St. Kitts and Nevis’ Honorary Consul to Belgium Mehmet Aykut Eken

Staff writer

With the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS), information sharing by world leaders and their counterparts in the Caribbean has been a complicated issue, said St. Kitts and Nevis Honorary Consul to Switzerland Steven Goldstein.

Mr. Goldstein gave a negative response to a question posted at a news conference Monday, April 4, dealing with information sharing with the Federation and other Caribbean nations.

Goldstein noted because the sharing is complicated, neighbouring countries in Europe are not in a position to resolve the problems easily.  He said there will be information sharing with the United States after all channels are exhausted and then it may flow down to Caribbean nations.

The Caribbean is rapidly becoming a hotspot for European vacationers, Goldstein said. He added that there could be plans by ISIS to destabilize tourism in the region.

The consul declared, ”For years, people have been traveling to countries like North Africa because it was cheap and has sunshine and the things that they could not get. So what the terrorists were doing is they were trying to destroy the tourism business.   I have no proof but I believe it is something that once we start developing strong European tourism in areas like St. Kitts and Nevis or other countries in the Caribbean, there might be some interest to create harm.’

He made his remarks after several transport hubs in Brussels, capital of Belgium, were devastated by suicide bombers. The European Union Headquarters is housed in Brussels along with that of NATO.

Belgium’s main airport, Brussels-National, was first hit by bomb blasts that resulted in 30 deaths and over 200 injured.  A second terrorist took place against the underground subway system that left several dead and 130 hurt.  ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks. Following the bombings, the heads of intelligence agencies in Europe began sharing information. However, St. Kitts and Nevis Honorary Consul to Belgium Mehmet Aykut Eken said information sharing is not as easy as it looks. He said information relation is low in Europe and may pose some problems.

He expressed confidence that some information is being shared between the Federation and Belgium.  Last year, information surfaced that several people from Trinidad and Tobago had joined the international terrorist organization. Information was released that around 30 people had left those islands to join ISIS.

Trinidad and Tobago’s National Security Minister Gary Griffith told news outlet Newsday that he was concerned over what is being done to ensure that the country is not plagued by terrorist recruitment.