Barbados and the US are committed to wrestling with and reducing the incidence of serious crimes in the region, particularly those that are of mutual concern, such as transnational offences and narcotic trafficking that have had a detrimental effect on the region.

This was the clear-cut message emanating from yesterday’s talks between US Attorney General, Eric Holder, and Barbados’ Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite.

Front Row - Canada's High Commissioner Ruth Archibald; US Charge D'Affaires Chris Sandrolini; US Att. Gen. Eric Holder; Barbados' AG Adriel Brathwaite & British High Commissioner to B'dos & EC - Paul Brummell accompanied by various Caribbean AG's in back row

Mr. Holder, who is head of the United States Department of Justice and his country’s chief law enforcement officer, arrived in Barbados yesterday on a two-day visit for bilateral talks, as well as discussions with the Attorneys General of the Eastern Caribbean.

The American official of Bajan descent and his Barbadian counterpart examined areas of functional cooperation and best practices, including the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative.

Mr. Holder emphasised that the United States cared about what was happening in the region and said that his government wanted to have a closer working relationship to try to solve some of the problems that were adversely affecting both the region and the US. He maintained that this was imperative since, as neighbours, the Caribbean islands were in close proximity to its borders.

Part of Mr Holder's, ahem, entourage? Why the big jackets? I swore Keanu Reeves and Lawrence Fishburne would emerge from a fold in the Space-Time Continuum when I saw these two!

He stressed that the United States was a partner in the fight against crime and would be paying more attention to areas of cross border cooperation, noting that without safety, security and crime prevention, the public’s well-being could not be guaranteed.

Mr. Holder added that it was important to identify the underlying risk factors that precipitated crime, and that the US Justice Department had been paying special attention to social issues as a means of “getting a handle on the crime problem”.

Mr Holder's Barbadian counterpart addressing diplomats & media earlier today...

In today’s session which was partially open for coverage, I asked what particular steps were taken towards rehabilitation of Deportees, given some recent situations in Barbados involved such elements of Society {CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO};-

The U.S. Att. Gen. further contended that policing programmes had to be culturally sensitive if they were to be effective, and cautioned that if young people felt a sense of alienation then they might resort to negative and anti-social behaviour.

This country’s Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite, explained that Barbados, despite its limited resources, was striving to rein in the rate of serious crimes, especially where the youth were concerned. {CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO};-

He thanked the US Attorney General for his administration’s continued commitment in assisting the Regional Security System over the years, and welcomed having greater cooperation with the United States to fight the scourge of illegal drugs that was posing a threat to regional security.

Mr. Brathwaite said that throughout the region there were ongoing issues of crime and security, but stressed that unless countries tried to find remedies to the underlying causes, then prosperity would be limited.

He pointed to such factors as high unemployment in the region as one causal factor that fuelled crime, and told Mr. Holder that persons involved in illicit drug trafficking needed to feel the full weight of the law and to have their assets seized if found guilty of committing such offences.

The US official was easily one of the tallest persons on the Wildey Compound, he did have "an assistant" who was a smidgen taller and about half a fridge wider... He seldom let Mr Holder out of his periphery!

He reassured that Barbados was working assiduously, with like-minded regional states and extra-regional partners to stem the incidence of serious crimes; since, as he put it, “as a government, we owe it to our citizens and future generations to be proactive and committed to achieving positive results from our actions.”

The US Attorney General said it was a pleasure for him to be in Barbados again, and that the island held a special place in his heart since he had familial ties here that included his father and grandparents.

His Excellency Sandrolini was essentially the Master of Ceremonies for the brief soiree which was well attended by Media

In addition I also asked what is the United States view on Nicolas Sarkozy’s accusation of Barbados being a Tax Haven, yet he just stated that Bridgetown is in sync with Washington on Money Laundering {CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO};-

The US official not only acknowledged steps were being made in the right direction, but also stated how Barbados is ensuring that funds were not being diverted to what can be construed as Terrorist causes, yet in the end he simply referred to a comment that Freundel Stuart made in the Print Media earlier today…

During the series of talks, Mr. Holder also met with the Commissioner of Police, Darwin Dottin, and the Director of Public Prosecutions, Charles Leacock. {DATA PARTIALLY COURTESY: CL/BGIS}

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