April 21, 2021

OUR CARIBBEAN: Fighting crime as a region

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bloc-ourcaribbean-new2646-450x303By Rickey Singh From Nationnews Barbados

LAST WEEK the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Keith Rowley, had the painful task of informing that nation that crime had reached a “crisis level”. It is the kind of information, or news, no Head of Government of our Caribbean Community would wish to broadcast.

The sad, harsh reality, however, is that given the spreading crisis of gun-related criminality and specifically the bourgeoning statistics on murder, robbery and rape and other acts of criminality, it’s wise of Prime Minister Rowley to bite the proverbial bullet and tell it like it is.

He is experienced enough to know of the inherent dangers in pushing thisdistressing problem under the “rug”, andsimply hope for a solution. From Jamaicain the northern region to Guyana on theSouth American mainland, and spreadingacross the islands of the Eastern Caribbean, including once placid Barbados, gun-relatedcrimes and incidences of rape-including of young children – are seriously undermining the social fabric of too many states of our 15-member Caricom states.

Dr Rowley would also be aware of the established Caricom policy in relation to the allocation of “lead responsibility” among our Heads of Government under which arrangement the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago holds responsibility for crime and security. Further, that Trinidad and Tobago has long been identified by Caricom as secretariat headquarters for crime and security.

Consequently, Prime Minister Rowley has more than a moral obligation to initiate consultations with his fellow Caricom Heads of Government to discuss the escalating crime crisis that threatens peace and security across our region.

It would therefore, prove useful for him to get in touch with Caricom Secretary General Irwin La Rocque, to arrange for a special meeting of our heads of government to consult on a unified regional approach to combat the scourge of criminality that threatens national security.

To follow regional media reports, gun-related crimes are becoming endemic, and serious consideration should be given to the value of organising such a region-wide public consultation. It should, of necessity, involve not just heads of government, ministers of national security and police commissioners, but also representatives of the private sector, women and other social organizations.

Ideas and specific recommendations resulting from such a representative regional consultation on crime, would at least help to influence more public involvement at the national level in combating the prevailing crime epidemic. And why not? After all, there are all sorts of “consultations” in Caricom member states. Why not one focused on crime and national security?

There are good reasons to think that in the face of reports of an apparent region-wide epidemic of rapes, increasingly involving even young school children, women’s organisations would welcome properly structured consultations, ideas/recommendations from which necessary action by governments could be considered, also with involvement of the media.

• Rickey Singh is a noted Caribbean journalist.

For more on this story go to: http://www.nationnews.com/nationnews/news/80038/caribbean-fighting-crime-region#sthash.0gFcUKpx.dpuf

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