Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 16, 2017 (SKNIS): The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for Barbados and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission for Eastern and Southern Caribbean, is currently hosting the launch and two day Inception Workshop for the project entitled “CARISECURE – Strengthening Evidenced Based Decision Making for Citizen Security in the Caribbean.”
The workshop, which is being held from January 16 to 17 at the Ocean Terrace Inn, is the third of a series of project launches, which will see the implementation of CARISECURE in 10 Eastern and Southern Caribbean countries, with specific emphasis on the USAID priority countries of Guyana, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Lucia.
The goal of the CARISECURE project, which is a component of USAID’s Youth Empowerment Services (YES) Project, is to improve youth crime and violence policy-making and programming in the South and Eastern Caribbean through the use of quality, comparable and reliable national citizen security information. The initiative is made possible by the support of the American People through USAID and the technical assistance of the UNDP.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Stephen O’Malley, UNDP Resident Representative for Barbados and the OECS, said that the CARISECURE Project is about strengthening evidence based decision making for citizen security in the Caribbean. He added that the event was important as it rolled out the new citizen security project in St. Kitts and Nevis.
He said that the leaders of the region have taken a very courageous step in recognizing that there are challenges to citizen security in the Caribbean including “the high incidence of crime and violence in the community and at the national level, as well the pernicious influence of organized crime at the transnational level.”
“In particular, youth involvement in criminal activity throughout the region has become increasingly prevalent and it is crucial to break that cycle of youth involvement in drugs, gangs, crime and violence,” said Mr. O’Malley. “That requires much more than just the sanctions of aggressive anti-gang policing, better community policing, fewer firearms, effective counter narcotics and improved rule of law.”
He added that also needed are strategies that aim to reduce rising levels of crime and violence through improving the quality of life, community action, agile and effective judicial systems, restorative justice and education based on values and the respect for law and human rights.
Government to Government Advisor, USAID Mission for the Eastern and Southern Caribbean, Mansfield Blackwood, said that the goal of the YES project is to reduce youth involvement in crime and violence across the Eastern and Southern Caribbean.
“We all know about the challenges of our young people and their involvement in various negative ways in each of our countries and with no exceptions, right across the region,” said the Government to Government Advisor. “We spent quite a long time going through various different scenarios, hoops and hurdles to try to develop and design the youth empowerment services project. What we are doing over the next two days, is an important piece of our youth empowerment services project to drive the process; the whole issue about data gathering and data assessment is very important. Ultimately, we want a reduction in youth involvement in crime and violence.”
Debra Wahlberg, Chief of Party, Creative Associates International, said that one of the most important things about the project is to engage with the private sector and members of civil society as “it is really an integrated approach so that we are not treating or addressing one piece of, potentially why a young person has had an encounter with the juvenile justice system.”
“It’s going to be important that all members of the society and community work to understand what role they have to play in terms of contributing to young person’s opportunities,” she said.
The Inception Workshop has attracted a cadre of senior officers who has responsibility for information management, policy/programme design, implementation and monitoring to guide our project team as they roll out project activities in St. Kitts and Nevis.