September 7th, 2007 02:39 EST
Antigua and Barbuda Minister signs debt-rescheduling agreement with INTERPOL
LYON, France – Antigua and Barbuda today signed an agreement to repay its outstanding debts to INTERPOL thereby reinstating its full rights as a member country with the organization.
Antigua and Barbuda was in breach of Article 52 of INTERPOL’s constitution through non-payment of its statutory contributions since 2001, which resulted in the withdrawal of a number of privileges as a member country such as the right to vote at General Assemblies, elect Executive Committee members, second police officials to INTERPOL and host INTERPOL conferences or police training meetings.
The debt re-scheduling agreement entered into by Minister of Justice and Public Safety Colin V.A. Derrick commits Antigua and Barbuda to repay the EUR 100,060 (363,089 East Caribbean Dollars) owed in 10 equal annual instalments, with the first to be made before 1 November, 2007 and means that the country can once again fully participate in the decision-making process of INTERPOL.
'I am pleased that Antigua and Barbuda and INTERPOL have reached this agreement which will be of great mutual benefit,' said Minister Derrick.
'It is very important that Antigua and Barbuda fully participates in every aspect of INTERPOL’s activities if we are to ensure the safety and security both of our citizens and the many people who visit our country'” added the Minister.
INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said; 'Antigua and Barbuda demonstrated its willingness and ability to co-operate fully and effectively with INTERPOL and its other international police partners during the 2007 Cricket World Cup, and we are very pleased to see that momentum carried forward by Minister Derrick’s commitment to ensure that Antigua and Barbuda is now once again fully integrated into INTERPOL’s 186-member country police network.
'We realise that not all of our member countries are rich and that governments must prioritise the distribution of funds, but there can be no higher priority than the safety and security of their society,'
Under a system adopted by the General Assembly in 2001, each INTERPOL member country must make a compulsory annual statutory contribution calculated on the basis of their ability to pay.
'While we implemented a fairer system of statutory contributions in order to assist this process, INTERPOL is still woefully under-funded for the unique services it can provide and governments worldwide need to recognise that this situation needs to be remedied if we are to work effectively together in combating transnational crime and terrorism,' added Mr Noble.