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Caribbean Nations Security Conference opens in Montego Bay today

Published:Monday | June 5, 2023 | 12:53 AM

The Caribbean Nations Security Conference (CANSEC), set to open in Montego Bay today, is expected to strengthen partnerships with the United States, Caribbean governments, and regional and multilateral institutions.

Daniel P. Erikson, the deputy assistant secretary of defence for Western Hemisphere affairs, recently discussed the upcoming conference during a conference call with Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Audrey Marks.

CANSEC will be co-hosted by Jamaica Defence Force Chief of Defence Rear Admiral Antonette Wemyss Gorman and US General Laura Richardson, the commander of US Southern Command.

“The Caribbean Nations Security Conference is the preeminent intergovernmental forum for addressing Caribbean security challenges, where the region’s security leaders will discuss pressing issues, including cybersecurity, climate change, and transnational crime, and strengthen partnerships with the United States, Caribbean governments, and regional and multilateral institutions to tackle these important challenges,” said Erikson.

This year’s theme is ‘Strengthening Regional Security Through Informed Action’ and the conference will provide a forum for executive-level discussion of the evolution of the regional threat environment in the Caribbean, the protection of critical infrastructure in the cyber domain, and the armed forces’ role in climate resilience.

In commenting on the conference, Marks said: “The US-sponsored regional security forum will encourage defense and security leaders to strengthen ties of cooperation and explore ways to improve security measures.” cThis is the first time in the history of both institutions that they are being led by women - Richardson and Wemyss Gorman.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness is expected to address the conference on Wednesday.

Prior to addressing the conference on Wednesday, National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang is scheduled to hold bilateral talks with Commander of US Southern Command General Laura Richardson.

In preparation for the conference, Marks held discussions with Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro and the US Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Gilday at the historic United States Naval Observatory in Washington, DC.