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Caribbean Leadership Seminar Brings Region Together To Address Crisis And Contingency Management

By Dialogo
August 02, 2010



Over a thousand are dead and wounded after an explosion rocks the stadium
parking lot in Johannesburg, South Africa during the championship match of the World
Cup. The structural integrity of the stadium has been affected creating widespread
panic among the thousands still inside the stadium.

In the days leading up to the final, gang members have been attacking
visitors to the matches by assaulting and robbing them. Tour buses enroute to the
games have been hijacked and threats have been pouring into radio stations
announcing future attacks unless the government ceases all operations against
organized crime.

Thankfully such an event didn’t happen during the recent World Cup in South
Africa this summer, but this plausible scenario was what conference attendees were
challenged to deal with at the 2010 Caribbean Leadership Seminar held in St. Kitts
and Nevis. Co-hosted by U.S. Southern Command and other U.S. federal agencies
including the FBI, security force leaders from the
Caribbean attended the seminar to learn about deterring and dealing with events such
as the one just mentioned.

“This is very beneficial for us to understand the ways in which to handle
this sort of crisis in the event that something like this was to happen,” said
Commander Gregory Walcott – Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard. “Our country hosted the
Cricket World Cup two years ago and we were fortunate that no attacks took
place.”

Throughout the three-day seminar, issues that were presented and discussed by
FBI agents included crisis management, identifying and
assessing key vulnerabilities, strategic planning, and panel discussions where
attendees were separated into groups and presented critical scenarios. The seminar
also focused on illicit trafficking, disaster preparedness and humanitarian
assistance with Haiti being the most recent example of how the region came together
to assist the earthquake-ravaged country.

One of the main themes that the presenters wanted to make clear was that with
sufficient planning and preparedness, in addition to regional cooperation among
nations, most of these threats can be addressed and possibly even
averted.

“What we want people to take away from this seminar is that not every country
can resolve certain issues on their own,” said FBI Special
Agent Norman Scott, who is currently assigned to the embassy in Barbados. “The U.S.
has the expertise to help provide solutions when asked, but we’re all in this
together if we want to achieve our end goal.”

Seminar attendees came away with a better understanding of how the U.S.
interagency system worked and how that dynamic can be applied in their own country.
Presenters also stressed the importance of networking between participants while
attending the seminar.

“Taking advantage of these conferences by meeting people is good for small
countries like mine where we don’t have all the resources to combat these threats,”
said Edison Joseph of the Dominica Police Force. “It’s good to know that we can all
call on each other in the event that something arises.”



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