Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has said a crime-fighting expert will be brought into the country soon to discuss crime and violence as a public health issue. He was speaking at a press conference held in Barbados on Saturday.
Asked by reporters for advice on dealing with a crime problem in Barbados, Rowley said, “The people from T&T will raise their eyebrows at you asking me for advice in crime-fighting. The only thing I would say the level of violence in society is a feature of the modern world.”
He added, “In our area, we have a number of stimulants of this violence. We should be cognizant of that. We are now accepting that it is something we have to address on an ongoing basis. It is not about locking up people, shooting criminals and incarcerating the population. There are deeper issues involved that takes us to the source. It is not overnight solutions. We have been extending a lot of resources and effort and holding the line against the criminals.”
Rowley also said what was frightening was that crime was largely driven by young people.
“That is the frightening thing. The next generation is (fuelling crime). They don’t have a value system or the value of life. We are being penetrated by our larger neighbours so the drugs and firearms trade is coming into our space and creating problems which we did not have 40 or 50 years ago. There is no temporary or quick fix situation for crime,” he added.
The Prime Minister also said crime was poisoning society.
“It is like an exotic disease that comes into an environment for plants and animals and once it is in the environment we have to face it. That is what we are facing now. Prime Minister Mottley just spoke about viewing violence as a public health issue that affects so many people. It is so frequent and we have to treat it as a public health issue,” Rowley said.
He said last week he spoke with National Security Minister Stuart Young and discussed bringing in expert help.
“We are inviting an expert in T&T to open a conversation on this issue which is looking at crime and violence as a public health issue. We have nothing in T&T that we can offer you that is different from what you are facing here. We are all facing the same thing,” Rowley said.
Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley said her government was tackling crime using heavy law enforcement and strong social work. She said the region needed to look at crime as a public health issue.