Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley (right) and President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Paula-Mae Weekes, in discussion at their courtesy call at Government Headquarters today. (B.Hinds/BGIS)

A number of challenges facing the region were discussed today when Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley received the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T), Paula-Mae Weekes, at Government Headquarters.

Ms. Mottley said regional governments were concerned about the escalating violent crime and emphasized the importance of the upcoming CARICOM Heads of Government Summit to be hosted by the Government of Trinidad, in April, to find solutions to the matter.

She proffered the view that the problem would not be solved by governments alone, but stressed that Caribbean societies had to take an active role in the process.

She continued: “While it takes a village to raise a child, we need a nation to save a family. At the Summit, I hope we can start a regional discussion that will continue. The politicians can push to get the discussion off the ground, but it is the society that must lead it.”

The Prime Minister said Government had established the Barbados YouthADVANCE Corps last year to empower young people between the ages of 16 and 20 to make positive choices and understand that they have an important contributory role to play as citizens, and noted that the third cohort of training would commence shortly.

She added that through the Ministry of Labour and Social Partnership Relations a National First Job Initiative had also been implemented to assist young people.

Ms. Mottley said Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago were working closely together, and noted it was necessary for these small states to unite to deal with various matters.

She stated that both countries would be sharing some of their overseas missions in the future, and the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago described the initiative as an excellent idea.

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