As CARICOM Heads of Government begin a regional symposium to address crime and violence as a public health issue in Port of Spain, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, on Monday, 16 April, CARICOM Secretary-General Dr Carla Barnett has said that timely implementation of solutions to address the underlying causes will require human and financial resources, data and research.
In her welcome remarks to Heads of Government and the approximately 100 delegates gathered at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad, Dr Barnett underscored that violence is an epidemic and should be addressed with the same mix of strategies as other epidemics.
“The data and research, along with the financial resources, will allow timely implementation of the root causes of crime and mitigate the devastating effects of crime and violence on our societies,” she emphasized.
She noted that while the decision to host a symposium was previously a national undertaking for the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, the rising crime and violence across the Region affects all Member States, and the decision to extend it to the Region was a welcome one.
Dr the Honourable Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of the twin island republic, is the Lead Head of State with responsibility for Crime and Security and Chair of the symposium.
Over the two days of meeting and discussion, symposium delegates will benefit from the experiences and perspectives of CARICOM Heads of Government and technical experts in crime prevention and public health. They will explore transnational organized crime and the challenges with light weapons and small arms in Latin America and the Caribbean and unpack economic and social perspectives on crime and violence and community approaches to its management.
They will also identify priority actions and an action plan for a public health response.
“We have an ambitious programme of work for the next two days, and I look forward to the recommendations and decisions,” the Secretary-General said.