ve got the Coastguards, and you’ve got other security partners. If they don’t talk to each other, then they cannot work together….

“And the last thing that we are doing, we are upgrading the equipment that you use to ‘vet’ officers,” Ablonczy added.

“Sadly, when criminal elements have lots of money and they’re not afraid of intimidating people, then they can corrupt some of our officials…. We are putting some equipment into that exercise….”

The minister pointed out that she was pleased to make the announcement regarding the assistance, and that Canada was happy to partner with the United States and the regional law enforcement organization to stamp out crime in the area, which she acknowledged, has a knock-on effect on North America.

She also commended the RSS, stating that she was impressed by the work it has been doing in the region.

“The bad guys have all kinds of money. They are rich and they buy the latest technology; they buy the latest things to hurt our people, to bring crime to our shores, to bring destructive drugs to our shores, to smuggle innocent people in the worst kind of slavery and abuse; they smuggle arms to destablize our communities….

“It’s nice when you see the bad guys you can say ‘Aha , we’ve got you, you can’t get away from us now.’

“I was impressed with this group (RSS) because of their tremendous commitment to what they do.

“We are cheering for you, we are proud of you and we are strong partners with you and the important work you are doing.”

Also speaking at the announcement was Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, who lauded the government and people of Canada for the contribution to the RSS.

Gonsalves said that he hoped the upgrade to the RSS would be a deterrent to persons intent on breaking the law.

“I am sure that these resources will be put to good use,” Gonsalves stated.

“I am not one of those opposed to the drug traffickers knowing what we have, because I want the young people to know the risks they face,” he added.

“When you go in a boat to traffic in drugs, whether cocaine or marijuana, you must bear in mind that there are planes which you can’t see high up in the sky, and those planes are seeing you.

“…And they are able to track the co-ordinates, and they will communicate those co-ordinates to the coastguard services in the countries closest to those co-ordinates….”

The Prime Minister acknowledged that it was impossible to stop all criminal activities, but vowed that under his watch, the RSS will play its part in making sure that criminal activity at home and in the wider region is reduced, through assistance from Canada and other partners.

“This is going to be of real use to maintain law and order, strengthen democracy, and help people in their ordinary lives.”

Kurt Van der Walde, Director of the United States Bureau of Narcotics and Law Enforcement, attached to the US Embassy in Barbados, as well as Grantley Watson, RSS Ececutive Director, also addressed the briefing.

The RSS includes the six independent OECS countries, (Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts/Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines) and Barbados.(JJ)

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