Crime In the Caribbean Part 3: Solutions

Today we conclude our look at crime in the Caribbean and offer concrete solutions, to both deter and control criminal activity.
1. We need to completely overhaul the entire education system, starting at the primary level. Too many of our young Caribbean citizens are shortchanged by a system of education that is essentially elitist and which writes off too many of them. This leads to a feeling of marginalization and in many cases this social disaffection leads to negative social behavior and crime. Many of the violent crimes being committed in our region are executed by young people.
Solution:  Make the teaching of Civics and conflict resolution mandatory from the primary to university level.  Introduce ethnic studies at all centers of education, and place a greater emphasis on the teaching of African studies within the educational system. Too many of our young people do not understand how our governments function. These subject areas will lead to a greater understanding of our societies and the role of citizens within the societies. A people who do not have an understanding of their history and where they fit into society will tend to disrespect law and order.
2. It is high time we stop fooling ourselves that we need standing armies/defense forces. These largely ceremonial show pieces are seldom utilized outside of natural disasters. We will suggest that the Coast Guards be maintained to assist with crimes related to drug activity in our waters. We are recommending a third of all military personnel be seconded to the police forces and undergo training to become law enforcement officers. Such a secondment will result in an immediate increase of police needed to combat crime.
3. Enforce stricter laws on those establishments that offer alcohol to minors and or those under the age of eighteen. There should be a minimum fine of $25,000.00, in the currency of the country, for guilty parties along with the revocation of the required liquor licence. Patrons under the age of eighteen should not be allowed to enter night clubs unless in the company of adults/chaperons.
4. Progressive legislation and laws regarding: excessive noise, defacement of properties, littering, driving under the influence of alcohol, refusing to wear seat belts etc should be immediately legislated, instituted and enforced.
5. We are calling for a yearlong amnesty on illegal fire arms in the region. After one year any citizen in possession of an illegal firearm should be fined $50,000.00 and or 5 years imprisonment. Any citizen committing a crime with an illegal firearm should be fined $100,000.00 and a minimum of 10 years imprisonment. These crimes do not include murder and or manslaughter. We believe that all murders should carry a minimum penalty of 35 years and a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. We do not support capital punishment.
6. Any citizen and or visitor convicted of trafficking in hard drugs should be fined a minimum of 25 years imprisonment and or a fine of $250,000.00.
7. We believe that marijuana should be legalized immediately.
8. We consider praedial larceny to be one of the most serious crimes in the region. We suggest that the minimum fine for any act of praedial larceny should be $25,000.00 and five years imprisonment.

9. Minimum sentence for any crime, excluding rape, committed against a minor and or child under the age of 16 years should be 25 years
10. Minimum sentence for rape of child or minor under the age of 16, life imprisonment
11. Minimum sentence for rape of adult, life imprisonment.
12. White collar criminals should also feel the full force of the law. Those private and our public citizens convicted of any white collar crime should be sentenced to a minimum of 5 years imprisonment and a fine of $1000. 000. 00.
We firmly believe that the above should assist with combating crime in the region. However we stress those citizens, who have served their time in prison, should be given state assistance in rehabilitating back into society. We are against overcrowded prisons and the ill treatment of any citizen who is incarcerated.  We therefore call on all governments to guard against police brutality and law enforcement personnel obtaining confessions by inhumane practices and violence against those in their custody. We also believe that regardless of the severity of the crime, all citizens are innocent until proven guilty, and have a right to legal representation, provided by the state, if for any reason they cannot secure such services for themselves.
However, we note that there are several socio-economic conditions that lead to criminal activity. These include: unemployment, poor housing, lack of educational facilities, cultural penetration/ the lure of foreign lifestyles, poor parenting, lack of religious instruction, household debt, broken marriages/homes, absentee fathers and mothers, lack of enriching community activities, drug abuse, corrupt law enforcement personnel, corrupt corporate/ public officials ,and as always, a feeling of social and economic alienation. 
We call on governments and corporate entities to join hands in the fight against crime throughout the region.

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