Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries continue to suffer tremendously as a result of crime and violence at the youth level, and despite a number of laws being passed and many studies being conducted on this issue, it still looms at large, says Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan.
During his address at the opening of a two-day CARICOM Regional Youth Forum on Youth Crime and Violence at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, yesterday, in examining some major reports that dealt with crime and violence in the CARICOM Region over the years, Ramjattan stated that members of state have been ‘smitten’ by the culture of passing laws and conducting studies, and doing very little to enforce them.
The Public Security Minister noted that it was only recently that the benefits of early childhood development were brought to the attention of the Guyana Government, and a 2014 report revealed that if essential relationships are not formed with children from birth to three-years with parents, it can result in the neglect of a child and one most prone to deviant behaviour.
As a result of such reports and studies both locally and internationally, persons are quite knowledgeable about families, children and violence, he stated.
“Though we know plenty, we do not know nearly enough as to how to prevent violence and crime, and how to stop it happening when it begins,” Minister Ramjattan declared.
According to him, there is need to make a long-term investment in national research and to continue making efforts towards a coherent and coordinated CARICOM regional strategy for identifying the interventions needed.
He then called on CARICOM countries to make a national and regional commitment to understanding the causes of youth violence and crime, and to make the political commitment to procure the resources, for training and implementation of the recommendations.
Meanwhile, Dr. Martin Baptiste, Operations Officer at the Caribbean Development Bank’s (CDB), noted that addressing the social imperatives that affect children and youth is an urgent priority and that the CDB sees value in supporting such initiatives.
Dr. Baptiste noted that an experience of success of learning and school achievement must be within education systems in order for those that are most valuable to be prevented from starting the journey along that path in order to address the issue of crime and violence.