St. Kitts – Nevis Fights Back Against Gang Violence

St. Kitts - Nevis Gang Violence

PM Douglas Takes Strong Stance On Violent Crime

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
June 17, 2009 (CUOPM)

A two-day Regional Conference on youth crime and violence prevention will be held in St. Kitts and Nevis next week.

The June 22nd and 23rd Meeting under the theme: “Confronting the challenges of youth crime and violence: Defining a multi-sectoral response,” brings into sharp focus the issue of youth crime, especially gang and gun related crime in an attempt to define a regional response that will address possible root causes and can positively impact prevention.

The opening ceremony will be addressed by St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas; Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister and CARICOM’s spokesman on Crime and National Security Issues, the Hon. Patrick Manning and CARICOM Secretary General, His Excellency Dr. Edwin Carrington.

“Today, there are unmistakable trans-border dimensions to crime.  Crime is an issue that must be kept on the front burner. It is the first order of business here in St. Kitts and Nevis as it is in several other countries in the region. This trans-border criminality takes many forms.  It can involve the physical movement of persons”¦..the movement via the media of criminal values and behaviors”¦..the movement of illegal narcotics and illegal weapons across national borders”¦..or the movement of funds via global telecommunications networks,” said St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas.

Dr. Douglas at his monthly Press Conference Wednesday afternoon said that whatever form it takes, a regional challenge demands a regional response.

“While Caribbean countries will implement their own strategies on crime, we are nonetheless increasingly committed to high-level regional collaboration in response to this regional challenge ““ particularly the phenomenon of gang violence,” said Prime Minister Douglas.

Dr. Douglas, the current Chair of the Council of Ministers of the Regional Security System ““ CARICOM’s premiere national security establishment said that the regional and international national security officials and experts will be tackling issues of intervention and prevention; rehabilitation and integration and the governance implications of violence.

“This is reflective of unequivocal determination ““ as a region – to strengthen and sharpen our insights, strategies, and counter-measures where gang violence is concerned,” Dr. Douglas.

Given that most of the homicides in recent years have been perpetrated by youths, it has become necessary to bring the stakeholders together who can give of their expertise in conceptualising the problem with a view to taking remedial action.

The Conference will provide a useful framework for the continued investigation and understanding of the causes and consequences of violence and for preventing violence from occurring through primary prevention programmes, policy interventions and advocacy.

The Conference will also consider the scientifically-tested and proven principles and recommendations described in the World report on violence and health. The prescribed approaches to violence prevention, including public health, seek to improve safety and security of all individuals by addressing underlying risk factors that increase the likelihood that an individual can become a victim or a perpetrator of violence.

The issue of security continues to be prominent on the international agenda and the global anti crime campaign intensifies, as concern heightens in the face of emerging threats to the citizenry as well as the society. This development results from the new wave of crime and violence, especially among the youth population.

All Caribbean countries are expected to be represented. Officials from the Organisation of American States (OAS), The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Inter-American Coalition for the Prevention of Violence, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) will participate in a Caricom Partnership and Dialogue with Development Agencies moderated by Assistant Secretary General of CARICOM, Dr. Edward Greene.

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