Commissioners of Police or their representatives from several Caribbean countries are expected to participate in a regional strategy session on countering gang violence.
Beginning yesterday at the Grand Coastal Inn and ending on Friday the sessions will involve presenters and participants from across the Caribbean.
At the opening session yesterday former commissioner of police Floyd McDonald presented on behalf of the Ministry of Home Affairs. He outlined strategies Guyana will implementin an effort to curb the growing trend of gang violence among youths.
Participants discussed their personal experiences dealing with gangs in Guyana. One of the most shocking revelations was that United States gangs Crypts and Bloods had members in Guyana. Whether it was just a case of copycatting the American gangs’ way of life by giving themselves popular U.S. names or having a direct link to the notorious United States’ Crypts and Bloods network was not mentioned.
The Belizean presenter noted that some streets in his country are named after Bloods such as George Street Bloods” and “South Side Gangster Crypts”. In that Central American Caricom member-nation, he noted that gang members are as young as eight years.
One participant working with youths in the Albouystown area stated that there were seventeen gangs in that area while in total the number averaged around thirty. What was of concern to all members present was the growing numbers of gangs in Guyana and methods that can be implemented to curb this social ill among youths.
Slated for today members are expected to discuss process and protocols for the implementation of projects to combat gang violence. Youth gang violence is one of the priority issues to be addressed in the Caricom Crime Preven-tion and Social Development Action Plan (CCPSD).
The police representatives’ will be meeting one day after a number of presentations on subjects including Gangs: An alternative family form; Gangs, drugs and violence: A Deadly Marriage and the experiences of Belize and Guyana.
Jointly developed by the Caricom Secretariat and the United Nations Development Programme, the CCPSD envisages the implementation of pilot projects at the community level. Representatives are drawn from Belize, Guyana, St Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The stakeholders comprise leaders of faith-based organizations, private sector and government representatives- particularly from the judiciary and social and probation workers as well as other critical partners.
They are examining ideas on several topics including the culture and code of gangs and their impact on family life as well as exploring models that focus on anti-gang services, life skills and income generating projects. International and regional best practices for addressing gangs and gang violence are also down on the agenda.