- Ms. Lydia Jacobs, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of National Security
- Mr. Sherwin Toyne-Stephenson, Programme Manager, Crime and Security, CARICOM Secretariat
- Mr. Ariel Estévez Pérez, Head of the Political Affairs Division, Department of Relations with the United States, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Representatives of the US Government
- Representatives of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago
- Representatives of CARICOM, CARICOM Members States and the Dominica Republic
- Other Specially Invited Guests
- Members of the Media
The U.S. Embassy is proud to support this program as part of our government’s strong partnership with the Government of Trinidad and Tobago.
Our goals in Trinidad and Tobago are security, economy, and governance. We want to help make this country safer, more prosperous, and more just. Why do you want to do this? Because our countries are so close, geographically, culturally, in terms of family and business ties, that if Trinidad and Tobago succeeds, so do we.
Security is our highest priority—and reflects our shared interests and close ties. When we work with the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to reduce illegal trafficking or prevent violence extremism, we are helping keep both our countries safe. We are doing a lot in the area of security, and we appreciate the partnership we have with the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. .
The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) is one way the U.S. Government demonstrates it commitment to Trinidad and Tobago and the region. Together with CARICOM member nations, and the Dominican Republic, we are helping improve citizen safety throughout the Caribbean by working together to: reduce illicit trafficking, increase public safety and security and promote social justice.
The United States Agency for International Development was created by President John. F. Kennedy in 1961. USAID provides foreign assistance to end extreme global poverty and support resilient, democratic societies to realize their full potential. Although there is no USAID office in Trinidad and Tobago, there are regional programs under CBSI that benefit this country.
I know that the participants know this—but I want to make clear for any press who might be present. There is no USAID mission in Trinidad and Tobago, because the country is too wealthy to qualify for U.S. development assistance.
But I do want to talk for a second about one regional program that is taking place in Trinidad and Tobago.
The Trinidad and Tobago Juvenile Justice project was launched in Port of Spain in November 2014. The project is an important step in ensuring the rights of children under the age of 18 and applies the principles of restorative justice. It looks to strengthen legal and regulatory frameworks, such as Trinidad and Tobago’s Children’s Act and the Children’s Authority, build capacity in the justice system, and modernize approaches to juvenile justice including reforms to diversion, detention, and the rehabilitation process.
So we are very happy to have you here.
This Regional Technical Working Group (TWG) was established in 2011 to explore and pursue cross-cutting, comprehensive, and regional approaches to crime prevention with a particular focus on Education, Workforce Development, Civic Participation and Juvenile Justice Sector Reform.
The theme of this year’s meeting – “Evidence Based Decision Making” – is intended to highlight the critical importance of valid and reliable data in designing strategies to address crime and violence across our region. The focus will be on presenting the latest research, the lessons emerging from some of our strongest programs in the region, and to build your capacity to move from evidence based practice to policy.
We greatly appreciate the cooperation and support of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, through its Ministry of National Security and the CARICOM Secretariat. Significant assistance has been provided with the logistical arrangements for this meeting which is demonstrates their commitment to advance knowledge and cooperation across the region on these very important issues.
The United States remains committed to the safety and security needs of the Caribbean. We look forward to our continued collaboration and capacity building with all entities involved in the region.