Barbados says transnational challenges require international partnerships and cooperation since they cannot be solved solely by applying national solutions.
Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, Dr. Jerome Walcott, said this is why a multipronged approach is required to effectively address and confront the myriad of multifaceted security challenges facing the Caribbean.
Addressing the Eighth High-Level Forum on the Korea-Caribbean Partnership that ends here on Friday, Walcott said the event signifies the strength of the relationship and ties of cooperation which exist between the Caribbean and the Republic of Korea.
Walcott, who held talks with his South Korean counterpart, Dr. Kang Kyung-wha, said agreement had been reached for a partnership in areas of security.
“We agreed that partnerships between Korea and the Caribbean, linking multidimensional security to information and communications technology, could provide great benefits to all parties. We also agreed on the importance of ensuring rigorous follow-up, balanced consultation and full implementation of the decisions we take here today,” he said.
The Foreign Affairs Minister said that Barbados and other Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have “unique and particular vulnerabilities” which include: open economies, climate change and to natural disasters.
“We face social, economic and environmental challenges which affect our security as much, if not more, than the traditional challenges to national security.
“To cite an example, the impact of a hurricane or typhoon can be more devastating to a small island developing state than a military attack. The devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria on Dominica last year is a case in point,” he said.
Walcott said that the concept of multidimensional security was endorsed by Defence Ministers of the Americas at their 12th Conference in 2016, as well as within a framework established in the United Nations system for promoting the sustainable development of SIDS.
He said to combat these challenges, the Caribbean developed a “Security Cluster” of specialized regional institutions.
These include the Barbados-based Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) for disaster and emergency management; Regional Security System (RSS) to address defense; IMPACS for crime and security; Caribbean Aviation Safety and Security System (CASSOS) for aviation safety and Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) for health, bio-safety and bio-security.
“These agencies would benefit immensely from partnerships with counterpart Korean agencies as we seek together to address issues such as cyber security, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the traffic of small arms. Piracy and human trafficking are also concerns we must work together to address.”
Describing the Forum as “a clear sign of the strength of the relationship between the Caribbean and the Republic of Korea”, Walcott said “we all share the view that transnational challenges cannot be solved solely by applying national solutions. They require international partnerships and cooperation”.
And Attorney General Dale Marshall says the mandate of the Barbados Defence Force is to defend the island from international and external threats.
He was speaking during a medals ceremony at the BDF St. Ann's headquarters Friday morning. He was accompanied by Acting Prime Minister George Payne who presented medals to the men and women of the force for their service to Barbados and the Regional Security System and those who reached the rank of warrant officer.
The Attorney General says the threats the island faces are multidimensional and give enough reason to maintain military organisations.
Mr. Marshall says the BDF has served Barbados well over its 39 years of existence and has always been there to respond to any crisis.