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Caricom chairman, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.

Gail Alexander

Unconscionable acts of violence in the region against women and girls, illicit trafficking of goods and people and an increase in domestic violence have prompted the need for the reconvening of a special Caricom summit on security.

Caricom chairman T&T Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley indicated this at yesterday’s 32nd Caricom Intersessional meeting.

Rowley holds responsibility for security in the CARICOM Quasi-Cabinet. He noted at the last Intersessional he had committed to hosting a high-level summit of member states and the regional multi-sectoral partners in T&T in April 2020. But this couldn’t have been convened due to COVID 19 pandemic.

He added, “Although our attention has been appropriately focussed on securing the health and socio-economic wellbeing of our people and the (Caricom) community’s post COVID recovery, we must remain committed to addressing crime and violence as a public health issue in our region. Across the globe we’ve seen how shutdowns have contributed to an increase in cases of domestic violence. Additionally, in the region, we continue to witness unconscionable acts of violence against the women and children of our (Caricom) community.”

“Another issue of great concern to our community is the deepening sense of insecurity triggered by the scourge of illicit trafficking in goods and persons in our region. Such threats to law enforcement and security, specifically the illicit trafficking in persons, have been particularly disconcerting as the community continues its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“These illicit activities and their violent spill-over effects further intensify citizen insecurity throughout our region.”

Rowley said leaders have acknowledged that to address these challenges, it is insufficient to rely on law enforcement alone and that a multi-disciplinary approach that engages various sectors of Caricom’s community must be adopted.

“To this end, it is my hope that we can soon refocus our attention and efforts to convene the Summit with a difference, aiming to adopt a multi-sectoral response to treat with crime and violence as a public health issue in our region.”

T&T chairman for reparation team

He also said the issue of reparations for Native Genocide and Slavery continues to find a place on Caricom’s agenda” and is gaining momentum”.

“The CARICOM Reparations Commission (CRC) has been at the forefront of “The CARICOM Reparations Commission (CRC) has been at the forefront of this social justice movement and the Region’s Ten-Point Action Plan, which links reparatory justice to economic and social development, has been a guiding light to many human rights and social justice groups around the world.”

“I take this opportunity to applaud the CRC on its pioneering work. Many of us have recognised that the road to reparatory justice is likely to be long and arduous. However, we must stay the course. To this end, T&T has recommitted itself to assist the community in this regard and as a first step has appointed Dr Heather Cateau, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Education of The University of West Indies, St. Augustine, as its new Chairperson to our reconstituted National Committee on Reparations.”