As part of the approach to fight crime and violence from a social perspective, several persons associated with youth development will benefit from training in five Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) over the next month. The training is aimed at establishing a cadre of trainers to build capacity of youths at risk of, or are already in conflict with the law.

The training which will be held in the Member States of Antigua and Barbuda, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia and Suriname, includes life skills development, leadership and mentoring and parenting skills. It is an activity of the Crime and Violence Prevention and Social Development Project in the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM), under the wider CARIFORUM/European Union Crime and Security Cooperation Programme being implemented under the Tenth European Development Fund.

The training initiative builds on outcomes of, and expand the Gangs and Violence: Partnering for Prevention and Social Development Pilot Project. The activity is intended to equip stakeholders with the knowledge and skills to facilitate gang leaders with life skills which will enable them to better re-integrate into society. This involves conduct of gang prevention training workshops targeting rehabilitated gang leaders, parents, teachers, school administrators and faith-based organisations (FBOs). To this end, approximately 35 trainees will be drawn from identified schools and related communities, past student associations, the business sector and faith-based organizations and youth institutions.

According to Project Manager at the CARICOM Secretariat, Mr Louis Dodson, such programmes are intended to result in community-based initiatives aimed at creating behaviour change and fostering proactive, healthy and productive lifestyles for at-risk youths and by extension their communities.

“Youth already in conflict with the law must be targeted when addressing the issues related to reducing crime and violence to enhance their chances of navigating out of the paths they have begun to traverse”, he emphasised.

The Project Manager noted, as well that the social crime prevention approach addresses the root causes – for example poor education, lack of opportunity, drug abuse and alcoholism – of crime, driven by poor social conditions.

The first training programme takes place in Saint Lucia, and will run from April 2nd – 6th 2019.