Caribbean Basin Security Summit – The South America Security Summit 2018
This year’s Caribbean Basin Security Summit – The South America Security Summit 2018 CABSEC-SAMSEC took place from March 27th to 29th in Kingston Jamaica.
Sint Maarten was represented by the acting head of the National Security Service Sint Maarten,Mr. Jérôme Beeldsnijder, on behalf of the Prime Minister/Minister of General Affairs, Mrs. Leona Marlin-Romeo. Mr. Beeldsnijder participated in various discussions concerning regional crisis response teams, security risk reduction, contingency planning, terrorism and post hurricane Irma-Maria lessons learned.
Mr. Beeldsnijder emphasized incorporating the importance of personnel care in contingency planning in regards to standard operation procedures and command & control in relation to national emergency readiness.
The emergency first responders such as Police, Fire department, National Security Service, Disaster management, Medical and Defense personnel, are namely not immune from becoming disaster victim themselves.
In such a small community like ours, it can be very difficult for emergency first responders to cope. These are the same persons we deploy to provide services and expect to act while their own family or homes may also be directly affected by the disaster. We task these same emergency first responders with standing guard against looting, deterring criminal activities, protecting our critical infrastructure and preventing contraband from entering our ports.
Sint Maarten also shared its experiences in the aftermath of both hurricanes Irma and Maria with Commander, Colonel Sir Trevor Thomas of the Antigua and Barbuda Defense Force, responsible for the evacuation of Barbuda as well as Brigadier-General Peter de Vin, Commander of the Netherlands Defense Forces in the Caribbean. During the Summit, bilateral talks were also held with counterparts of other security agencies.
During the panel discussions important remarks were made about the need to bring in more youngsters talented in Information Technology (IT) services to look for smart solutions in early warning & monitoring systems, sustainable building and water management. This particular group of professionals should be included to the table when discussing national emergency readiness.
In addition to the island of Sint Maarten, a number of CARICOM member states and South American countries were represented by their respective Ambassadors, High Commissioners, Generals of Defense, staff and Non-Governmental Organisations. The goal was to strengthen regional networks and to take back valuable ideas and solutions to their home country for further development.
On receiving feedback on the Summit from Mr. Beeldsnijder, the Prime Minister is very much in favor of having our local disaster management chain evaluate the countries’ emergency readiness plans.