Crime In The Caribbean Part 2 : Trends
Gone are the days when we really had community police enforcing the law in our island nations; gone are the days of the occasional murder usually the case of overheated domestic encounters; gone are the days when villagers and the police were so close that youngsters ran errands for the local constabulary; gone are the days when the mere mention of “de police “or “prison” put fear in any so called wayward youth. Unfortunately those days are gone forever!
There is a price for development, and in our island nations, crime is one of those prices we have to pay. We are now exposed to murders, kidnappings, muggings and a dangerous increase in violent crimes against women and children. We at the Mahogany Coconut Group refuse to compare and or contrast crime statistics in individual islands. We consider crime in any island to be crime in the Caribbean Nation. Crime is therefore a Caribbean Nation problem.
The trends show a very determined effort by our citizens to settle disputes by the use of the gun. We were shocked when violent kidnappings became the everyday norm in one of our island states. Many of those kidnappings went unsolved because the criminals’ demands were met. In times of such atrocities, families concentrate on having their loved ones safely returned. They do not ponder the shortcomings of law enforcement agencies.
We were further shocked, when in another island state, a relatively successful Prime Minister, was literally forced to demit office because of an apparent relationship with a reputed drug lord. The attempt to use prime ministerial office, to short circuit the legal process caused that Prime Minister his political career, and no doubt contributed to his party’s defeat in the subsequent elections.
In most recent times we have heard about: patients being murdered while in hospitals because scores had to b settled at any cost and anywhere and execution style murders. We have cases of double murders being carried out in homes in full view of children and a child vacationing was hit by a stray bullet and died. Gone are the days when those living in the Diaspora, could send their children to family and close friends without fearing some act of crime befalling them. Additionally, the murdering and general crimes against tourists are reaching dangerous proportions. In other words, the criminal element is in full attack and this is causing widespread panic among law abiding citizens.
However, the march of crime is now in full force against the property of citizens as well: praedial larceny is forcing hard working farmers out of business; criminals are stealing copper and other recyclable metals in broad daylight. The increase of robberies carried out at establishments such as gas stations and banks has resulted in increase expenditure in safety measures, usually at the expense of scarce jobs.
White collar crime, long ignored or swept under the carpet, is now exposed because of the nefarious Colonial Life Insurance Co (CLICO) scandal , that effectively wrecked the retirement plans of thousands of citizens ; the equally nefarious ponzi scheme of a currently imprisoned American businessman and the several scandals involving governments and corporations, that pop up from time to time.
We have been expansive here to show that our Caribbean region has a crime problem that stretches from the lowest echelons of society to the highest. From the pusher pedaling his destructive wares, in some ordinary neighborhood, to the big corporate players who use connections, political clout and well trained attorneys and accountants to beat the system.
In other words crime is now almost in the rampant category. Some will say it is already there. We disagree. The truth is that the majority of Caribbean citizens both at home and in the Diaspora are honest, hard working religious people. Our fear is that our region is too small and economically vulnerable to allow these dangerous criminal trends to continue. The criminal element must not be allowed to become so entrenched, that valuable and limited resources have to be spent, to protect the lives and properties of honest hard working citizens.This will drain our nation economies beyond repair. We are also vehement in our call for governments to reject white collar master criminals both foreign and regional from finding any hideaways in any part of our Caribbean nation.