Outgoing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was scheduled to meet with his colleagues from the Caribbean trade bloc in idyllic Barbados Wednesday of this week to discuss security and other issues, officials said.
Officials from both Holder’s delegation and the Caribbean Community (Caricom) were surprisingly tight-lipped about the agenda of the meeting, but a spokesperson for the bloc said that Holder will likely continue talks on dealing with crime and security in the region that he had initially held with heads of government at their mid-year summit in Haiti in March of last year.
At that forum in Port‑au‑Prince, the two sides had examined in detail the existing security situation and the role the region could play in fighting international terrorism, narcotrafficking and other forms of cross-border crime.
Guyanese Attorney General Anil Nandlall said that U.S. authorities have so far not released the agenda for the meeting, but it will most likely deal with security topics and possible legal support from the U.S. for the region’s fight against trans-border crimes.
The Obama administration has in recent years set aside nearly $300 million for the region under the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative. Under the program, some of the participating countries have received vital equipment to help them improve their institutional capacity to deal with organized crime, including go-fast patrol vessels, high-powered radio communication sets and other equipment.
Holder arrived in Barbados, the most easterly in the Caribbean island chain, Monday for meetings with Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite and other officials.
A session with legislators from both the elected lower house of parliament and the senate is also scheduled before the parley with regional attorneys’ general Wednesday.
This latest trip to the region is Holder’s second since May 2009, when he combined it with a brief vacation in which he made fraternal contacts in the land of his father, who was born in Barbados. His mother’s grandparents were immigrants from the island as well.
In September, Holder announced that he was leaving office after six years in Washington as President Barack Obama’s chief law enforcement officer.
Obama has nominated another African-American to replace Holder as attorney general. Loretta Lynch, a U.S. attorney from New York, will have to win approval from the U.S. Senate to take the position.