May 28, 2010
UNDOC joins Government to fight terrorism and its financing

Members of the legal fraternity, law enforcement and other security agencies were involved this week in a four-day workshop on the fight against terrorism and its financing.{{more}}

The workshop was a joint effort by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNDOC) and the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It also aims at outlining a legal framework and mechanism of international cooperation.

An opening ceremony was held on May 25 the Sunset Shores Hotel, the venue of the workshop.

Hernan Longo, representative from the UNDOC, said prior to the events of September 11, 2001, there was not much of an understanding of terrorism and September 11 forced people to realize that there were no boundaries to its effects. He said not only were human lives lost in terrorist attacks but it also had devastating economic effects on countries.

Longo said the best way to fight terrorism was to work towards preventing it.

National Security Advisor to the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sir Vincent Beache, in his keynote address, said this country was not exempt from the effects of terrorism.

Sir Vincent said the workshop was being held at an “opportune” time and he looked forward to the outcome which would assist with improving the legal framework with crime prevention and also assist with augmenting the justice system.

“Any legal system is only as good as the people administer the system”.

He said within “our” system there was corruption. “We know this we may not be able to go to court to prove it,” he stated. He also said he could not disclose any further information to justify his statement but noted that corruption was within the police, prison and other areas.

“We need to look at this,” he said.

Sir Vincent said there was a problem with the level of sentencing in this country. “It is a dynamic situation,” he told those in attending the short ceremony.

According to the former Minister of National Security, there was a disparity between the sentences handed down in similar cases among distinct magistrates. He said the issue had gotten to the point where criminals were trying to seek certain magistrates to handle a case they had before the court.

“I think we need to look at this,” he advised. He said action should be taken to arrive at some sort of “quality sentencing that could be more or less even throughout.”(API)