STRATEGIC OVERVIEW OF THE ACTIVITIES OF THE REGIONAL INTELLIGENCE FUSION CENTRE
The mechanisms for the management of intelligence within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) are integral to the CARICOM's strategic framework for the management of crime and security. The Regional Intelligence structure, a critical part of the regional framework for the management of crime and security, was designed to provide, in the first instance, an environment for standardization, efficacy and seamless sharing throughout the Region. Secondly, the established structure was intended to provide a seamless interface with authorized non-intelligence organs of the Community to facilitate information and intelligence sharing external to the Region and finally, to provide optimum support for the advancement of intelligence led initiatives relating to the management of crime and security across the Region.
Consequently the Regional Intelligence Fusion Centre (RIFC) was established to manage the intelligence environment and to provide intelligence support to Regional and International stakeholders in furtherance of CARICOM's security imperatives.
The CARICOM Intelligence structure was designed to ensure -
(i) timely detection and evaluation of potential or actual threats to individual Member States (or the entire Region); and
(ii) expedient dissemination of intelligence and related security evaluations to the relevant end-users and affected Member States.
The intelligence structure was built, taking into consideration the already existing detection and evaluation mechanisms, within individual Member States and recognized regional entities, namely the Regional Security System (RSS) and the Caribbean Customs and Law Enforcement Council (CCLEC). The regional intelligence structure then expanded into a regional mechanism whereby individual Member States, by virtue of the appropriate sharing environment, would facilitate a direct interface among Member States and recognized regional entities or through the Regional Intelligence Fusion Centre (RIFC). Currently the RIFC has an established relationship with the Members and Associate Members States of CARICOM. The contributing countries are as follows:
o Antigua and Barbuda
o St Kitts and Nevis
o St Lucia
o St Vincent and the Grenadines
o Trinidad and Tobago
Associate Member States
o Cayman Islands
o British Virgin Islands (BVI)
o Turks and Caicos
The intelligence architecture also provides for the collection and dissemination of intelligence and information between the Region and authorized non-CARICOM intelligence entities through the Regional Point of Contact (RPC), the Director of the Regional Intelligence Fusion Centre (RIFC). As part of the Fusion Centre's sensitization drive, it has established standing relationships with non Caribbean partners. This has been done mainly through liaison officers as a result of the Centre's Major Event support role. These established partnerships are ongoing and productive. These partners include:
o Aruba – standing relationship with the central intelligence coordinating agency.
o Canada – standing relationship with Regional Security Officer.
o United States of America (USA) – standing relationship with local Embassy, Office of Regional Affairs representative.
LEVELS OF PARTNERSHIP
The inter-regional partnerships at the Centre are founded on solid principles which have been defined and adopted by CARICOM Member and Associate Member States as evidenced by the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Intelligence Sharing among CARICOM Member States. The existing relationships among Member States functions within the parameters of the MOU and can be further enhanced by a supplemental infusion of capacity/ capability building measures, geared at professionalising the Region's intelligence architecture.
The response from international partners to collaborate with the Regional Intelligence Fusion Centre has been exploratory and evaluative. This approach appears to be consistent with an attempt to determine whether policies, standards and procedures at the Centre are in accordance with international best practices. Visits to the Centre by several international partners have elicited enthusiastic reviews and tentative commitments which have yet to be formalised. Currently there are no formal agreements between any international partners and the Centre.
Major Event Liaison Officers
During Major Events hosted by the Region, regional and international intelligence Liaison Officers (LOs) have been accommodated at the RIFC. These officers represented a single point of contact (POC) from which information and intelligence was transmitted or received from the countries participating in the Major Event. The LOs also facilitated the transfer of information and intelligence to and from their officials and their representative States. Based on these partnerships during the hosting of a Major Event, there have been some informal and formal attempts to formalize relationships on Intelligence Sharing and Technical Cooperation by countries that were represented at the Centre.
Through the efforts of the Caribbean Community and Interpol, the Secretaries General of CARICOM and Interpol signed a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate cooperation and sharing between the Region and Interpol by means of an interface which has been established at the Joint Regional Communications Centre (JRCC). This partnership represents the single most important relationship that facilitates the CARICOM Border Security Process and has ensured adequate security checks for all Major Events. Interpol continues to offer assistance with training and seminars to enhance the efficiency of the Centre. The partnership is slated to extend well into the future, although the scope of the relationship may be somewhat modified.
o Establishment of a formal relationship with the American Public University (APU) with reference to the provision of access to online academic courses in intelligence and security;
o Establishment of a formal relationship with JIATF-S to allow access to information and intelligence related to the Caribbean in the following threat areas:
-Cyber security incidents
Formalisation of an exchange of Watchlist data of persons of interest (POI) in particular threat areas with participating countries of the CHOGM 09.
- Establishment of closer links with the local Embassy representatives of the Office of Regional Affairs, DEA and the FBI.
o Review, update and expansion of the existing framework for the management and coordination of intelligence in the Region.
o Development of a Caribbean model to improve intelligence and information sharing in the Region.
o Creation of an intelligence sharing environment (ISE) supported by legislation, oversight, technology and policies and standards consistent with international best practices.
o Formalisation of an exchange program in intelligence with JIATF-S.