BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, APRIL 6th, 2016 – Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris has assumed the chairmanship of the Council of Ministers that oversees the Regional Security System (RSS).
Prime Minister Harris took over the chairmanship with effect from April 1st, 2016 to March 31st, 2017. Dr. Harris succeeds Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Keith Mitchell, who is the Minister of National Security in Grenada.
The Council of Ministers comprises Government Ministers who have responsibility for the national security portfolio in the seven member states of the RSS.
In October 1982, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Barbados to provide mutual assistance upon request. St. Kitts and Nevis signed the MOU in February 1984 and Grenada signed it in January 1985. On March 5th, 1996 in Grenada, the MOU was replaced when the member states signed the treaty establishing the Regional Security System.
The RSS conducts national security research and analyses crime statistics to combat threats such as illicit drugs and arms trafficking. Its Training Institute aims to standardize police training throughout the member states. The RSS Air Wing undertakes counter drug surveillance missions using sensor-fitted aircraft, and the RSS Coast Guard undertakes coordinated patrols to interdict illegal drugs. RSS Land Forces are deployed to member states to assist with hurricane aftermath efforts, large national events such as the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup, states of emergency and other matters of importance to national security.
The Regional Security System benefits from sustained funding by partner countries. The EU gave the RSS a 1.2 million EUR grant for the years 2014 to 2017. The RSS Training Institute was established with funds from the Canadian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. The US has given the RSS and its member states over $30 million to develop security programs since the launch of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative.
An Executive Director, Mr. Grantley Watson, heads up the RSS Headquarters in Barbados, overseeing the day-to-day work and reporting to the Council of Ministers.
The mission statement of the RSS is “to ensure the stability and well-being of Member States through mutual cooperation in order to maximize regional security in preserving the social and economic development of our people” and its motto is “Strength Through Unity.”