21 NATIONS MEET TO IMPROVE SECURITY AND RESPONSE CAPABILITIES
CANSEC 22: Improving Joint Security and Response Capabilities
Media Release: BDF Media and Communications, US Southcom| 7 April 2022
The Caribbean Nations Security Conference (CANSEC 22) a two-day conference, co-hosted by the Barbados Defence Force and SOUTHCOM, focused on ways to enhance security cooperation to deal with a host of regional challenges and threats, like the continuing effects of COVID-19, natural disasters, climate change, cyberattacks and competition between authoritarianism and democracy.
“[The Caribbean] is a vitally important region to SOUTHCOM, the U.S. government, and the American people. With authoritarianism on the rise, protecting human rights, and helping our democracies deliver for our people is more important than ever before,” Richardson told attendees during the conference’s opening ceremony.
Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley spoke during the opening of CANSEC 22 and highlighted the importance of security cooperation.
“Much has been said this morning already with respect to the common threats that we now face. I don’t think any of us needs to be reminded of it, because we live it each and every day,” said Mottley. “But our role is not only cooperation. Our role is also to be able to give confidence to our populations that we have this, or as we say in Barbados and the Caribbean: we got this.”
In addition to the United States and Barbados, defense leaders from Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago took part in CANSEC 22.
Representatives from Canada, Mexico, France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands also took part, along with representatives from regional organizations like the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, the Caribbean Community Implementation Agency for Crime and Security, the Regional Security System, the Inter-American Defense Board and the Inter-American Defense College.
Regional Threats and Regional Cooperation
During the CANSEC 22 opening ceremony, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Western Hemisphere Daniel Erickson spoke about the threats and challenges facing the Caribbean and what the Department of Defense is doing to work with Caribbean partners to keep the region a “zone of peace.”
“The challenges before us are many, but the way forward is through trust and cooperation. Only through building trust and deepening cooperation will we be able to meet these challenges successfully,” said Erickson.
Richardson said transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) pose “one of the most imminent threats” in the region.