Minister Marvin Dames, Minister of National Security, is attending the XIII (13th) Conference of Defense Ministers of The Americas (CDMA) in Cancun, Mexico from 7th – 10thOctober, 2018. The CDMA was formed in 1995 and it is comprised of 34 Member States inclusive of countries in North America, the Caribbean, and Latin America. The CDMA is an international hemispheric multilateral political forum directed and integrated by the respective Defense Ministers of the Americas along with the respective leaders of their security forces.
Formed in 1995 the CDMA seeks to promote mutual knowledge and exchange of ideas at the Ministerial level in the scope of hemispheric defense and security. The Americas and the Caribbean are inextricable bound and this hemispheric body which meets every two years has brought together Ministers of Defense to address the constantly evolving and increasingly complex nature of safety and security. In this 21st century, it is extremely important for security forces to engage in structured dialogue so as to better understand the diverse and multifaceted safety and security challenges on individual countries and the region, collectively. The main objective is to develop feasible and effective national and regional strategies. There are six principles which govern CDMA and they are inclusive of Member States preserving democracy as the basis for ensuring mutual security in the hemisphere; acknowledging that the military and security forces play a critical role in supporting and defending the legitimate interests of sovereign democratic states; affirming the commitments of Member States that their respective armed forces will be subordinate to democratically controlled authority; increasing transparency in defense matters through exchanges of information and greater civilian-military dialogue; resolving hemispheric disputes by negotiated settlements and widespread adoption of confidence-building measures; and promoting greater defense cooperation in support of voluntary participation in the UN- peacekeeping operations and the fight against narco-terrorism.
This year’s conference focused on five issues which Minister Dames addressed during his presentation. The Minister reaffirmed The Bahamas’ commitment to hemispheric defense and security cooperation. He noted the recent Trade-Winds 2018 Military Exercise in The Bahamas, in which the Mexican Military and other regional security forces participated. As for emergency humanitarian assistance and search and rescue, the Minister highlighted the Royal Bahamas Defence Force’s mission to Dominica after last year’s hurricane. Further, he added that The Bahamas will provide assistance to Haiti after the recent earthquake. On the issue of girls and women, Minister Dames stated that The Bahamas has begun to broaden the training of its law enforcement agencies to focus on the vulnerable complexities facing women locally, regionally and hemispherically. He alluded that the country firmly believes that women enlarge the scope of safety and security to include the broader set of critical societal priorities and needs required not only for lasting peace but for mutual respect.
On the issues of environmental conservation, the Minister stated that the Royal Bahamas Defence Force has expanded its role with a focus on environmental conservation by partnering with local government and non-governmental agencies to promote sustainable conservation and build capacity within the agency so as to sustain the terrestrial and marine flora and fauna of The Bahamas. The Minister concluded by stating that over the past several years countries of the Americas and Caribbean, both big and small, have come together in new ways – diplomatically, economically, intelligence, politically, and militarily both unilaterally and multilaterally and the partnerships they have built among their defense establishments will be the continued foundation of shared safety and security for the hemisphere.