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CARICOM heads set to discuss violence in the region at two-day symposium


by Kevon Browne

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Hon. Dr Terrance Drew, is expected to attend a Regional Symposium on “Violence as a Public Health Issue – The Crime Challenge” in Trinidad and Tobago on April 17-18, 2023.

The Symposium will be hosted by the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Hon. Dr Keith Rowley and various CARICOM Heads of Government are expected to attend.

According to regional reports, Trinidad and Tobago Foreign Affairs Minister Hon. Dr Amery Browne, at a news conference, said that the reaction across the region has been extremely positive, and they are anticipating a significant turnout from CARICOM heads of government and more.

Browne said, “The event will be hosted over a span of two days when the root causes of violent crime – the antithesis – a number of research projects have occurred around this theme, a public health approach addressing violence and crime will be presented…We will also have Commissioners of Police from some of our neighbouring countries coming here to share their perspectives. One of the messages is that this epidemic of violence is not a Trinidad and Tobago issue alone; we are united with the rest of CARICOM of very much feeling besieged, as well as other developing areas… So this is something we are approaching in solidarity with fellow member states. They have important perspectives to share with us, lessons learnt etc., and we also have important perspectives to share with the rest of the region.”

At the summit in the Bahamas, the CARICOM Secretariat, the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (Impacs) and the Regional Security System (RSS) were asked to prepare a report covering the related social, economic and judicial issues required to inform the symposium.

Representatives from Mexico and the United States, and other countries in the region of the Americas are also expected at the two-day symposium.

During the press conference on April 6, Browne defended the decision by some CARICOM countries’ support for Mexico’s filing of an appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for a US$10 billion suit to hold US gun manufacturers liable for the harm caused by their products.

“You would be hard press to make a case that those weapons sourced from those factories in the United States are not part of the violent crime scenario in the Caribbean Sea, in Central America and elsewhere… So the fact that there may be Glocks and weapons manufactured elsewhere does not deter us from joining in solidarity with an action we feel can have very important potential repercussions elsewhere as well.”

He said the region stands by Mexico steps to hold weapons manufacturers accountable for the damage done at the weapons’ final destinations.

“Right there in discussion at caucus and in the plenary, there was a strong view from our region’s heads that this is the type of initiative that we might wish to be associated with. Some of it is symbolic and again just a reminder that the focus is on the private sector manufacturers as opposed to the Biden administration or the US government as a whole.” – Trinidad and Tobago Foreign Affairs Minister Hon. Dr Amery Browne.


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