The Bishops of the Antilles Episcopal Conference (AEC) applaud our Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) for their meeting and declaration on Crime and Violence as a Public Health Issue (April 17-18, 2023). We thank them for their leadership in raising crime and violence as a Public Health issue that needs: “a robust regional response that includes a public health approach, which is an all of society strategy including family, church, academia, cultural and sports personalities, minority political parties and wider civil society”.
We stand ready to work with our leaders to renew our Caribbean peoples. The perspective of and call for all leaders to come together to face this most dangerous social crisis is heartening and encouraging. We ask our governments, in each nation, to initiate a multi-sector team with Government, Opposition, Trade Union, Business and Religious leaders, indeed all civil society, to move the declaration into action. This team should facilitate and engage in a series of conversations in the communities where there is the greatest vulnerability to begin understanding the complexity of the issues and thus charting meaningful solutions to all forms of violence.
The Bishops of the AEC are ready to work with all leaders of society to form our people’s consciences and work tirelessly to build character and values through all our institutions.
We continue to pray that Almighty God will give us both the inspiration and the courage to face this most difficult challenge and to do what is necessary to transform our nations for the sake of the present and future generations.