Over 100 persons from across the Caribbean gathered Monday at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre in an attempt to address youth crime and violence in Caricom countries.
Under the theme, “Youth Crime and Violence – Breaking the Cycle: Exploring New Platforms for Transformation” the mission of the consultation was to derive strategies for the reduction of youth crime and violence through discussions of what are the challenges promoting youth crime.
Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan during his remarks to the gathering
In the aim to accelerate the fight to eliminate these youth-based crimes, the project originated from a two-year Caricom/Spain project funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
The two-day forum designed specifically for schools in some Caribbean countries, will focus specifically on four aspects that surround crime among youths in today’s society that have been putting pressure on individual countries.
Under the broad heading Violence Against Children, Gender Based Violence, School Violence and Youth Gangs and Violence, the stakeholders will be engaged in discussions on what can be done to break the cycle, while crafting effective platforms that would promote transformations into the global challenge.
Speaking to those gathered, Deputy Secretary General of Caricom Manorma Soeknandan said the forum is seeking to prepare young people to live productive and safe lives while contributing to the further development of the region.
She noted that subsequent to the report of the Caricom Commission on Youth Development (CCYD) which was presented to the Heads of Government in January 2010, the severity of youth crime was evidently visible, with it coming in as the number one concern in relation to youths.
Through this, it was made clear that something needed to be done urgently to safeguard the future of youths and achieve social cohesion, economic resilience and integration.
Soeknandan underlined the core value of adults having a continuous role in averting crime, and the burden should not be shifted on to the shoulders of youths only.
Basing on necessary actions that need to be taken in order to curb the levels, Soeknandan added that “sound partnerships and approaches which are multi-sectoral in nature” would be crucial in attempting to dissolve the global challenge.
Also addressing the gathering was Guyana’s Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan who brought out the point that a culture that makes youths assets instead of liabilities should be the focus in regards to decreasing the levels of crimes evidently present in Caribbean countries.
He noted that there definitely is a need for juvenile reforms in such a dark time, and as such called for legislation to be passed on implementing this.
At the end of the forum, the relevant bodies are anticipating that the actions implemented, both at the policy and operational levels, will work together to prevent youth violence and restore communities to one where peach reigns and factors are in place to promote the growth and productivity of every citizen, especially youths.