CANSEC 2012: Transregional Collaboration and Information Sharing
By Dialogo December 13, 2011
The theme of the 2012 Caribbean Nations Security Conference (CANSEC),
sponsored jointly by the United States Southern Command and St. Kitts and Nevis, is
“Regional Information Sharing: to Combat Transnational Organized Crime and Assist
Foreign Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response.” But other hot topics such as
information sharing, youth violence, high rates of crime and violence in the region,
illegal gun ownership and an outgrowth of the drug trade are also being discussed
amongst several Chiefs of Defenses of the region, other military personnel and
Youth violence is a particularly serious problem in the Caribbean. “Deaths
and injuries from youth violence constitute a major threat to public health and
impede social and economic progress across the region,” declared the Prime Minister
of St. Kitts and Nevis, the Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas during his opening
remarks. Youth are disproportionately represented in the ranks of both victims and
perpetrators of crime, while violence and youth homicide rates in several countries
of the region are significantly above the world average, statistics show.
CANSEC 2012 also provides participants the opportunity to discuss a strategy
for a unified plan of action to counter illicit trafficking — a
hemispheric-wide phenomenon that engulfs the region, presenting both internal and
external threats. “We have to use this forum (CANSEC 2012) to have serious
discussions about the important issues in the region, with a special focus on
transnational organized crime”, said Lt. Col. Patrick Wallace, Commander of the St.
Kitts and Nevis Defence Force.
Another critical topic being discussed during CANSEC 2012 is the evolving
role of the military into non-traditional roles to combat illicit trafficking and
crime, and also the military participation in humanitarian aid and disaster relief
efforts. “We all have to learn how to better share information and how to benefit
from the new information sharing tools available,” said the Commander of the U.S.
Southern Command, General Douglas Fraser.
The regional conference brings together the Chiefs of Defense from the
Caribbean nations, representatives from regional organizations such as CARICOM and
observers from the Inter-American Defense Board, the Netherlands, France, Canada and
the United Kingdom.