CARICOM Chairman, Bahamas Prime Minister, Phillip Davis KC in his opening remarks at the CARICOM Crime Conference in Trinidad is urging for more help for young males in the Caribbean who are vulnerable to becoming perpetrators or victims of crime.
“An epidemic of violence grips our region, one that claims lives and generates fear and anger.”
Saying that millions of people throughout the region’s crime hotspots, can become victims at any given time and he himself had to bring comfort to some families who have lost their sons and daughters to crime.
“Violence spreads like a virus, gaining momentum as one violent crime begets another. Violence is contagious and those who map the commission of violent crimes find that their data mirrors the spread of infectious diseases within a community. Violence can strike in waves and grow exponentially. Those who come in close contact with violence are most likely to spread it and most likely to fall victim to it,”
“As we would with any public health crisis, we must define and monitor the problems, identify the risks and protective factors,and develop mitigation and prevention strategies to halt the epidemic,” he added.
He said resources are needed to be mobilized with the same determination as to fighting any other life-threatening epidemic as families are broken by grief and loss and communities are threatened.
He said the battle was a complex tangle of social, economic and environmental factors. And it is not merely a policing or legislative problem, while better laws and expanded police capacity are important elements, they need all hands on deck. Parents, social workers, educators, rehabilitation specialists, social scientists, community workers and activists, mental health professionals, religious leaders, and all others must come together to address this pervasive issue.
Barbados Prime Minister, Mia Mottley suggested a meeting between fisheries officials to address the on-going dispute between Tobago fisherman and Barbados fishermen.
The conflict arose after Tobago fishermen accused Barbados fishermen of illegal fishing in Tobago’s waters.
PM Mottley believes a fisheries meeting could help to resolve the issues between the two parties and ensure peaceful co-existence. She said, there is no tension between Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados governments over the issue and she understands that there was a concern that was raised by Tobagonian fishermen.
Both Prime Minister Keith Rowley and PM Mottley have agreed to let the fisheries departments meet and analyse whether there has been over fishing based on the science and evidence available.
Nigel Taitt, assistant secretary in the Division of Food Security, Natural Resources, the Environment and Sustainable Development said he is open to discussions to have the dispute resolved.
Curtis Douglas, president of the All Tobago Fisherfolk Association (ATFA), who accused Barbados fishing in Tobago waters said Barbados fishermen have been stifling Tobago’s fishing industry and creating hardship in its economy and if they continue to benefit from Tobago’s resources, there must be at least a system in which Tobago’s economy benefit from it.
After Mottley’s response, Douglas said ATFA is open to dialogue. President of the Barbados National Union of Fisherfolk Organisation, Vernel Nicholas said she would only comment when her government publicly addresses the issue.
Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines are the three countries from the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) that will be receiving millions in funding through the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to strengthen the healthcare systems to better withstand future health crisis in the event there is severe economic and social dislocation that has occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bank’s board of directors approved three loans of US$ 9.97 million, US$ 9.86 million and US$ 10 million to the governments of these countries.
US$9.97 million loan was approved for Grenada which the CDB said the funding will assist with infrastructural works and updates at various medical facilities. ” It will also find capacity building and training building and training for healthcare workers in key areas including the biomedical equipment technician certification, rehabilitation and counselling, and risk communication.
The funds will also support increased training for nurses in a range of specialties including intensive care, nephrology, neonatology, emergency care, geriatric care, oncology and nursing administration,” the CDB said.
US$9.86 million approved for St. Lucia where nearly US$2 million of the funding will be used for purchasing critical medical equipment such as ventilators, X-ray machines, ultrasound machines and dental neonatal and eye care equipment. The equipment will go to health facilities across the island.
US$10 million was approved for St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The medical supply chain will be strengthened with US$3.3 million used to support works to establish a central medical warehouse. Average US$2.3 million will be put towards medical and other equipment at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.
ExxonMobil the largest oil producer in Guyana recently announced the arrival of the floating production storage and offloading vessel, Prosperity. Prosperity is the third oil platform that will operate in the Stabroek block offshore Guyana.
Prosperity was built in Singapore and it was named and launched by the wife of President Dr. Irfaan Ali. It joins the Liza Destiny and Liza Unity FPSOs, which are currently producing more than 380,000 barrels per day.
The vessel is part of the Payara development, which is the third development within the giant Stabroek Block offshore Guyana that is shared by ExxonMobil, Hess Corporation and the China National Offshore Corporation.
Officials said production from the Prosperity vessel is expected to push daily production to an estimated 600,000 barrels per day.
“The arrival of the Prosperity FPSO is a testament to the strong partnership between ExxonMobil Guyana, the government of Guyana, our co-ventures and the many suppliers that support our operations. We are excited to contribute to Guyana’s energy future and create lasting opportunities for the nation’s growth and prosperity,” ExxonMobil Guyana Production Manager, Mike Ryan said in a statement.
A recent report from the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), says Haiti’s population is being held hostage to brutality and gang violence.
The OCHA describes life in the country as a daily, terrifying struggle for survival. This is the result of three consecutive years of economic recession, political impass and unprecedented levels of gang violence.
It said that every day, more and more people fall into extreme poverty with an estimated 4.8 million of the population are struggling to meet their nutritional needs. Haiti’s entire population, 11.5 million people are hostage to brutality and gang violence.
It said since 2020, gangs have developed sophisticated tactics and formed powerful coalitions. They encircle the metropolitan area of the capital, Port-au-Prince, and their clashes with the Haitian National Police have resulted in countless victims and a permanent climate of fear.
Women, girls and men as well are raped and assaulted with indescribable violence. Gang rape is frequently used as a form of intimidation and to prevent resistance, the report noted as it provides some of the most heartbreaking stories of many survivors.
In neighborhoods where they operate, gangs hold merchants and businesses to ransom, paralyzing the economy. Haiti’s security situation is undermining it’s fragile economy. Price increases and lack of income are causing the demand for goods to fall, which is damaging the economy. As a result, the most vulnerable people can no longer meet their nutritional needs.
OCHA also said that only 20 percent of Haiti’s schools are public, the rest are private and unaffordable for most people. Many parents can no longer afford their children’s education and in many gang-controlled neighbourhoods, students and teachers access to schools are impossible. The situation’s impact on Haiti’s future is alarming.
Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Andrew Holness is calling on the Caribbean countries to make acquisition of national security tools a priority to ease regional reliance on assistance from foreign partners.
During his feature address at the CARICOM Crime Symposium in Trinidad, Holness said while partnership with the US is crucial in preventing the influx of illegal guns, regional countries should not be overly dependent on their assistance.
He stressed that Caribbean countries should take the lead in the security and protection of their people and urged stakeholders to strengthen their law enforcement capacities. ” I also call on our governments to put our money where our threats lie.
We cannot rely on foreign countries to tell us what is moving in our waters and what is coming in our ports. They are only going to tell us what is in their interest, we must act in our interest. One of the things we must do regionally and individually is to increase our capacity to control our domain.”
Adding that now more than ever a united front is needed to combat crime and lamented that Caribbean countries in the past were not able to treat crime with the necessary priority, which led to the extent of challenges facing the region.
He said central to addressing violent crime was the need to create laws with local circumstances and complexities in mind.
— Compiled by Devika Ragoonanan