The United States’ Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Janet Napolitano, delivered the keynote address at the second Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) Caribbean-United States Security Cooperation Dialogue on November 10, 2011. The opening ceremony also included the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, The Right Honorable Hubert A. Ingraham, U.S. Ambassador to The Bahamas, Her Excellency Nicole A. Avant, the Minister of National Security, The Honorable Orville A. (Tommy) Turnquest, and the Minister of National Security for Antigua and Barbuda, The Honorable Dr. Errol Cort. The one-day conference included more than fifty senior government officials representing the United States, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nations, and the Dominican Republic.
In her keynote address, Secretary Napolitano said that her trip to The Bahamas and participation in the Security Cooperation Dialogue underscores the Obama administration’s commitment to strengthening regional security cooperation while facilitating trade and tourism. Secretary Napolitano highlighted on-going cooperative efforts in the region targeting the drug trade and other forms of transnational crimes and emphasized the need for sustained commitment from all CBSI partners to guarantee effective solutions to the shared security challenges in the region. The Secretary also shared some of the lessons learned at the Department of Homeland Security, and more generally across the U.S. government, on the importance of regional cooperation and sustainment to achieve our shared security goals.
“The United States and The Bahamas share a strong relationship built on our common interests in bolstering security, strengthening democracy and promoting trade and cultural exchange,” said Secretary Napolitano. “This dialogue is an opportunity for us to recommit to the continued cooperation that is necessary to address transnational threats that impact our nations.”
The CBSI partnership fulfills the commitment President Barack Obama made at the Fifth Summit of the Americas in April 2009 to deepen regional security cooperation and complements ongoing citizen security initiatives in the Western Hemisphere, including the Merida Initiative in Mexico, Central America Regional Security Initiative, and Colombia Strategic Development Initiative.
Through CBSI, the United States is partnering with Caribbean nations by enhancing maritime and aerial security cooperation, supporting law enforcement capacity building, improving border/port security and firearms interdiction, promoting justice sector reform, and investing in community-based crime prevention programs targeting at-risk youth. Training, education and equipment have been made available to the partner organizations through these programs which were developed through the CBSI cooperative dialogue process. The U.S. commitment to the Caribbean and to the CBSI partnership also extends beyond the CBSI funding to HIV/AIDS prevention, military education and training, advancing economic development and trade, and promoting social inclusion for marginalized groups.
Please visit U.S. Embassy Nassau’s Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) webpage to obtain additional information on CBSI and a transcript of Secretary’s Napolitano’s keynote remarks at: