Barbadian Prime Minister and Chairman of CARICOM, Mia Mottley believes the region needs to move with the same alacrity to address violence as it is using to take on the global threat of the coronavirus.
Ms. Mottley was in Guyana on Monday for a series of meetings with officials of the CARICOM Secretariat. She also met with President David Granger and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo.
At a press conference last evening at the CARICOM headquarters, Prime Minister Mottley zeroed in on the issue of violence in the Caribbean region.
She said the risk nations are facing from violence must be addressed.
“Even as we confront the risk of the Coronavirus in the global community and our region, in particular, there is a greater risk with respect to violence than with the Coronavirus. And if we can move with alacrity on that, then we ought to move with alacrity on this. We can’t simply speak of the Caribbean sea being a zone of peace, without addressing the fact that the Caribbean land must also be a zone of peace”, Mottley told reporters.
The Prime Minister said that “zone of peace” must be created and encouraged by all in the region and not just the governments.
For this year already, Jamaica has seen more than 120 murders. Trinidad and Tobago has seen over 45 murders in the first month of the year.
While the murder rate in the other two founding members of CARICOM, Guyana and Barbados, is significantly lower when compared to Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica, there continues to be a worrying trend of an increase violence and violent acts across the region.
Mottley explained that there is need for a broad response to tackle the issue of violence in the region.
She said “we feel that the response cannot simply be a governmental response but it must be one that will move from the church to civil society to cultural groups and sporting groups and artistes and every viable player in our society”.
The state of security and violence in the region is expected to be one of the issues for discussion at the next CARICOM Inter-sessional meeting which will be held in Barbados.