US Re­sponse on De­por­ta­tions and Se­cu­rity As­sis­tance

The Star (St. Lucia) - - COMMENT -

The United States Em­bassy in Bar­ba­dos on Wed­nes­day is­sued the fol­low­ing re­sponse to a me­dia ar­ti­cle:

A July 11 ar­ti­cle in the Na­tion news­pa­per, “Chas­tanet Blames U.S.,” re­ported that Saint Lu­cia Prime Min­is­ter Allen Chas­tanet said that the United States gov­ern­ment was slash­ing fund­ing for se­cu­rity as­sis­tance in the re­gion and con­tribut­ing to re­gional crime by de­port­ing crim­i­nals back to their coun­tries of ori­gin. He was also quoted as stat­ing that 800 crim­i­nals were de­ported to St. Lu­cia in one year.

In fact, the United States, in part­ner­ship with East­ern Caribbean gov­ern­ments, is com­mit­ted to strength­en­ing se­cu­rity in the re­gion. As ev­i­dence of this com­mit­ment, the United States gov­ern­ment steadily in­creased fund­ing for re­gional se­cu­rity since Pres­i­dent Obama launched the Caribbean Basin Se­cu­rity Ini­tia­tive in 2009. Fund­ing from the State De­part­ment’s Bureau of In­ter­na­tional Nar­cotics and Law En­force­ment (INL) alone in­creased 31 per­cent be­tween fis­cal year 2015 and fis­cal year 2016. In 2016, INL plans to spend ap­prox­i­mately USD$3.94 mil­lion on equip­ment, in­fra­struc­ture up­grades and law en­force­ment train­ing to com­bat traf­fick­ing, en­hance se­cu­rity, and strengthen jus­tice sys­tems in the East­ern Caribbean. The United States is also con­tribut­ing USD$8.25 mil­lion to a joint U.S.Cana­dian project to re­fur­bish the Re­gional Se­cu­rity Sys­tem (RSS) Air Wing, which will im­prove RSS in­ter­dic­tion and search-and-res­cue ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

As to the is­sue of deportees, any In­ter­na­tional Civil Avi­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion (ICAO) mem­ber coun­try has an obli­ga­tion to ac­cept its na­tion­als who are de­ported for crimes com­mit­ted in an­other coun­try. St. Lu­cia is an ICAO mem­ber (as is the United States) and is thus sub­ject to this obli­ga­tion. United States gov­ern­ment statis­tics in­di­cate that the to­tal num­ber of deportees re­turned to St. Lu­cia in the last five years was less than 100. In 2015, there were only eight such cases.

The United States gov­ern­ment has never wa­vered in its se­cu­rity com­mit­ment to the East­ern Caribbean, and con­tin­ues to in­vest heav­ily in build­ing the ca­pac­ity of our part­ner na­tions to make the re­gion more safe and se­cure.

Prime Min­is­ter Allen Chas­tanet: How off course were his pub­lished state­ments on crim­i­nal de­por­ta­tions from the United States to Saint Lu­cia?

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