The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago hosted an Opening Ceremony for the Regional Symposium addressing Crime and Violence as a Public Health Issue at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad, Port of Spain on 17th April, 2023.
Under the theme, ‘Violence as a Public Health Issue – The Crime Challenge’, this two-day symposium aimed at promoting dialogue and mobilising regional action for violence reduction and crime prevention will see several CARICOM Heads of Government participating and presenting on the various experiences, with a view to identifying solutions.
The Ceremony featured welcome remarks from CARICOM Secretary-General Dr Carla Barnett, who underscored that strategies to address the crime epidemic as a public health issue require data, research, and human and financial resources.
Dr. the Honourable Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago and Lead Head with responsibility for Energy and Security, welcomed all Heads of Government, Government Ministers and Regional Stakeholders to the historic Symposium, which he said unites and integrates Caribbean Leaders for a common purpose.
The Prime Minister discussed some of the benefits of the symposium to the CARICOM community’s approach to addressing crime. He focused on gun violence which has accounted for several of the country’s crime statistics, and indicated that there was a need for persons reclaim morals and values. He called for consensus by his Caribbean counterparts to give the Caribbean the assurance that crime could be confronted using a public health approach.
The Honourable Philip Davis, Prime Minister of The Bahamas and Chair of CARICOM, also underscored the objectives of the Regional Symposium. He highlighted CARICOM’s deep concern about the unprecedented levels of crime and noted that Heads of Government have resolved to increase focus on the determinants of crime by taking a public health approach, which would first identify the causal factors and preventions where possible, followed by interventions.
The Ceremony also featured a cultural presentation from Malick and Shiv Shakti Dancers.
Topics to be discussed over the two days include Violence and Health in the Region; Crime and Violence: A Public Health Approach; Mental Health; Transnational Organised Crime; Using Litigation to Protect Gun Violence – Global Action on Gun Violence; Trans-Border Crime; Education and Youth, Domestic Violence; Economic Inequalities as the Driver of Crime and Violence; Community approaches- Restorative Justice; Sports and Mediation; and the Judicial Perspective- Legislation and Juvenile Justice Reform.
It is anticipated that at the end of the Symposium, the key recommendations emerging from the discussions on the common social, economic and judicial issues of crime will inform the development of an Action Plan with regional and national-led strategies for implementation and routine monitoring by the CARICOM Secretariat and Member States.
Interested persons are able to participate by logging on to TTT online, the Symposium website: safecaribbean.caricom.org or via the CARICOM social media platforms.