OAS offical says Caribbean development being undermined

WASHINGTON D.C., United States, October 31, 2007 – Crime and violence in some countries of the Caribbean is posing significant social and economic challenges to the region, a top official of the Organization of American States has said.

Assistant Secretary General of the OAS, Albert R. Ramdin, yesterday told attendees at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, that the high rate of crime and violence in the Caribbean is “undermining growth, threatening human welfare and impeding social development.”

Speaking at a conference on “Crime, Violence and Security in the CARICOM: Creating Community in the Caribbean,” Ramdin highlighted the most challenging causes at the core of the problem as drug trafficking, the emergence of terror networks, and the linkages between criminal gangs and terrorists. He explained that the illegal activities of these criminal organizations are conducive to the high rates of crime and violence in the region.

Crime, he said, must be addressed through greater cooperation and partnerships at a regional and international level. Ramdin underscored the need for a “coordinated regional and international response that transcends national and regional boundaries” and reiterated the OAS’ commitment and efforts to strengthening hemispheric security.

“For the OAS, building peaceful societies and prosperous economies is of critical importance. Security challenges are clearly counterproductive to these objectives,” he said. “Multidimensional security threats require multidimensional, multidisciplinary and innovative responses. I firmly believe that a holistic, integrated approach to security and crime prevention must address development, good governance and the rule of law, as well as crime prevention.”

Ramdin also called for governments to invest more in economic, social, education and prevention policies that can help to combat the challenges of drugs, guns, and gangs, citing for example poverty eradication and youth programs. And he insisted there is a need for the strengthening of law enforcement through increased training and technical assistance.

The OAS ASG also called for greater cooperation in intelligence sharing among member states. “The key to our success in combating security challenges will be to reconcile the relationship between security and development, and to move forward with an integrated, multidimensional approach that emphasizes greater cooperation and partnership to confront challenges,” he added (Hardbeatnews.com)