Opening Remarks by Mr. Stephen O’Malley, Resident Representative, UNDP Barbados and the OECS, On the Occasion of the CariSECURE Regional WorkshopAug 15, 2017
The Honourable Adriel D. Brathwaite, Q.C., M.P., Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs, Ambassador Linda Taglialatela, United States Embassy in Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean and the OECS, Mr. Christopher Cushing, Mission Director, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission to the Eastern and Southern Caribbean, Mr. Mansfield Blackwood, Government to Government Advisors, USAID Mission for the Eastern and Southern Caribbean and Agreement Officer Representative (AOR), for the CariSECURE Project, Ms. Debra Walberg, Chief-of-Party, Creative Associates International, Master Christie-Anne Morris-Alleyne, Court Executive Administrator, Judiciary of Trinidad and Tobago (who will be joining us virtually) Permanent Secretaries, Commissioners of Police, Heads of Departments, UNDP Colleagues, Specially invited guests, Member of the Media.
It is my pleasure to welcome you to the CariSECURE Regional Workshop to advance citizen security data management and evidence-based policy-making in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean. This event brings together senior government representatives from Eastern and Southern Caribbean countries; regional and international experts in citizen security, statistics, judicial reform and law enforcement; and representatives of regional bodies such as CARICOM and the Regional Security System (RSS). This workshop is a major event for UNDP Barbados and the OECS and your presence here today is testament to the deep support for the CariSECURE Project. We are especially grateful for your participation in this activity and your partnership in transforming the data landscape to improve citizen security and youth crime prevention in the sub-region.
Citizens of the Caribbean deserve to live free from crime and violence. In our capacities as decision-makers and leaders in society, it is our civic duty to safeguard this right. But how do we do that? How can we work together to ensure that public policy and state interventions are effective and responsive to the needs of citizens? At UNDP, we believe that citizen and community security can be strengthened through a multidimensional approach, focused on addressing the potential causes of crime and violence. But this can only be done if valid, reliable and comparable citizen security data are readily available and accessible.
We cannot accurately determine the state of citizen security in the region without data, without evidence. Nor can we evaluate the efficacy of our efforts to reduce violence, crime, and feelings of insecurity without the relevant data – we need to know what works. The scarcity of citizen security data makes it difficult to determine which interventions are effective in reducing and preventing criminal activity. This highlights the importance that we have to give to modernizing and standardizing the citizen security data landscape in the region.
Through our partnership with USAID on the CariSECURE Project, UNDP is working with the Governments of the Eastern and Southern Caribbean, to strengthen the integrity and accessibility of citizen security data, and the capacity of public officers to analyze and use that data in the development of targeted policies to reduce and prevent youth involvement in violence and crime.
As many of you are aware, the CariSECURE Team recently embarked on a series of national consultations with senior public officers and technical staff from some of the organizations and countries represented here today. Those sessions provided us with opportunities to develop country-specific tools to enhance the collection, robustness and utility of citizen security data in national and regional institutions. These tools include:
- The Caribbean Composite Citizen Security Indicator Framework, which is a tool for reporting on citizen security patterns in the region; and
- The Guidance Notes on Citizen Security Data Collection and Dissemination, which will standardize the data collection process and instruct stakeholders on how to use the Caribbean Composite Citizen Security Indicator Framework.
Today’s discussions will continue these discussions, and will also allow us to share with you other innovative tools to enhance policy-making and tactical law enforcement.
Over the next few days, we will also discuss the next steps for Project Implementation, with particular attention to ensuring the long-term sustainability of our collective efforts. Some of these measures include:
- Setting up Task Forces in each country to support the CariSECURE project and your Ministries of Public/National Security in implementing an Information Management System to automate and improve citizen security data collection and analysis;
- Defining in each country, based on your inputs here today, the kinds of tools that can be adopted to improve the flow of information between agencies; and finally,
- Defining a clear set of indicators that can be used by each country to measure, monitor and, through strategy development, strengthen citizen security in the Caribbean.
At the end of this workshop, we hope to set a roadmap for the customization, endorsement and implementation of these mechanisms, based on the needs of each country represented at this event. We thus implore your active participation and collaboration during this workshop as we lay a solid foundation for youth crime prevention and reduction.
I would also like to remind everyone that CariSECURE is one of three components of the broader USAID Youth Empowerment Services (YES) Project which seeks to reduce youth involvement in crime and violence in target communities in Eastern and Southern Caribbean. Through the CariSECURE Project and our partnership with USAID, we will be able to accelerate efforts to build the evidence-base upon which strong and effective policies are built, strengthen citizen security and public institutions in the region, and improve policy-making and crime prevention efforts among our youth.
In closing, I would like to thank all the parties whose support, collaboration and dedication have allowed us to be here today – The Government of Barbados, in particular Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite who is hosting us for this event; the USAID Mission for the Eastern and Southern Caribbean, for their partnership and generous financial support in the CariSECURE Project; our guest speakers who travelled far and dedicated their services to assisting us over the next few days, the CariSECURE team for your hard work in coordinating this event; and finally, each and every participant present here today. We thank you and your respective Governments for your participation, partnership and commitment to the work of CariSECURE and above all, the wellbeing of the region. We look forward to your active participation over the next few days, and working closely with you in the coming months and years.