Port-of-Spain, Trinidad (12th October, 2016)–
The Hon. Vance Amory, Premier of Nevis and Senior Minister in the Federal Cabinet, emphasized the importance of Caribbean nations supporting one another in a speech at the XII meeting of the Council of Defense Ministers of the Americas in Trinidad & Tobago Oct. 10-12.
Mr. Amory attended the conference as head of the St. Kitts and Nevis delegation, standing in for the Hon. Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris, who is Minister of National Security. The St. Kitts and Nevis delegation includes Mr. Osmond Petty, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of National Security, and Lt. Colonel Patrick Wallace, Commander of the St. Kitts and Nevis Defense Force.
In his speech to delegates from 30 nations, Amory said the meeting was a key turning point in the relationship between member states. He said St. Kitts and Nevis take their membership in the conference and hemisphere very seriously at this time in history.
Amory said discussions held during the two-day conference would help form meaningful policies to guide a collaborative and cooperative strategy to create a comprehensive plan to help the member countries work together to meet the challenges posed to the Caribbean. He emphasized the importance of the nations maintaining ‘a level of preparedness and willingness to respond to the needs of member nations in order to maintain peace, security and peace in the region. He also stressed the importance of economic development as an important tool to maintaining those positive conditions.
Amory said the Federation respects the constitutional integrity of all member states and wished to emphasize its own support for the peaceful coexistence of all countries in their hemispheric agreements and partnerships.
“St. Kitts and Nevis also recognises that any event that poses a threat that challenges the peace and stability of one country could possibly leave a contagion which could challenge or test resilience to maintain the peace and security of the sub-region and the wider hemisphere,” he said. He added that the Federation believes in a coordinated response to any threat to the region and pledged the support of St. Kitts and Nevis should such a threat occur.
Amory said sharing information, intelligence and technology in a timely manner was essential to fulfilling these needs.
He said the Regional Security System created by treaty provides security assistance between the member states to meet disasters, civil unrest or any threat to national or regional security.
The R.S.S. receives support from the United States, United Kingdom and EU. Amory said R.S.S. personnel are currently deployed to help police and other security forces in St. Kitts and Nevis deal with the rising number of illegal firearms and drugs along with related criminal activities in the Federation. He said this type of cooperation could well be strengthened across the hemisphere.
Amory told the group St. Kitts and Nevis was willing to play its part in hemispheric strategy and will meet all the challenges that might impact the region. He said that it was important for member nations of the CDMA to recognize that small island developing states like the Federation have limited resources and may need training in order to be a more effective partner.
He said he believes CDMA can play a major role in ensuring the future preservation of peace, security and economic development in the region.
Amory closed his remarks by noting that shared responsibility and partnership are key to a successful program across the hemisphere. He also said continuous training and shared experiences would help nations better manage their resources and meet the challenges facing them.