EDITORIAL: In the battle against crime and violence
The latest of studies commissioned by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) have underscored the serious negative impact that crime and violence are having on economies of the Caribbean at a time when economic growth with job-creation continues to be elusive for a number of CARICOM states.
Not just the IDB, but also the World Bank and our own Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) have been pointing to the challenges facing this region.
It’s an area where social and economic development programmes continue to be undermined by spreading gun-related violence, human trafficking and the trade in illegal drugs, with women and youth being most notable victims.
A statement released at the weekend by the IDB said that out of some 117 proposals offered by the commissioned studies eight were presented by their authors during a seminar last week at the institution’s headquarters.
It so happens that both the IDB and World Bank are currently involved in a unique partnership with the CDB and the University of the West Indies, as well as Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), to help identify new policies and initiatives to stimulate economic growth and employment.
This regional/international “partnership”, known as the Caribbean Growth Forum (CGF), was inaugurated last June at the UWI’s Mona, Jamaica campus. The participants are expected to be ready with a comprehensive report in the final quarter of this year for submission to governments and related institutions.
It is likely that at his media briefing next week the CDB’s President, Dr Warren Smith, will provide an update on the progress of the CGF and also the bank’s latest assessment of challenges to be overcome by some of its borrowing member countries.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) had earlier pointed out in a 2012 report how crime and violence were frustrating human development, with problems caused for vital sectors like tourism as well as negatively impacting foreign direct investment and business expansion.
Perhaps with a perspective at confidence-building and given the fact that crime and security are one of CARICOM’s so-called “major pillars” for regional integration and functional cooperation, citizens of the Community need to be updated on specific initiatives being collectively pursued by governments to aggressively deal with the scourge of crime and violence.
The update should, of necessity, include what new initiatives are indeed being pursued to combat the illegal gun trade and human trafficking.
It should also look at breaking down barriers to more effectively combat criminality and violence.