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ST GEORGE'S, Grenada (CMC) – Jamaica says Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders will have to “address and grapple with in a serious way” the issue of crime and violence and has asked that the matter be an agenda item at the next CARICOM summit to be held in that Caribbean country in July next year.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, speaking at a news conference following the closure of the 38th meeting of Heads of Governments here on Thursday night, told reporters that while crime and violence had not been a matter on the agenda for this summit , he had taken the opportunity to raise the matter here.

“I raised the issue from the perspective of not just a security issue but from a macro-social perspective that the use of violence as a means of resolving conflict, as a means of social control, as part of our social transactions that it is becoming almost a feature of our societies.”

Holness said that regional governments have to take a “proactive role in addressing this issue, so

I have asked CARICOM to place this on the agenda for our next meeting and heads of agreed.

“So this will become an agenda item and I believe that this will start a process within CARICOM to address the issue of violence and in particular violence that ends up in crime”.

Holness also disclosed that the report of a recent study done on the regional integration movement by a CARICOM Review Commission headed by former Prime Minister Bruce Golding, is now being reviewed by his cabinet.

Golding in March presented the report after meeting with several stakeholder groups including former prime ministers in the CARICOM region as well as former Secretaries-General of the regional body.

He said following the review of the report by his Cabinet “very shortly we will release it to the Parliament for the Parliament to pronounce on it and at the same time we will make it available to the other heads in CARICOM”.

Asked by journalists whether or not he would have seen the executive summary of the report, Holness responded “I have seen it and that's where it will remain”.

“At the appropriate time we will release the study,” he said reiterating an earlier statement that

“we believe that a strong Jamaica makes a strong CARICOM and so we will take actions that are in the interest of Jamaica, but those actions are also in the interest of strengthening CARICOM."

“I think that should be the sense that people should get from Jamaica's actions,” Holness told reporters.

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