The plan was jointly developed by the CARICOM Secretariat in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to address the development challenges posed by the high levels of crime and violence in the Region.
Beginning yesterday, Guyana commenced its hosting of the first four-day sub-regional meeting, which will engage stakeholders drawn from four Member States – Belize, Guyana, St. Kitts and Nevis and Trinidad and Tobago. The stakeholders comprise leaders of faith-based organizations, private sector and government representatives – particularly personnel from the judiciary system – and social and probation workers of the Member States as critical partners in the fight to eliminate gangs and gang violence within the Community.
Over the four days, stakeholders will exchange ideas on several topics, including culture and code of gangs and their impact on family life. They will explore models that focus on anti-gang services, life-skills, and income-generating projects. They will also share international, regional and national best practices for addressing gangs and gang violence and develop tools and protocols to implement the component at the community level.
The CARICOM Secretariat, with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in addressing the priority of gangs and gang violence, has organized a series of sub-regional consultations titled Youth Gangs and Violence: partnering for prevention and social development to discuss plans to roll out the anti-gang programmes and services component of the Action Plan.
This component is designed to provide intensive support services and programmes to reduce involvement in gang life and to equip ‘gang leavers’ with life skills to help them reintegrate into their societies. The programmes and services, to be developed in consultation with stakeholders, will be implemented through pilot projects at the community level.