Crime and violence are key constraints to both peace and security in Trinidad and Tobago, but also to development. Crime has risen dramatically over the last 10 to 15 years. It is generally agreed that intra-regional drug trafficking is behind the high rates of crime and violence, and that the explosion of the international drug trade has institutionalised criminal behaviour, increased property-related crime by drug users and underpinned a steady increase in the availability of firearms. The government has articulated its decision to pursue a multipronged approach in an effort to address the political, economic, social, technological and managerial dimensions required to promote safety and security
Trinidad and Tobago, in 2009 received a ranking of 44.8% in Political Stability from the World Bank. Rule of Law rated at 49.1%. Voice and Accountability was rated at 61.1% and Government Effectiveness was at 64.4%. Control of corruption at 55.7%, highlighted the level of exercise of public power for private gain, including petty and grand corruption and state capture. These statistics reveal the challenge of governance and the need for improvement in all areas.
UNDP programming in Trinidad and Tobago includes: project implementation and oversight for the Trinidad and Tobago Juvenile Court Project in partnership with the Judiciary; mentoring trainees of the On-The-Job (OJT) Programme and enabling them to work with UN/ UNDP staff on national development projects; collaborating with the Ministry of Gender, Child and Youth Development on youth programming; and supporting the Ministry of National Security and its agencies where required in the response to crime.
Project and Initiatives
The Trinidad and Tobago Juvenile Court Project
Partners: USAID, Judidicary of Trinidad and Tobago and UNDP
The Trinidad and Tobago Juvenile Court Project is an important step in improving the juvenile justice system. Through this project the court system will consider the needs and best interests of the child and assist in addressing the root causes of conflict with the law. These courts are seeking to use a restorative justice framework by which assistance is offered with the healthy reintegration of our children into the community. The project will build the institutional capacity of juvenile courts to enable effective and efficient case management in accordance with new laws and principles of Restorative Justice. It will assist in improving the capacity of state and nongovernmental agencies to support the court by offering appropriate diversionary programmes and participating in the adjudicatory process in keeping with the philosophy of a restorative approach.
Primary Health Care Strengthening Initiative
Partners: UNV, UNDP and Ministry of Health
There is a current dearth of healthcare professionals in Trinidad and Tobago’s primary healthcare facilities as a result of migration to foreign healthcare markets and a drift away from the public sector healthcare system to more profitable private practice. The UNDP is currently in consultation with the Ministry of Health to provide support through the provision of medical doctors to facilitate an improvement in the delivery of health services to the public in particular those residing in rural communities where extended hours of access are not currently available.
This will assist the Government in attaining several medium-term health care goals as laid out in its Medium- TERM Policy Framework and is fully consistent with the Government’s priority of addressing the issues of poverty through the provision of and access to essential social services. Also the problem of unnecessary hospital admissions due to excessive self-referrals to larger hospitals which is a result of person unable to access health care services at their local primary health care centres after the hour of 4:00 pm. In the long run it will free hospital resources for those critical cases that cannot be dealt with at the level of the health centres.