In 2010, recognizing the growing threat, the Regional Security System (RSS) partnered with Arizona State University (ASU) to conduct rigorous research in pursuit of an understanding of the scope and nature of TYGs and TYG violence in the Eastern Caribbean—a mandate given to them by the Council of Ministers. The seven nations comprising the RSS (Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, Commonwealth of Dominica, and Grenada) requested that the RSS conduct an assessment to determine whether resources should be dedicated to addressing the problem and, if so, that it recommend a course of action. Following initiation of the RSS TYG assessment, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) engaged the RSS to fund and expand the scope of activity to include Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago.
The primary purpose of this assessment is to examine the scope and nature of the TYG problem in RSS member states, as well as Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago, to assess their capacity for responding to TYG problems and to offer definitive recommendations for national and regional responses. The specific objectives are to provide an understanding of (1) the prevalence of TYGs, (2) factors associated with TYG joining, (3) the relationship between TYGs and offending and drugs, (4) organizational attributes and structures of TYGs, (5) transnational links between TYGs in the Caribbean and other nations, (6) factors associated with members leaving TYGs, and (7) the relationship between TYGs and gender.
The TYG assessment relied on a multi-methodological approach that included surveys of school youth, juvenile detainees, and police experts; interviews with key stakeholders; and official homicide data, along with data previously collected through the Latin American Public Opinion Survey.