(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) Trinidad and Tobago is set to host the next national consultation on youth gangs and gang violence on Friday, November 25.
This is the fourth country earmarked for the pilot intervention on youth gangs and gang violence – the other three being Belize, Guyana and St Kitts and Nevis.
The project is aimed at strengthening the capacity of youth and community members to design and implement programmes to address gang formation and gang violence among and against youths. In addition, the project aims to increase livelihood opportunities and employability for economically and socially marginalized youth.
The project is an offshoot of the CARICOM Social Development and Crime Prevention Action Plan which was developed by the CARICOM Secretariat in collaboration with the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to “prevent and reduce levels of violence and crime in Member States, through a cross-sectoral and multi-disciplinary approach…” The plan is grounded on five pillars – reduce violence; foster social inclusion; promote integration; empower victims; and protect the environment and economic resources – which are linked to the regional development agenda.
Approximately sixty stakeholders primarily drawn from the community in which the pilot will be implemented will participate in the consultation which will be held at the Ministry of National Security.
Funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the consultation seeks to realize the following objectives:
Present the gang prevention and youth and community development project to be piloted in the selected Member States;
Identify a mechanism for the implementation of Phase II of the project in the communities;
Identify a team to undertake a mapping of the selected communities;
Identify immediate training needs in the areas of gang formation and violence prevention
To date, the CARICOM Secretariat has conducted a sub-regional consultation in Guyana and national consultations in Belize and St Kitts and Nevis as a preparatory step to implementing the project.
The CARICOM Social Development and Crime Prevention Plan is a direct response to a mandate from the 12th Special Meeting of the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) in March 2008 which required the CARICOM Secretariat to collaborate with international organisations and Third States in developing a regional crime prevention initiative to complement the national efforts already in train. The mandate was endorsed by the CARICOM Heads of Government at their Twentieth Inter-Sessional Meeting, March 2009.
At its 20th meeting held in Guyana in 2010, the COHSOD endorsed the Action Plan and gave full support to the national consultations, especially with key players in the education sector.