Arrest Warrant Treaty for discussion at Caricom Heads of Govt meeting


first_imgAs regional players gather for the 39th Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) Conference commencing Wednesday in Montego Bay, Jamaica, tackling crime is expected to be the topic of interest.Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew HolnessForeign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge, in a recent interview told Guyana Times, that the Caricom Arrest Warrant Treaty would come up for discussion, among other issues that Caricom leaders have been “ironing out”.The Treaty was signed by Member States at the 38th Regular Meeting of Heads of State in July 2017 in Grenada. However, up to May of this year, Guyana was only one of three signatories to ratify the Caricom Arrest Warrant Treaty. It is expected that more countries will operationalise the regional agreement, which will impact upon how Member States send and receive persons accused of committing crimes in their countries.The 39th Regular Meeting will be held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre July 4-6 under the watch of Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who is currently serving as Caricom Chairman. Guyana’s Foreign Affairs Minister also revealed that the meeting will also be graced with the presence of Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel and Chilean President Sebastián Piñera.When Guyana ratified the Treaty earlier this year, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon had explained that the objective of the Treaty was to establish within the Caribbean Community a system of arrest and surrender of requested persons in the pursuit of criminal prosecutions. He noted that it would be applicable for offences or executing custodial sentences where persons have fled from justice after being convicted or sentenced in another jurisdiction.The Treaty required three signatures to bring it into force and Barbados and The Bahamas were the other two signatories. The Caricom Arrest Warrant Treaty simplifies the procedure of returning fugitives to the country where charges have been laid. In addition, it also removes the complexity, costs and potential for delay in the extradition procedures between and among some Member States, creating a more efficient system.In recent times, two high-profile cases involving Guyana and the United States showed the need for clear guidelines regarding the extradition of suspected criminals. The first is the infamous case of US businessman and philanthropist Marcus Bisram, who is fighting extradition to answer to a charge of murdering a Berbice carpenter in November 2016 who allegedly rebuffed his sexual advances. There is also the case of Troy Thomas, who fled here after being wanted in connection with a Richmond Hill, Queens, New York murder that occurred in December 2011.As Caricom countries continue to implement measures to address such matters, both Bisram and Thomas remain incarcerated as they continue to fight extradition on two sides of the Atlantic. (Shemuel Fanfair)last_img

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