St. Vincent and the Grenadines is positioning itself to developing more effective crime prevention strategies and policies based on data.

Prime Minister and Minister of National Security the Hon. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves on March 26th, signed documents to formally endorse and fully adopt the Caribbean Citizen Security Toolkit, CariSECURE.

This project aims to strengthen the capacity of regional and national institutions in ten Caribbean countries to collect, analyze and use Citizen Security data for evidence-driven crime prevention.

The CariSECURE Project is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Over the past three days (March 26th-28th), a CariSECURE Team has been equipping members of a local Taskforce with technical support to implement the toolkit here in SVG in a three-day workshop held at the Beachcombers Hotel.

Speaking at the official opening ceremony of the three-day workshop, Prime Minister the Hon. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves highlighted a number of interventions that his government has made to fight and reduce crime locally.

The Prime Minister noted that those crime fighting strategies will be significantly enhanced with a proper Information System like what the CariSECURE Program proposes and said that his government is grateful for the initiative and partnership.

The United States Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Ambassador Linda S. Taglialatela, who also addressed the opening ceremony of the workshop, reiterated the United States Government’s commitment to working with Caribbean Governments and their Stakeholders to strengthen the response to crime and violence affecting the Region.

The U.S Ambassador said that it is only through a collective effort that crime and violence can be correctly addressed and that the CariSECURE Toolkit will help to provide an evidenced based approach to addressing crime. This, She added, is critical to the policy makers for allocating resources at the national and community levels and to the law Enforcement Officials for making strategic and tactical decisions.

China Mikami, Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP Barbados and the OECS also addressed the ceremony, in which she thanked Prime Minister Gonsalves and the Ministry of National Security for endorsing the CariSECURE Project.

Meanwhile Christopher Cushing, Mission Director, Eastern and Southern Caribbean for the United States Agency for International Development gave a brief overview of CariSECURE and how it fits into USAID’s broader Youth Empowerment Services project which seeks to reduce youth involvement in violence and crime in the OECS.

He noted that the CariSECURE program will enhance the technical capacity of Officers which will enable them to independently produce credible standardized data for analysis of crime and violence trends and maintain gender-disaggregated citizen security statistics among other technical skills.

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