Bridgetown Barbados Country Office
NOV 1 -- BRIDGETOWN, Barbados - The Bridgetown Country Office (BCO), DEA Headquarters Financial Operations Section, in conjunction with the Narcotic Affairs Section, American Embassy Bridgetown hosted the 1st Annual Meeting of the Eastern Caribbean Financial Intelligence and Investigative Units (FIU’s) in Antigua, West Indies, during October 19-20, 2004. The two day meeting was attended by members of the Financial Intelligence Units from the islands of Antigua, Barbados, St Lucia, St Vincent, Grenada, Dominica, and St Kitts and Nevis. The aforementioned islands comprise the present Area of Responsibility (AOR) of the BCO. This meeting is the result of the Caribbean Division and the BCO continued efforts to implement DEA Administrator Karen Tandy’s vision for the 21st century of effectively dismantling Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO) by effectively disrupting their financial capabilities trough financial, money laundering and asset removal investigations.
The purpose of the meeting was to bring together the respective FIU’s in the BCO AOR, to discuss a serious, broad-based prosecution and law enforcement modernization effort, discuss and begin a relationship in the region to develop significant defenses against DTO's, as well as terrorist organizations, money launderers and other international and regional criminals and criminal groups. The training offered focused primarily on financial investigations (to include drugs, terrorism and its connection to drug trafficking, national security, corruption, legal matters (Caribbean and the United States), and each islands Drug Squads role as it related to drug trafficking. The primary goal of the meeting was to promote regional cooperation among managers and personnel of drug law enforcement units who have the responsibility of conducting criminal investigations and collecting intelligence on major trafficking organizations operating in the region.
During this two (2) day training seminar, the participants held an introductory session, which allowed each island FIU to summarize their units function and outstanding accomplishments, since their inception. A question and answer segment followed, so each participant could follow-through on the specific needs of their FIU. This particular segment was very enlightening for the participants, as it allowed each to speak out specifically on the past failures, the strengths and weaknesses of their Units and what future goals could enhance each respective FIU. The participants isolated their goals and concluded, that coming together on a regular basis to learn new financial investigative techniques, working together in a more cohesive nature, sharing and passing intelligence amongst each FIU and the prospective nations of the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States, was the one element lacking in their units past. The participants gave high marks on the training received and looked forward to more joint cases and sharing of information in future investigations.