Roseau, Dominica – May 27, 2008…….. Minister for National Security, Immigration and Labour, Hon. Rayburn Blackmoore has called for greater cooperation on maritime matters between Dominica and the French Departments of Martinique and Guadeloupe.
The Minister made the call at the opening ceremony of the Second Franco-Dominica Joint Security Meeting held in Roseau recently. The first meeting was held in Basseterre, Guadeloupe on May 26, 2006.
“It is indeed clear that the major security challenge facing the French Departments of Martinique and Guadeloupe and Dominica is one of maritime. The bulk of the elicit trade in firearms, drugs and humans occur on our waters within the French Departments and Dominica. It is therefore in our best interest to cooperate on maritime matters by ensuring that there is sustained patrol of our waters to confront the criminals and crooks head-on.”
In his remarks, Hon. Blackmoore also called for greater prominence on the issue of judicial cooperation by way of a concrete legal framework and expressed the hope that “we can move forward on that fundamental issue”.
Minister Blackmoore also recalled some discussion a few years ago at the CARICOM level, on the possibility of the French making the physical resources available to Dominica in order for Dominica to improve on its capabilities to patrol its waters. The Minister expressed his desire for more discussion on that particular issue.
Matters discussed at the one-day meeting included Customs Cooperation; Judicial Cooperation; Police Cooperation (Joint Security Patrols-marine and aerial); Fight against illegal migration; Movement of Foreigners; Review /update of requirements for entry into French Departments of the Americas and Exchange of information of undocumented persons.
The Dominican delegation comprised of nine persons led by Minister for National Security, Hon. Rayburn Blackmoore and included the Attorney General, Hon. Francine Baron-Royer.
The French delegation comprised of thirteen persons and was led by the Ambassador of France to the OECS, Her Excellency, Michele Sauterand and included the Prefet of Guadeloupe, Mr. Emmanuel Berthier.
The Memorandum of Understanding signed between Dominica and the French in October, 2005, established the basis for the security cooperation and exchange among Dominica and the French Authorities.
The Franco-Dominica Joint Security Committee was given the mandate to review all security matters linked to the exchange of goods and persons. The Committee was given the full mandate to promote the strengthening of judicial cooperation among the French Authorities and Dominica.
In the view of Hon. Rayburn Blackmoore, the close proximity between Dominica and the French Departments of Guadeloupe and Martinique coupled with historical trading links necessitates a structure to strengthen coordination on matters relating to security and to facilitate cooperation among law enforcement agencies at the operational level.