Media Center

Press Release


  June 22, 2009

“The growing prevalence and severity of crime in our societies is cause for major concern and cannot be left unchecked… If our countries are to progress toward sustained and sustainable development, the issue of crime and violence has to be faced head on.” So said OAS Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin today during the opening session of a regional conference, organized by the government of St. Kitts and Nevis, under the theme “Confronting the Challenges of Youth Crime and Violence in Society: Defining a Multi-Sectoral Response.”

Underscoring the importance of this issue for the sub-region, Prime Minister Denzil Douglas, St. Kitts and Nevis; Prime Minister Patrick Manning, Trinidad and Tobago; and Secretary General Edwin Carrington, CARICOM also made presentations during the opening ceremony.

Noting that crime and violence represent pressing social, development and governance challenges for the governments and people of the region, Ramdin called for shared responsibility and greater coordination to address the problem.

“An effective approach to confronting and reversing the rise in crime and violence cannot be only government-centric. If we are to make inroads to reducing and preventing violence our approach should be comprehensive and include all stakeholders in society: government, legislative bodies, judiciary, law enforcement, schools, the business community, non-governmental organizations, religious organizations, and youth groups,” Ramdin said.

He further observed that it is important to address not only the symptoms of crime and violence but also to analyze and address the underlying structural causes of these problems. In this regard, he emphasized the importance of promoting a culture of peace and non-violence as an intrinsic part of the development and democracy agenda.

Advancing an innovative approach, Ramdin pointed out that the “fracturing of our societies as a result of violence calls for a committed effort to advance a process of social cohesion within countries and throughout the region.” In this regard, he called on ministers of government, Heads of regional law enforcement agencies, representatives of international organizations and civil society organizations attending the conference to “transcend differences and embrace initiatives and best practices that work.”

He also highlighted the leading role which the OAS has played by fostering the emergence of regional security mechanisms and the creation of spaces for dialogue and coordination among countries, and the organization’s ongoing commitment to accompany the process. He also mentioned a recently launched OAS initiative which aims to establish a regional Caribbean Observatory on Gangs.

Ambassador Ramdin was accompanied by his Chief of Staff, Ms. Sherry Tross and OAS Representative in St. Kitts & Nevis, Mr. Starret Greene.

Reference: E-202/09