The much-anticipated Caribbean Nations Security Conference (CANSEC) got underway in Montego Bay today (June 6), as security experts across the region gathered to discuss and strategise to combat the spiralling crime crisis.
The conference is being co-hosted by Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Chief of Defence, Rear Admiral Antonette Wemyss Gorman and General Laura Richardson, Commander of US Southern Command.
The conference will run from Tuesday to Thursday, June 8.
Staged under the theme is ‘Strengthening Regional Security Through Informed Action‘, this conference will provide a forum for executive-level discussion of the evolution of the regional threat environment in the Caribbean, the protection of critical infrastructure in the cyber domain, and the armed forces’ role in climate resilience.
US officials ‘excited and optimistic’
Daniel Erikson, US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs, is very optimistic of many positive outcomes from the conference, which he says will strengthen partnerships with America, Caribbean governments and regional and multilateral institutions to tackle important challenges.
He made his comments during a conference call with Jamaican Ambassador to the United States, Audrey Marks, as they discussed the conference in Jamaica.
“The Caribbean Nations Security Conference is the pre-eminent inter-governmental forum for addressing Caribbean security challenges, where the region’s security leaders will discuss pressing issues including cyber security, climate change, and transnational crime, and strengthen partnerships with the United States, Caribbean governments, and regional and multilateral institutions to tackle these important challenges,” declared Erikson.
In commenting on the conference, Ambassador Marks remarked, “The US-sponsored regional security forum will encourage defence and security leaders to strengthen ties of cooperation and explore ways to improve security measures.”
This is the first time in the history of both institutions that they are being led by women; General Laura Richardson and Rear Admiral Antonette Wemyss Gorman.
Holness to address the conference tomorrow
Prime Minister Andrew Holness is expected to address the conference tomorrow. Prior to addressing the conference on Wednesday, National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang is scheduled to hold bilateral talks with Commander Laura Richardson.
In preparation for the conference, Jamaica’s Ambassador Audrey Marks held discussions with Secretary of the Navy, Carlos Del Toro, and the US Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Michael Gilday at the historic United States Naval Observatory (USNO) in Washington DC.