T&T: Manning to lead Caricom-U.S. talks
Prime Minister Patrick Manning is to lead a Caribbean Community (Caricom) ministerial delegation to the United States in coming months to discuss matters of mutual "security" interest with President George W Bush's Secretary for Homeland Security, Tom Ridge.These talks are to be seen in the context of fostering "improved US-Caricom relations" when, with regard to Haiti and Aristide, Caricom is doing everything to spoil those relations? Looks like Caricom doesn't want the U.S. to deport criminal Caricom citizens back to their home countries. These individuals contribute greatly to the increased rates of murder and mayhem in the Caribbean; so, it would be interesting to see what the U.S. has to say. However, it is unlikely that the U.S. will bend because a condition for remaining in any country legally is that one be law abiding. Many are not eligible for U.S. citizenship simply because of a criminal record.
Manning will be doing so in his capacity as the region's Head of Government with lead responsibility for "Crime and Security", a report on which he submitted to the just-concluded 15th Inter-Sessional Meeting in St Kitts. (See Pages 32&33).
The Washington talks with Ridge are in accordance with the Community's "endeavours to continue to engage the Government of the USA on issues of mutual interest such as security issues at ministerial level", a Caricom statement indicated yesterday.
Taken within the context of the fostering of improved US-Caricom relations, the heads of government said they welcomed the "positive response" by the US to hold such discussions.
Consequently, they mandated Manning to "initiate action" for the convening of the meeting with Ridge at the earliest opportunity.
The range of issues to be covered by the Manning-led team will include port and border security, narco-trafficking, gun-running, terrorism, and the ongoing problem with "criminal deportees" from the US.