A top army general in the United States is worried that a few Islamic extremists in the Caribbean could carry out terrorist acts in the region.
Commander of US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) General John Kelly said about 100 Islamic extremists left the Caribbean region to join Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters in the Middle East last year – some of whom were killed – and the number had risen to about 150 this year.
However, his worry is less about the impact those Caribbean nationals have on the ISIS fight overseas and more about what they can do in their homelands.
“I am more concerned particularly now it seems like the Islamic extremists and terrorists have shifted a lot of their message, and that is, ‘hey, rather than come to Syria, why don’t you stay at home and do San Bernardino, or do Boston, or do Fort Hood’,” he said, referring to incidents of terrorist attacks in the US.
“My concern as the SOUTHCOM commander, is . . . even just a few of these, you know, nuts can cause an awful lot of trouble down in the Caribbean because they don’t have an FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation], they don’t have law enforcement like we do. They don’t have TSA [Transportation Security Administration]. They don’t really have the same kinds of things at the airports that we do, in terms of checking the comings and goings of people . . . And many of these countries have very, very small militaries, if they have militaries at all,” Kelly told journalists at a Department of Defense Press Briefing at the Pentagon on Friday.
The army general said the US was therefore trying its best to help those countries, like Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica.
“We work with them and give as much information as we can,” he said.