WEDNESDAY, DEC. 15: Madam President, I am pleased to report on my attendance at the 11th Caricom Council of Ministers Responsible for National Security (CONSLE), held in St. Johns, Antigua over the period December 1-2, 2010.

CONSLE is chaired by Senator the Honourable Dr. L. Errol Cort, Minister of National Security and Labour of Antigua and Barbuda - I joined National Security Ministers from Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, the Bahamas, Barbados, the Cayman Islands and Trinidad and Tobago to discuss regional matters relating to security, policing and other law enforcement issues.

Madam President, there are still those who question Bermuda's participation in regional organizations and they are likely to continue to do so in spite of this or any report but I can state that our participation at this level is critically important to the security of our country as evidenced by our enhanced collaboration and interdiction successes by our border protection agencies.

Madam President, you may recall that prior to the World Cup of Cricket in 2007, Caricom formed the regional Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) to oversee and coordinate anti crime activities in the region. Bermuda opted to participate and in fact provided Bermuda Regiment troops to assist with security in Bridgetown, Barbados. Additionally, our Commissioner of Police and Commanding Officer of the Bermuda Regiment participate in IMPACS conferences and workshops. Out of that effort IMPACS has evolved as a permanent agency.

Secondly, Madam President, of particular interest was the report and subsequent discussion on the first meeting of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) - a joint security initiative between the United States of America and the region launched earlier this year. The work of the first meeting held in Jamaica will be further advanced in the first quarter of the New Year by IMPACS with a view to holding further discussions early in the New Year.

Madam President, CONSLE also approved the introduction of a Border Security Processing Fee of US$5 (not one that Bermuda will participate in) however; we shall likely reap some benefit as a portion of the fee will be allocated to fund IMPACS. As a result of this, the Quota Contributions currently made by member states will be reduced and ultimately eliminated.

Madam President, concurrent with the Ministerial meeting in Antigua - I nominated a senior Police and Customs Officer to attend the First Expert Group Meeting of the Santo Domingo Pact and Managua Mechanism (SDPIMM) for the Caribbean: New Responses in the Fight against Organized Crime and Drug Trafficking held in Port of Spain, Trinidad from 2-3 December 2010. This conference was sponsored and paid for by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Our two representatives Superintendent Andrew Boyce and Principal Customs Officer of our Joint Intelligence Unit (JIU) Mr. Steven Perinchief jointly presented on "Risks and Threats, and answers that work in different countries".

Madam President, as you will see from the attached agendas - both meetings provided extensive discussions on a variety of security topics. All in all, Madam President, our participation in these international fora is of significant benefit to Bermuda in coordinating our crime fighting efforts.

Thank you, Madam President.