With the support of the United States Government, youth development and citizen security practitioners from CARICOM member states and the Dominican Republic are meeting in St. Kitts and Nevis to share best practices and chart a path to further address rising levels of youth violence, reduce illicit trafficking, increase public security, and promote social justice across the Caribbean.
“Changing Social Norms through Youth Engagement” is the theme of the 8th meeting of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) Technical Working Group on Preventing Crime by Focusing on At-risk Youth and Vulnerable Populations, which today got underway at the St. Kitts Marriott Hotel. The May 10 – 12 forum is hosted by St. Kitts and Nevis’ Ministry of National Security, in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the CARICOM Secretariat.
St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris delivered the Feature Address at the opening ceremony. He welcomed the opportunity for his Government to host this year’s forum, foster vital exchange of information and discuss progress made in preventing youth violence in the Caribbean region. Mission Director for USAID Eastern and South Caribbean, Christopher Cushing, reiterated that the change being sought cannot be achieved without the support and full participation of young people. It is for this reason, he emphasized, that the US Government has for many years partnered with regional Governments to support positive youth development.
“Since 2010, the U.S. Government, through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), has invested $437 million, towards improving citizen security in the Caribbean and addressing the root causes of crime and violence. To-date, more than 30,000 youth, across the region, have participated in CBSI education and work-force development programs, with more than $50 million allocated to support these programs,” he said.