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2013 Press Releases

Remarks by C. Pat Alsup, Deputy Chief of Mission for West Africa Regional Training Center 
First Training.

Friday, February, 1, 2013

Good afternoon everyone.  My name is Pat Alsup, and I am the Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy here in Accra.  I am so pleased to be here today on behalf of the US Government as we mark the establishment of the West Africa Regional Training Center and to congratulate its first crop of students on their successful completion of the training program.

The Regional Training Center embodies the shared bond between the Governments of Ghana and the United States and symbolizes our commitment to meet the many challenges of our day. 

The transnational nature of organized crime and drug trafficking requires countries to work together to address the threat.  Whether we are talking about terrorism, the trafficking of humans, drugs, or contraband, money laundering, intellectual property theft, or fraud, transnational criminal organizations threaten all of our interests by weakening democratic institutions and unraveling the social fabric of all economies.    

As threats to peace and stability continue to be on the rise in West Africa, the US government welcomes the opportunity to work with our partners in the region on capacity building and knowledge transfer.  In November of 2011, the US government created the West Africa Cooperative Security Initiative (WACSI).  This strategy takes a whole-of-government approach to increasing global security and is built upon 5 pillars:

  • build accountable institutions
  • establish legal and policy frameworks
  • strengthen security operations
  • reinforce justice operations, and finally
  • address the socio/economic causes and consequences of transnational organized crime in the region

The partnership we’ve established between Ghana and the U.S. to establish this training facility is a key manifestation of this goal.

The United States and the rest of the world rely on Ghana and its neighbors to collaborate and avoid to becoming a fertile ground for transnational organized crime to flourish.  Therefore, we are looking forward to many more iterations of trainings, exchanges, and discussions with stakeholders from throughout West Africa on such vital topics as what you’ve just covered.

As many of you know, the groundwork for a formal training facility began in November 2011 with the Mobile Training Teams that operated out of the African Regent Hotel.  Several of you are graduates of those courses.    Since that time, we have seen over 100 participants trained. The completion of this first set of courses at the Center culminates a lot of hard work and anticipation. 

I understand that you all have had a very productive two weeks here.  You’ve enjoyed interactive discussions and role playing, and even had the chance to network over a game of football.  You come from all across Ghana and span several different law enforcement agencies. I understand that there are also a few prosecutors present, which is important for fostering better interagency cooperation.

To this esteemed group, I sincerely hope that you found value in these past two weeks at the Center and that you will share what you have gained with your peers, leaders, and subordinates in your respective organizations. 

We welcome any feedback you might have to improve the effectiveness of the Center.  It is, of course, a work in progress.  Once we have worked out all of the kinks and have all partners and staff onboard, we look forward to hosting a larger grand opening later this year.