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Rep. Clarke Encourages Coordination With Carribean Governments

Caribbean on homeland security, immigration and fostering a symbiotic relationship that treats our neighbors in our hemisphere as partners to secure the region.  The following is her statement:


“I want to acknowledge the superb work done by the U.S. Attorney’s office, FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the State of New York, the New York Police Department and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.  


The coordination that resulted in Saturday’s arrests exemplifies the type of the cooperation we need to ensure that Americans remain safe. As a member of the Homeland Security Committee in the House of Representatives, this is exactly type of effort, best practices that we are working to make the protocol for combating terrorism throughout our nation.

Although federal and local law enforcement agencies were able to prevent this attack and many other attacks on our nation, the future will bring more attempts to harm the people of New York.


I would like to applaud the efforts of Commissioner Kelly, the NYPD and the Terrorism Taskforce.  Also, I would like to commend U.S. Attorney Roselynn Mauskopf, Mark Mershon of the Federal Bureau of Investigations and other federal and local officials that thwarted this unconscionable plot. 


The financial support that New York City (NYC) has received since 9/11 is far too insufficient to protect our city from the threat of terrorism. It is clearer today, than ever before, that NYC is the #1 target in this nation. 


Unfortunately, the 9/11 Commission bill passed by the Senate would allocate only 0.45% of all anti-terrorism based security funding to every state, including those with no serious risk or threat.  This will waste millions of dollars that should go to protect New York and other major cities.  All security funding must be risk-based.

The apprehension of Russell DeFreitas, Abdul Kadir and their cohorts represents coordination of resources and good police work. 


The actions of these four individuals were just that-the actions of individuals, an isolated cell.  It is vital that our government agencies and all of us as Americans do not use this event as an excuse to discriminate against or profile people of Guyanese ancestry, Trinidadian ancestry or people from the Caribbean. 


There are over 1.3 million Guyanese-Americans and 170,000 Trinidadian-Americans currently living in the U.S., who have always been and continue to be honest, hardworking contributors to the building of this nation and cares deeply about the safety of America.

This incident has brought into perspective an imperative we have to address in our efforts to secure our homeland.  The U.S. must work collaboratively and partner with its allies in the Caribbean region.  The governments of Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago are willing to play a significant and substantially important role in preventing future plots and or attacks on our nation. 


In my most recent Congressional Delegation to the region with Chairman Engel of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, the issue of security was on the front burner during most of our meetings with regional leaders.


In anticipation to the meeting with CARICOM leaders later this month, it is imperative that the administration sit with these Caribbean leaders to develop a real strategy to address security of the region.


I would like to recognize the Government of Trinidad and Tobago whose local security forces have been co-operating with and assisting the US authorities for some considerable time now, in the exchange of information on sensitive matters of security in Trinidad and Tobago and the region. 


My office has reached out to establish a dialogue between both embassies and permanent counsels’ offices.  The U.S. must work with its allies to fight homegrown terrorism and terrorism in other countries.  The governments of Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago both can play an important role in preventing future attacks.

I am introducing a resolution that calls on the U.S. to support the development of programs that would reduce crime and strengthen the economy of our Caribbean neighbors.  Crime rates are higher in the Caribbean region than anywhere else in the world.  By working together and taking decisive steps now, we can make the entire Hemisphere stronger and safer.

The Government of Trinidad and Tobago condemns in the strongest possible terms, any contemplated acts of terrorism in any country and continues to iterate its support for the efforts of the Government of the United States and all other countries in apprehending persons suspected of such dastardly acts and bringing them to justice.


I look forward to working with Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson to engage representatives of the U.S. and Caribbean governments to discuss ways to strategically address these pertinent issues in a manner that prevents any diverse impact on the law abiding Caribbean Americans that are an essential and vibrant part of our community.”


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