(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana)   Caribbean Community, (CARICOM) Ambassador Irwin La Rocque, called for the full cooperation of all stakeholders within Member States to respond to the issue of crime and security, which he described as a regional problem that demands a regional solution.

“The multi-state, multi sectoral response to this challenge is vital for us to succeed in defeating it” [crime], the Secretary-General said.

He alluded to the findings of recent studies which show that the majority of victims, as well as perpetrators recorded by the police are young males 18 to 35 years old, while 80 per cent of prosecuted crimes were committed by youth 19 – 29 years old.

Ambassador La Rocque said that the high youth unemployment rate in the Region was not least among the socio-economic determinants of crime, noting that it was 25 per cent in 2017.

He informed among steps taken to address this issue was the approval of the CARICOM Crime and Security Strategy (CCSS) in 2013 by Heads of Government.  The CCSS incorporates the CARICOM Social Development and Crime Prevention Action Plan. The Action Plan, the Secretary-General noted, hinged on a multi-pronged approach, including, prevention, justice reform, prison and corrections reform, capacity development with law enforcement and border security, and intelligence-led law enforcement.

“[It] aims at promoting sustainability and participatory approaches involving key stakeholders, for which youth form a key sector”, he said. “Specifically, it calls for the promotion and support to youth-led violence prevention initiatives and the development of role models who appeal to youth risk”, he continued.

The Secretary General affirmed his view that notwithstanding the value of projects and programmes, “the core of the battle must be the home”, and it was there that the concept of toxic masculinity which comes out of a false notion of what it takes to be man”, must be tackled.

“Families have a vital role to play in turning the tide of this struggle. The universal values of love, hard work, honesty, character building, belief in self and self-respect are key weapons”

The two-day Summit which ends on 16 January have attracted leaders from youth movements, governments, civil society, development organizations and academia, to design transformational youth-centered action to combat crime and violence and address constraints that youth activists face in improving safety outcomes in their communities.

The Summit was convened by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in partnership with the Government of Guyana, the CARICOM Secretariat, UNICEF, the Caribbean Development Bank, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Commission, and the Caribbean Learning for Youth Networking and Change Sessions (LYNCS) Network.