Remarks by Chargé d’Affaires John McIntyre
At CariSECURE Inception Workshop
Level 20, International Waterfront Center
It is my pleasure to give remarks at this formal launch of the CariSECURE project in Trinidad and Tobago. This project signals the United States Government’s continued commitment to reducing crime and violence among Caribbean youth.
Trinidad and Tobago is one of ten countries in the eastern and southern Caribbean receiving support through USAID’s CariSECURE project that seeks to build the region’s capacity to effectively address crime and violence, particularly among youth.
CariSECURE, implemented in partnership with the UNDP, promotes an evidence-based approach to decision making that is informed by reliable, valid, and comparable data and information. CariSECURE will support the eastern and southern Caribbean countries by streamlining and strengthening data collection systems, processes, and capacities of criminal justice agencies. Using this approach, Trinidad and Tobago will be in a better position to identify trends, assess crime and violence conditions, evaluate policies, and design effective crime prevention strategies targeting youth.
CariSECURE is part of the broader USAID Youth Empowerment Services Project (YES), which you heard about in the presentation a short while ago. The YES project forms a critical part of the U.S. Government’s Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) that addresses threats to the region’s security and reduces levels of crime and violence.
USAID’s YES project is very timely as we observe the increase in violence and its impact on young people. The United States Government is pleased to join government partners in the Caribbean to work together to address this troubling issue. We have a long history of supporting regional interventions pertaining to youth and citizen security. Our partnership with the Government and people of Trinidad and Tobago remains a significant focus area for us.
To date, the collaboration between our two Governments has achieved significant results. For example, through USAID’s Juvenile Court Project, a partnership between the UNDP, USAID, and the Judiciary, Trinidad and Tobago will open the region’s first juvenile court. The modern facility will identify the risks and needs of young offenders and seek to match them with appropriate rehabilitative treatment using evidence-based approaches.
To promote evidence-based decision making, we must first ensure that we have standardized and uniform data. Trinidad and Tobago already made the first step in advancing this process by adopting the UN Office of Drugs and Crime’s (UNODC) International Classification of Crime Statistics ( ICCS), which provides a comprehensive framework for producing statistics on crime and criminal justice.
Under the CariSECURE initiative, practitioners will benefit from technical guidance and standardized tools to improve data management, analysis, and monitoring in the form of a Caribbean Citizen Security Toolkit, developed specifically for the region and customized to each focus country.
An important item on today’s agenda is determining the road map for CariSECURE activities in Trinidad and Tobago. This process will help Trinidad and Tobago to adopt a cutting edge approach to effectively address crime and violence at the strategic, programmatic, and policy levels. We are excited to see how these efforts progress.
Thank you for your participation today; I wish you the best in all of your future endeavors.