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February 25, 2021

CARICOM: Crime and violence “[is] public health issue”

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Posted: Thursday, February 25, 2021. 9:18 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: Chairman of the Caribbean Community, Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, urged colleagues not to set aside crime and violence as a key issue; in fact, he said, it is as much of a public health issue as COVID-19.

Speaking on Wednesday at the opening of the Thirty-Second Intersessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, Prime Minister Rowley said pandemic-induced shut-downs have contributed to increases in domestic violence cases. He said there were also “unconscionable acts of violence against women and children in our Community”.

Prime Minister Rowley, who holds responsibility for security in the CARICOM Quasi Cabinet, also spoke of illicit trafficking in goods and persons in the region and said there had to be a multi-disciplinary approach to addressing those challenges.

He added that he hoped the Community could soon refocus its attention and efforts to convene a high-level summit of Member States and regional multi-sectoral partners to treat with crime and violence as a public health issue in the Region. At the last Intersessional Meeting, Prime Minister Rowley had committed to hosting the summit in April last year in Trinidad and Tobago, but, because of the pandemic, the meeting was not convened.

The meeting concludes on Friday evening.

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