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Secretary graces Signature Seminar of Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies

Secretary graces Signature Seminar of Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies

[July 12 2018]

 

The Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Mr. Kapila Waidyaratne PC was the Chief Guest at the third Signature Seminar 2018 organized by the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies (BCIS) at the centre's auditorium at the BMICH, today (12).

The Secretary was received by the Director of the BCIS, Dr. Harindra Vidanage upon his arrival at the venue.

The seminar, themed "Transnational Organized Crime in Sri Lanka: Dark Side of the Hub" is held with the objective to discuss and disseminate knowledge on the impact of Transnational Organized Crime (TOC) in Sri Lanka as the country develops as a maritime hub. The one day seminar will see thematic discussions being made on "Law enforcement challenges in confronting TOC", "Cybercrimes in Sri Lanka", Importance of effecting maritime strategy for deterring TOC", and " Australia's experience in mitigating TOC".

Making the keynote address on "National Security Implications of TOC", Secretary Waidyaratne said that, around the world organized crime has changed strategic doctrines and threat assessments. There is a lack of information on transnational criminal markets and trends. And without a global perspective there cannot be evidence-based policy effectively addressing the issue. He stressed the necessity to understand and grasp the narratives of TOC before laying down action.

He said, TOC not only threaten peace and human security, but on a larger scale undermine the economic, social, cultural, political and civil assembly of societies around the world. The vast sums of money involved can compromise legitimate economies and have a direct impact on governance, such as through corruption and the manipulation of elections.

The irony of TOC is that major illicit trade routes emanate from major economies meaning that world's biggest trading partners are also the world's biggest markets for illicit goods and services. This not only reflects the correlation between TOC and global trade, but also the lack of regulatory and legal mechanisms to address the issue adequately, he further elaborated. The Secretary also said that, over the years, the nature and landscape of the TOC has evolved.

He noted that Transnational Organized Crime (TOC) brings forward a serious and growing threat not only to national, but also international security. While the origins of illicit TOC trade flows emanate from developed countries, its effects are mostly penetrated to the developing and conflict-ridden countries, due to its weak rule of law and state institutions.

He said that, ties between TOC cartels, government institutions and high-end business typhoons represent a significant threat to the economic growth and democratic institutions. It is estimated by The World Bank that about $1 trillion is spent each year to bribe public officials, causing economic distortion and damage to legitimate economic activity, he reveled.

Further speaking he said that the role of intermediate facilitators cannot be exempted. Semi legitimate players such as accountants, attorneys, bankers and real estate brokers who link the legit illicit spectrum of the trade providing services to customers, providers, criminals and terrorists alike. Organized crime groups also work with local criminals, leading to increased rates of corruption, extortion, racketeering, violence and other sophisticated crimes at the domestic level.

UNTOC acts as the main legal framework laid down to address TOC. However successful combat of TOC, requires partnerships at all levels. Governments, businesses, civil society, international organizations and people in all corners of the world have a part to play, he added.

He underlined some aspects critical in fighting TOC as coordination, awareness, intelligence, technology and capacity building.

In conclusion he said that, transnational crime will continue to grow until the paradigm of high profits and low risks are challenged. Tackling organized crime should emanate not only internationally, but locally as well. It is imperative that corrective measures that address the inception of these crimes should be addressed than preventive measures post criminal activity. Advancing corrective measures must address the smallest link in the transnational crime web, the consumer, who has the capacity to breakdown this engulfing web of TOC.

Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ravinrda C Wijegunaratne, Mr. Palitha Fernando PC, Senior DIG MR Latiff, Mr. Rohan Palliyaguru, Home Affairs Minister Counsellor/Regional Director, Australia Mr. Scott Matheson, senior tri forces officers and invitees were also present at the occasion.

     

 

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