Citizen Security Takes Center Stage at CARICOM Heads of Govt Meeting
New Chairman of CARICOM, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet
With murder rates in parts of the Caribbean said to be higher than any other region in the world, the issue of citizen security will today be a talking point for Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community as they enter day two of their three days meeting in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia.
The Heads were reminded the evening before by United Nation Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to remember, in their discussions today, that violence against women and girls is a significant dimension of citizen security, which increases in the wake of natural disasters and is an obstacle to resilient societies generally.
“It is important that gender considerations underpin all our efforts to promote citizen security and sustainable development,” Guterres said.
Immediate past chairman of CARICOM Saint Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Timothy Harris called on his colleagues to act urgently to fulfil the obligations to which they signed on.
He pointed to his home country’s agreement on the Return or Sharing of Recovered Assets as seeking to enhance the effectiveness of regional security cooperation by establishing a framework for the return or sharing of recovered assets from criminal activity.
Harris described the Special Meeting hosted earlier this year by the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Keith Rowley, Lead Head for Security for CARICOM, as one which enabled the region to identify concrete steps to combat the scourge of criminal activity.
“We do not have the luxury of time to introduce the agreed measures as the burden of crime is weighing heavily on our citizens and residents. The regional approach to support each other is critical to providing a safe and secure Caribbean Community,” He said.
Saint Lucia’s Prime Minister Allen Chastanet also raised the issue of security in the member states noting that crime
“A number of interventions are being undertaken in the various territories. At a meeting in Grenada, the CARICOM Ministerial Council for National Security and Law Enforcement agreed that there should be greater collaboration and co-operation among the Member States. The goal is to achieve more significant results in the battle against the flow of illegal drugs and guns, trans-national crime and the heightened incidence of homicides,” Chastanet said.
He said the decision of the Council to meet at least twice a year in order to fulfil their responsibility within the framework was most encouraging.