By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – As the United States and CARICOM signed a multibillion dollar agreement that would see a lot of emphasis being placed on youth involvement in crimes, CARICOM Secretary General (SG), Irwin LaRocque says that crime has to be addressed collectively.
The agreement, valued at US$165M, would see some US$89M going towards the reduction of youth involvement in crime, US$52M for HIV/AIDS control and $31M towards mitigating the effects of climate change.
Speaking to the media shortly after the signing on Tuesday, November 24, Ambassador LaRocque stated that the crime situation is something that has to be addressed as a community.
Crime is seen as a major pillar of concern for the Caribbean Community with Jamaica recording over 1000 murders for the year thus far, while Trinidad and Tobago recorded 365 murders. Guyana recorded more than 100 murders for the year thus far.
However, in these three countries, here has been a noted increase in the amount of serious crimes being committed.
“Crime and security is a very pressing issue in the Community, very very pressing. Climate change is another very pressing issue. Health – if you look at our strategic plan all three of them find themselves among the top priorities to be addressed in our community,” said LaRocque.
He said now that youth involvement in crime is being targeted, other angles to addressing the issue should be explored.
“The crime issue is something that we just have to address collectively and not merely from a security standpoint and not merely from a security angle but from all angles and to the extent that this project is going to assist with the youths it’s a welcomed intervention,” the Secretary General noted.
LaRocque further indicated that the areas targeted under the agreement are the ones that have been identified as “critical” to the general wellbeing of the CARICOM citizenry.
“Combating issues posed by climate change, HIV/AIDS and violence with reference to youth participation is right at the forefront of the issues facing our community today,” said LaRocque.
It was noted that the agreements would spearhead the USAID’s 2015-1019 Regional Development Objective Agreement Goals (DOAGs).
Countries scheduled to benefit from the signing include, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and a few other CARICOM states.
US Ambassador to Guyana and plenipotentiary Ambassador to Caricom, Perry Holloway noted that the US is particularly pleased to continue its engagements with CARICOM.
According to the US Ambassador, the success of past programs and future programs rely heavily on the support of the implementing partners, that is, CARICOM states.
“Today’s ceremony marks another milestone in US and Caribbean relations,” said Holloway adding that it reiterates the US’ commitment to the development of the Caribbean Region.
“CARICOM by virtue of its commitment to improving the economic, social, cultural and technological advancement of Caribbean people remains a beacon in this regard,” said Holloway.