Bridgetown, September 29 - Today, senior officials, academics and crime prevention practitioners convened at a virtual event to highlight the beneficial work the “Strengthening Evidence Based Decision Making for Citizen Security in the Caribbean” (CariSECURE) project implemented over the past 4 years, and to announce the project’s extension until September 30, 2021, through additional funding from the U.S. to the tune of 1.45 million US dollars.
This brings the total United States Agency for International Development (USAID) investment in the project, implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), to US$9.16 million.
The project reaches eight eastern and southern Caribbean nations by working closely with governments to help improve the way crime data is collected, analysed and used for decision making. The goal of CariSECURE is to improve youth crime and violence policymaking and programming in the Caribbean, by equipping law enforcement to use disaggregated, comparable, and reliable national citizen security information.
“It is my pleasure to reaffirm the United States as a committed partner in strengthening the region’s efforts to mitigate crime and violence and to formally announce the allocation of US$1.45 million to UNDP so we can continue this great work.” Stated U.S. Ambassador to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, and the OECS Linda Taglialatela. She also noted some achievements of the program as endorsement of over 100 regional citizen security indicators to standardize crime and violence reporting; distribution of IT hardware and equipment to police forces in eight countries; and the completion of two national surveys that are helping countries fill data gaps around gender-based violence and victimization.
UN Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Didier Trebucq, underlined the important contribution being made by the CariSECURE Project noting that an average of 40 percent of the Caribbean population identify crime and security-relates issues, more so than poverty or inequality, as the main problems facing their country. "Failure to address this problem can result in the widening of the equality gap and can derail the attainment of the SDGs, particularly SDG16, while losing the gains of the last decade." U.N. Sustainable Development Goal 16 is to promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies.
“As we develop more robust systems in the region to protect our citizens and vulnerable groups, the work of CariSECURE is pivotal in guiding the policies and decisions that will see us on our way to sustainable development,” stated Resident Representative a.i. for UNDP in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Ugo Blanco, adding that the project has seen marked successes in improving data-driven policing through digital platforms since its inception in 2016.
Other key stakeholders were in attendance at the event including, Mr. Clinton White, USAID Regional Representative; Dr. Charles Katz, Professor, Criminology and Criminal Justice, Arizona State University; as well as Crime Analysis trainees representing eight eastern and southern Caribbean countries along with two regional partner security agencies, CARICOM IMPACS and Regional Security System (RSS).
CariSECURE is a component of the USAID Youth Empowerment Services (YES) Project and represents a partnership between USAID and UNDP, made possible by the support of the American People. Over the last five years, the U.S. invested more than US$50 million to achieve the YES goal of reducing youth involvement in crime and violence.