A major financial institution is advising
the Freundel Stuart Administration to make
the special needs of young people a top
priority, if it wants to put the brakes on
crime and violence in the country.
President of the Caribbean Development
Bank Dr. Warren Smith is giving that same
advice to this country’s regional neighbours.
Speaking this morning at the opening
of the Association of Caribbean
Commissioners of Police Inter-Sessional
Meeting at Divi Southwinds Resort in
Christ Church, Smith identified the youth
demographic as posing a major challenge for
this island and the rest of CARICOM.
He said the social and economic
conditions under which a large number
of young people live, gave rise to crime
The CDB chief observed that with 64
per cent of the Caribbean’s population
under age 30, their participation in the
labour force was low.
“Large numbers fall within the ranks of
the long term hard core unemployed. They
are poorly educated and are trapped in
low or semi-skilled jobs. These conditions
increase the propensity for crime among
our region’s youth,” he asserted.
For him, the solution is for the government to
provide training and education which will empower
them to make good choices for themselves and
improve their chances of escaping poverty and
avoiding a life of crime.
Smith said changing the outcomes for young
people must begin with early intervention
programmes in schools.
He is also drawing to the attention of Barbados
and other regional governments that their
economic growth has an important connection
to public safety.
The bank boss argued that while community
policing was necessary, it was not sufficient to
deal with the over crime and violence situation.
Smith is therefore suggesting a
comprehensive mix of policies that would get to
the real causes.
He said the region could increase its per
capita investment by three per cent once it
implements such policies.
“By reducing inequalities and by expanding
the range of choices open to the wider section
of society, [this can] create conditions for lower
rates of violent crime.
Effective resolution of our citizens’ security
concerns then, should involve a comprehensive
solution that attempts to reduce crime, whilst
promoting broad based sustainable economic
growth,” declared the CDB head.
“If we are to create for our people that
desired living standard in an environment of
peace and safety, then we will need to design an
effective mix of policies that put our people first;
that places crime prevention and control of antisocial
behaviours at the centre of our countries’
growth and development agenda,” added Smith.
“We can no longer behave as if public safety
is the preserve only of the security forces and that
crime can only be controlled by effective policing,”
concluded the CDB president.
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