Local October 19, 2016 | 11:02 am

US, Dominican Republic, Caricom boost passenger controls: EFE

Washington.- The US held a meeting with representativesfrom the Dominican Republic and Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries Tuesday,to bolster passenger controls in the region, improve the exchange ofinformation and design a joint strategy on maritime safety, among othersmeasures, EFE reports.

The 15 Caricom countries and the DominicanRepublic were invited to the sixth annual dialogue on security cooperationbetween the US and the Caribbean, held at the State Department.

Juan Gonzalez, deputy secretary of State for CentralAmerica and the Caribbean told reporters that countries plan to issue a"joint statement" with "objectives and a specific timetable toproduce concrete results that will boost security cooperation in theregion."

Among these goals figure an "advancedpassenger information system" that allows "data sharing flightsbetween Caribbean countries," Gonzalez said in a press conference by phone.

Also in the offing is a "joint maritimesecurity strategy" and improved information exchange and technologicaladvances, such as for comparing ballistic data of each weapon.

"The flow of drugs through the Caribbeanhas increased by 11 percent in the past six years," the official said, andalthough the Barack Obama’s administration is more concerned about the transitof narcotics through Central America and Mexico, it maintains "an eye"over the Caribbean region.

The dialogue is now part of the CaribbeanBasin Security Initiative (CBSI), launched by Obama in 2009, for which Washingtonhas since allocated US$437 million.

"We have established a greatinfrastructure for security cooperation with the Caribbean," Gonzalez, whonoted that regardless of "who winsthe November US presidential election," the efforts to support the region’ssecurity "will continue."

In themeeting were undersecretary of state for political affairs, Thomas Shannon, andundersecretary of state for Latin America and the Caribbean, Mari CarmenAponte.

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