ST JOHN’S, Antigua -- A series of national consultations on reducing youth on youth violence in CARICOM member states kicked off in Antigua and Barbuda on Monday. The consultation began with an opening ceremony in St John’s, following which training and data collection started in the surrounding community.
The consultation and data collection formed part of an assessment of risks/threats, resilience, and protective factors in the school and community. Specific and targeted interventions will be informed by the findings from the assessments and will target at risk youth, their families, teachers, guidance counsellors, community members, out of school youths, community and faith-based groups.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, programme manager for sustainable development at the CARICOM Secretariat, Beverly Reynolds explained that the project was expected to contribute to a reduction in the incidence of ‘youth on youth’ violence in the school and community in which it was being piloted.
She also expressed gratitude to the government of Spain for its contribution of US$436,000 to the project.
Honourary consul from Spain, Mitchell Hill, in his remarks, said Spain was committed to the sustainable development of the Caribbean Community. He said over the past ten years, Spain has funded programmes in education, health, agriculture, institutional strengthening, gender and support for regional integration through the CARICOM Secretariat and through programmes carried out in some of the CARICOM countries.
Meanwhile, director of education, ministry of education sports and youth affairs, Jacintha Pringle, in her keynote address, applauded CARICOM and Spain for the initiative noting that it was a step in the right direction. She also encouraged those involved locally to make a concerted effort to “stamp out youth on youth violence” in Antiguan schools and communities.
“If this is not controlled or eradicated, the safety of our citizens is in jeopardy,” she said.
The consultation will be conducted in four other CARICOM member states -- Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago.