President Anthony Carmona is in support of Tobago being declared the “Hub for Peace” in the Caribbean.
Chief Secretary Orville London is also in full support of this move saying that “Tobago is ready; we ready to take up this opportunity”.
The suggestion came from Independent Senator Anthony Vieira, a member of the Mediation Board of Trinidad and Tobago at the First Champion of Peace Awards Ceremony hosted by the Board at the Magdalena Resort, Lowlands, Tobago on Saturday night. (21st September 2013)
Human resource practitioner Ann Diaz and the Rotaract Club of Tobago were presented with Champion of Peace 2013 medals. There were 17 nominees for the awards which will be hosted every two years.
In putting his case to the audience Vieira said: “Imagine if you would this island which has experienced so many conflicts offering its venue for peace talks; this would take the island’s mantra of clean, green, safe and serene to an entirely different level. Imagine if you would the island of Tobago attracting diplomats, researchers, international lawyers and students of peace studies in a resolution of conflicts in a safe, green and serene setting. I would like to believe that these are all possibilities within reach.”
Vieira added: “Peace whether in international communities or local communities remains an elusive dream. We find that peace just doesn’t happen, it needs to be cultivated. I believe that Tobago can play a role in this; I believe Tobago can be a place where parties can come and resolve conflict in a setting of peacefulness.”
He said there were places which offer the settlement of legal disputes such as New York, London and Singapore and recalled that former US president Jimmy Carter held peace talks at Camp David so why can’t Tobago be a Camp David.
“I challenge the Tobago House of Assembly to make Tobago the preferred destination for disputants to resolve disputes in a setting of peacefulness,” Vieira said.
President Carmona said there was the cry for peace in the nation especially along the east-west Corridor. “The crisis that obtains in the east-west Corridor has not escaped me,” he said
He stressed:”True peace cannot be achieved in ivory towers or behind gated communities, but we must do so in the trenches, as there can be no peace without justice.
“The cry for peace is one that is unanimous throughout Trinidad and Tobago, especially in Trinidad, especially along the east-west corridor, especially in an environment where young men are in crisis,” he said.
Carmona said crime has continued to be on the rise with the seed of revenge and when someone was gunned down a life was stolen. He said prison conditions must improve to a level where there was no recycling of deviant persons.
“Is the response to gang warfare to lock them up and throw away the key, or do we need to comfort and confront a deeper social issue,” President Carmona asked.
He stressed that the response to drug abuse should not be the stockpiling of prisons with abusers, or the finding of solutions to solve the problems of addiction and the family issues surrounding it.