Youth Violence Has Reached Epidemic Levels In The Caribbean

Deputy PM - Sam Condor

Deputy PM – Sam Condor
Photo By Erasmus Williams

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
September 25, 2011 (CUOPM)

St. Kitts and Nevis‘ Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Sam Condor says youth violence has reached epidemic levels in the Caribbean and is urging United Nations agencies to help the region’s countries curtail the growing problem.

Minister Condor in his address to the 66th Annual General Meeting of the United Nations in New York Saturday evening stressed that overcoming youth violence requires a multi-pronged approach that includes security, health and development.

“A critical and defining aspect of my country’s future, and indeed a prospect that would largely define tomorrow’s world, is our Youth, It is therefore worthy of my mention, that Youth Violence has attained epidemic proportions in the Caribbean. We appreciate that Youth Violence is invariably symptomatic of deeper individual, community and societal issues; and that a multi-sectoral, integrated approach is required, in redressing this problem,” he told world leaders.

Mr. Condor said that at the National and Regional levels, CARICOM States are actively grappling with this challenge and said the region was pleased to have participated in the discussions on this topic, at the recent U N High Level Meeting.

The St. Kitts and Nevis Foreign Minister said there is need however, to reinforce, that there is a role for relevant UN Agencies, in supporting the efforts at reversing this bothersome trend of Youth Violence, with its implications for many critical sectors, inclusive of securitv, health and development.

“Accordingly, we would be heightening our engagement with WHO, UNHABITAT, UNICEF and other relevant UN and International Development Agencies, in this endeavor,” said Mr. Condor.

He also stated that the challenge of Youth Violence is also linked to some extent, to the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.

“While my country acknowledges the strides made in our Region with respect to small arms and light weapons, through the recent adoption of the CARICOM Declaration on Small Arms and Light Weapons, there is still a long way to go,” said Deputy Prime Minister Condor.

He said it was “imperative that we work together to bring a solution-focused approach to this problem of easy access to small arms and light weapons in our countries. CARICOM calls for an Arms Trade Treaty,” said the St. Kitts and Nevis Foreign Minister.

Mr. Condor in his presentation noted the UN President’s theme for this session: “The Role of Mediation in the Settlement of Disputes by Peaceful Means.”

He said St. Kitts and Nevis supports the settlement of disputes and mediation in preventing or settling conflicts.

“In this endeavor, our Small Island Caribbean States would wish to be engaged in the support mechanisms, in tangible ways, such as are already laid out in the provisions of such landmark Resolutions, as UNGA 1540 (2004), which addresses the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The people of my country, my region, have great respect for the idealism that gave life to this all important Organization. Our ideals are indeed synchronous with those of the UN System; and our expectations are assuredly, no less Stately than those of large and powerful Nations,” Minister Condor told the world body.

He called on the United Nations to show its unifying character, in assuring that all Member States are equipped to play a part in the maintenance of International Peace and Security; and in the “building up of one another.”

“We are our Brother’s Keeper! Mr. President, in today’s global community, we must rely heavily on collective actions and solid partnerships, if we are to overcome the many common challenges which we face,” said the Federation’s Deputy Prime and Minister of Foreign Affairs.