Opening Remarks by Mr. Stephen O’Malley, Resident Representative, UNDP Barbados and the OECS, On the Occasion of the CariSECURE Ministerial Study Tour to BelizeAug 28, 2017
I would like to join those who spoke before me in welcoming you to the CariSECURE Ministerial Study Tour to Belize. We are very happy that you all were able to commit time out of your very hectic schedules to be here with us for this event.
Daily, we are shadowed with media reports of violent and criminal activities involving young people across the Caribbean. Debates on youth delinquency and victimization can be heard from the halls of parliament to the corridors of schools to neighbors talking over the fence. During those debates, we are presented possible solutions and counter-measures to reduce youth involvement in violence and crime. But how do we determine what measures will work? What can we do to ensure that the results of those measures are both effective and sustainable? One thing is for certain. We cannot work to solve the problem if we do not know what the problem is, where it started or what caused it in the first place. And such insights can only be revealed through the strategic analysis of valid and reliable citizen security data. This is why UNDP and USAID have partnered together on the CariSECURE Project.
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 the Eastern and Southern Caribbean. Through our partnership with USAID, UNDP is working with Governments of the region to strengthen the integrity and accessibility of citizen security data, and the capacity of public officers to analyze and use that data when developing policies and strategies to address crime and violence, particularly among youth.
Over the past year, CariSECURE has consulted with stakeholders from national, regional and UN agencies across Latin America and the Caribbean, in search of plausible solutions to address challenges that impede effective policy-making and law enforcement. Findings of the 2012 Caribbean Human Development Report and UNDP assessments within the region revealed that in some Caribbean countries, there is an absence of reliable data, a lack of access to reliable data and inconsistencies with information sharing between agencies. The Government of Belize however, has made significant strides in addressing such challenges. We are here today to learn from their progress, their successes, and most of all, the lessons they have learned along the way.
This tour will feature visits to the Police Information Technology Unit, Joint Intelligence Coordinating Centre, Belize City Crime Analysis Unit, Belize Central Prison and the Belize Crime Observatory. These visits will expose you to the current practices in Belize that support automated citizen security data collection, analysis and sharing amongst government agencies and with the public, as well as tools and technologies used to facilitate these processes. You will have opportunities to discuss the ways in which such tools and processes have strengthened citizen security data management, policy-making and strategic law enforcement in Belize. And more importantly, we will also have opportunities to discuss how similar tools can be adapted to the needs of the region and, through CariSECURE, implemented in the different countries. So please use this opportunity to ask questions and to debate what you see and hear.
By the end of this tour, we hope that you will be inspired by what you have seen and heard. And we hope that through the CariSECURE Project, we can work with you to turn that inspiration into positive action to improve crime prevention efforts and policy-making in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean. We thus encourage your active participation and collaboration during this tour.
We have deliberately kept this group both small and at a senior level. We want you to regard it as a safe space for discussion and debate.
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 Belize for hosting this event; the USAID Mission for the Eastern and Southern Caribbean, for their partnership and generous financial support in the CariSECURE Project; the CariSECURE team and UNDP Belize for their hard work in coordinating this event; and finally, the delegates who are present here today. We thank you and your respective Governments for your participation, partnership and commitment to the work of CariSECURE. We look forward to your continued support of this Project.