Thursday 9 April, 2020

PM Mottley says crime in Caribbean is a "public health disease"

CARICOM chair, Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley

CARICOM chair, Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley

The issue of crime and violence in the Caribbean has been labelled “ a public health disorder” by Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Chair, Prime Minister Mia Mottley

To arrest issues of crime, violence, and security affecting the CARICOM states, a regional summit on crime and violence will be held in Trinidad and Tobago before the Heads of Government meeting in St Vincent scheduled for July. 

Speaking to the media on the final day of the 31st Intersessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government, Prime Minister Mia Mottley attested that it was a regional problem that could not be only addressed at the governmental level. 

“Violence in the context of the Caribbean today and crime are effectively public health disorders and disease to that extent we believe that it is critical that we bring together not only the heads of government of the region for a summit but also partners from faith-based organisations, artistes, sportspeople, teachers, Caribbean Public Health Organisation  to the private sector for us to have full and frank discussion on how we as a region will begin to contain the difficulties that individual communities and countries are experiencing for a change in behaviour, a change in values and attitudes,” commented the Barbadian Prime Minister. 

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“We believe the conversation cannot take place simply at the level of government and law enforcement . . . We need to treat this as a national and regional discussion and action plan that will see players across every sector of society,” she stressed. 

While referring to how violence can erupt when the youth are under the influence of drugs, Prime Minister spoke of young children seeking to get high from  “purple drank” or “lean” which is a mixture of cough syrup, jolly ranchers and soda. She emphasized that while under the influence, situations can escalate with the easy availability of firearms on the streets. 

“We have to work together across the region, first with the parents so the parents can recognise what are the threats to their children’s stability and do something about it. 

At the end of the day a young person who is high and not in full control of their capacities may end up doing something that they will not do if they were not and if they have access to weapons which are regrettably all too available in our societies today, then what they might have done 30 years ago with a rock or piece of two by three, they are now doing today with automatic weapons and that is the insidious nature of what we are confronting.” 

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