CARICOM Chairman Bahamas Prime Minister Phillip Davis KC, in his opening remarks at the CARICOM Crime Conference in Trinidad, is calling for more help for young men in the Caribbean who are vulnerable to becoming perpetrators or victims of crime.
“An epidemic of violence grips our region, an epidemic that claims lives and generates fear and anger.”
Saying that millions of people across the region’s crime hotspots can fall victim at any 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 reflects the spread of infectious diseases in a society. Violence can ripple and grow exponentially. Those who come into close contact with violence are most likely to spread it and most likely to become victims of it,”
“As we would with any public health crisis, we must define and monitor the problems, identify risks and protective factors, and develop mitigation and prevention strategies to stop the epidemic,” he added.
He said resources needed to be mobilized with the same determination as to fight any other life-threatening epidemic as families are devastated by grief and loss and communities are threatened.
He said the struggle was a complex tangle of social, economic and environmental factors. And it’s not just 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 everyone else must come together to solve this massive problem.
Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley proposed a meeting of fisheries officials to resolve the ongoing dispute between the Tobago fisherman and Barbados fishermen.
The conflict arose after Tobago’s fishermen accused Barbadian fishermen of illegal fishing in Tobago’s waters.
Prime Minister Mottley believes that a fisheries meeting can help resolve the issues between the two parties and ensure peaceful coexistence. She said there is no tension between the Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados governments over the issue and she understands there was a concern raised by Tobago fishermen.
Both Prime Minister Keith Rowley and Prime Minister Mottley have agreed to have fisheries departments meet and analyze whether there has been overfishing based on the available science and evidence.
Nigel Taitt, assistant secretary at the Department for Food Security, Natural Resources, Environment and Sustainable Development said he is open to discussions to resolve the dispute.
Curtis Douglas, president of the All Tobago Fisherfolk Association (ATFA), who accused Barbadians of fishing in Tobago waters, said Barbadian fishermen have stifled Tobago’s fishing industry and created difficulties in its economy and if they continue to take advantage of Tobago’s resources , there must be at at least a system where Tobago’s economy benefits from it.
After Mottley’s response, Douglas said ATFA is open to dialogue. President of the Barbados National Union of Fisherfolk Organization, 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 Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) that will receive millions in funding through the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to strengthen health systems so that they can better withstand future health crises in the event of a severe economic and social dislocation that has occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bank’s board approved three loans of US$9.97 million, US$9.86 million and US$10 million to the governments of these countries.
A US$9.97 million loan was approved for Grenada, which the CDB said the funding will help with infrastructural works and updates at various medical facilities. ” It will also find capacity building and training building and training of healthcare professionals in key areas including biomedical equipment technician certification, rehabilitation and counseling and risk communication.
The funds will also support increased training of nurses in a range of specialties including intensive care, nephrology, neonatology, acute care, geriatric care, oncology and nursing administration,” CDB said.
$9.86 million approved for St. Lucia, where nearly US$2 million of the funding will be used to purchase 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 work to establish a central medical warehouse. An average of $2.3 million will be used for medical and other equipment at 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 off Guyana.
Prosperity was built in Singapore and it was named and launched by President Dr. Irfaan Ali’s wife. 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 shared by ExxonMobil, Hess Corporation and China National Offshore Corporation.
Officials said production from the Prosperity vessel is expected to push daily output 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 Head of Production Mike Ryan said in a statement.
A recent report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that the people of Haiti are being held hostage by brutality and gang violence.
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 gridlock and unprecedented levels of gang violence.
It said that every day more and more people are falling into extreme poverty with an estimated 4.8 million of the population struggling to meet their nutritional needs. The entire population of Haiti, 11.5 million people, is 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 casualties and a permanent climate of fear.
Women, girls and men are also raped and assaulted with indescribable violence. Gang rape is often 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, crippling the economy. Haiti’s security situation undermines its fragile economy. Price increases and lack of income cause the demand for goods to fall, which hurts 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 neighborhoods it is impossible for students and teachers to access schools. The impact of the situation on Haiti’s future is alarming.
Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, is calling on Caribbean countries to make acquiring national security tools a priority to ease regional dependence on aid from foreign partners.
Speaking at the CARICOM Crime Symposium in Trinidad, Holness said that while partnership with the United States is essential to prevent the influx of illegal weapons, regional countries should not be overly dependent on its assistance.
He emphasized that the Caribbean countries should take the lead in the security and protection of their people and called on stakeholders to strengthen their law enforcement capacity. “I also urge 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 into our ports. They will only tell us what is in their interest, we must act in our interest. One of the things we need to do regionally and individually is increase our capacity to control our domain.”
Adding that now more than ever, a united front is needed to fight crime and lamented that in the past Caribbean countries were unable to treat crime with the necessary priority, leading to the scale of challenges the region faced transfer.
He said that central to dealing with violent crime was the need to create laws with local conditions and complexities in mind.
– Collected by Devika Ragoonan