Attorney General to return to Caribbean

Outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder speaks at the Voting Rights Brain Trust event, in Washington Friday, Sept. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)
Associated Press / Molly Riley

Eric Holder will soon be resigning from his office as the first African American attorney general of the United States, but he is working to ensure he has one last high-level meeting with Caribbean Community officials before doing so in the coming weeks.

Holder and attorneys general from across the regional trade bloc of nations scheduled a formal session with colleagues on Wednesday in idyllic Barbados.

Officials from both sides say that the Obama Administration through Holder is ensuring that the Caribbean is on the same page with the U.S. in regards to international and hemispheric security.

This of course would include a protracted discussion on the threats from the Islamic State group and concerns that it could be spreading its tentacles to the small and vulnerable mostly island nations in the region.

This is especially so because authorities in Trinidad have already confirmed that some of its able-bodied citizens have left the island to fight alongside Islamic State gunmen in Syria and Iraq. Police across the Caribbean and American intelligence operatives are known to be keeping an eye out for youths from other states who might harbor similar ambitions.

Officials also suggest that Holder will likely continue talks on dealing with crime and security in the region that he had originally 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 the existing security situation and the role the region could play in fighting international terrorism, narcotics trafficking, and other forms of cross border crimes.

Guyanese Attorney General Anil Nandlall, who has been embroiled in a scandal linked to violent threats he made against a Guyanese newspaper recently, said the session will 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 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 crimes, including go-fast patrol vessels, high powered radio communication sets, and other equipment.

Holder arrived in the 166-square mile island, the most easterly in the Caribbean island chain, on Monday for meetings with Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and Attorney Governor 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 on Wednesday.

The latest trip to the region is his second since May 2009 when he combined it with a brief vacation and fraternal contacts with the land of his father who was born in Barbados. His mother’s grandparents were immigrants from the island of about 300,000 as well.

In September, he announced that he was demitting office after six years in Washington, loyally serving as President Obama’s chief and trusted legal adviser.

In the meantime, Obama has nominated another African American to replace Holder.

Loretta Lynch, a U.S. attorney from New York, will have to win approval from the Senate to takes up the position.

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