Editorial Staff
2 months ago

Editorial Staff
2 months ago

Antigua & Barbuda Chamber of Commerce Partners with USAID to Tackle Youth Crime

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The Antigua & Barbuda Chamber of Commerce (the Chamber) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have been working together since November 2023 to tackle the growing challenges of youth crime and violence in the country.

The Chamber’s mission is to promote and develop the local business community, and it is now playing a crucial role in formulating strategies that combat crime and contribute to a more conducive environment for economic growth.

To achieve this goal, a series of interactive town hall meetings were held in both Antigua and Barbuda, where government officials, educators, law enforcement officers, business leaders, members of the clergy, and youth parliamentarians participated in roundtable discussions.

The aim was to gather diverse perspectives and expertise to inform the forthcoming strategies.

Martin Cave, the Executive Director of the Chamber, highlighted the connection between a thriving business environment and crime reduction.

He explained that violence in any community or society is always a deterrent to business and can discourage start-up investments and business continuity.

This, in turn, can be discouraging to entrepreneurship, which could have lifted the very community and helped those who depend on it.

Cave further emphasized that the initiative with USAID goes beyond business concerns. He highlighted the social responsibility of the Chamber and the socioeconomic impact of incarcerating individuals during their productive years.

He explained that this transforms potential contributors to the workforce into consumers of state resources.

The more persons are incarcerated, the fewer are available to contribute to the country’s workforce, which could impact other areas of society, for example, the payments to pensioners in the near future.

For the most part, those who engage in crime are persons in their most productive years.

So instead of building the economy through legal economic production, they become wards of the state and decrease the very resources they may one day need to depend upon.

As the Antigua & Barbuda Chamber of Commerce prepares to collate its findings, the next phase involves working closely with law enforcement officials and other interest groups to develop targeted strategies that may help to reduce criminal activities.

The Chamber aims to provide solutions that stakeholders in the country can use to better plan a way forward for the alleviation of crime and violence in youth.

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