Crime and Violence Taking Heavy Toll on Region, Says CARICOM SG

CARICOM Secretary General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Wednesday February 28, 2018
– Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Ambassador Irwin LaRocque has called on the regional grouping to counteract the threat of crime and violence which are taking a physical, social and psychological toll on the region.

And he has suggested revisiting the CARICOM Crime and Security Strategy (CCSS) signed five years ago to identify areas for improvement in order to make it more effective.

Speaking at the just ended 29th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government in Haiti’s capital, LaRocque said that in the same way regional countries pool their resources and strategize to combat the damaging effects of climate change, they need to also do so to counteract the effects of crime and violence.

He pointed to the toll on societies through loss of lives, injuries and psychological trauma and observed that the greatest impact was on families.

“It is within that circle that the battle against the scourge must begin,” he said.

In addition to calling for a review of the CCSS, the Secretary-General pointed to a number of legal instruments which he said were significant additions to CARICOM’s armoury against trans-border crime. He singled out the CARICOM Arrest Warrant Treaty and the Agreement on the Return or Sharing of Recovered Assets, and stated that he looked forward to the Treaty being ratified as soon as possible and to the completion of the negotiations for the Agreement.

The CARICOM Arrest Warrant Treaty simplifies the procedure of returning fugitives to the country where charges have been laid, while the Agreement on the Return or Sharing of Recovered Assets provides a framework for the return or sharing of criminal assets which have been moved to another jurisdiction.

LaRocque said the region was also working on a regional counter-terrorism strategy, noting that “an act of terrorism or violent extremism in one member state will resonate and have repercussions through our region”.

At the end of the two-day meeting which ended yesterday, it was disclosed that leaders had adopted the strategy and agreed to table legislation in their Parliaments by July 4, to support the strategy.

The regional counter-terrorism strategy was developed by the Trinidad-based Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) which, in consultation with its stakeholders and regional and international partners, will review the document biennially to consider updating it to respond to the evolving terrorism landscape.

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