Anti-gang programmes to be launched in four Caricom states
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Wednesday October 5, 2011 - A pilot project to fight gang violence and other activities is to be rolled out in Belize, Guyana, St. Kitts and Nevis and Trinidad and Tobago.
The first phase of the initiative, called the Social Development and Crime Prevention Action Plan, will focus on youth violence and is being discussed at a meeting that brings together representatives of the four countries.
“It is important to remember that the fight against youth violence and crime must be a concerted one. Success can only be achieved through the active and sustainable participation of all,” said Myrna Bernard, Officer in Charge of the Human and Social Directorate.
She pointed out that the high levels of crime and violence in the Caribbean threaten to undermine all other social and economic gains.
According her, the region has one of the highest levels of youth unemployment and youth crime in the world.
She attributed this to increased narcotics trafficking, secondary trading in guns as a result of the drug trade, school drop-outs, poverty, social inequality, physical and sexual abuse and anger.
While noting that young people comprise 60 percent of the region’s population, Bernard said the youth were best positioned to play a meaningful role in the region’s development and in strengthening of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy.
“It is therefore imperative that we grasp the opportunity which this Action Plan presents to reduce violence among our youth by instituting at all levels, in an integrated manner, the five Pillars of the Plan,” she charged.
Those five pillars are violence reduction, social inclusion, integration, empower victims, and protect the environment and economic resources.
The meeting, which began Tuesday, was organized by the CARICOM Secretariat, the United Nations Development Programme and the Government of Canada.