Caribbean News Online

Many parts of the Caribbean landscape continue to erode from violence and economic uncertainty and it is giving locals, visitors, and expatriates heightened concern and a reason to pause. 

Ongoing reported crime against humanity does not discriminate– against whether members of the clergy, women, children, counsellors, law enforcement officers, teachers, sports icons, business people, students, elders, or an average faithful worker and anyone else in its path.

Few will admit, crime and violence cost these shores billions in investments, and other tourists dollars according to experts where tourism is the major economic engine that accounted for upwards of 40 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

Being a victim of violence, whether connected by heritage, culture, family, a friend, or love can cause a long-term psychological effect regardless of location, race, sex, or economic status.

For some leaders, especially those who govern based on popularity, it continues to be a delicate balance regardless of what party is in power; whether managing high inflation, community political alliance, crime, community safety, or basic social services.

The Caribbean islands, specifically, the dominant ones and a few Latin countries cannot argue the uptick in crime and economic decay alone is an erosion of democracy or an inflow of migrants, cultural transformations, or weapons as reported.

The fact is, many who arrived on these other shores, fled or migrated from similar violent and economic issues for a more effective way of life, and are forever bound to the slave ship that once anchored nearby.

The Evidence Is No Longer Filed In The Backroom Closed Files

For decades, the death toll on some of these Caribbean islands consistently surpasses the calendar days and is extremely high compared to the population.

It seems impoverished neighbourhoods are being hit with both criminal and political blows like an ocean without a levee to sustain overflow. Many treasured intimate community associations have eroded, retired plans uprooted, or more isolated, even scattered for safety reasons.

Fortunately, social media today is capturing their loss of trust and confidence in their leaders, frustration, and erosion of neighbourhoods; including fatalities in real-time. The surviving victims are also turning over their stories to provide an alternative picture of reality cutting through inconsistency, divergence, or minimization.

The Numbers And Community Wellbeing

Though crime is ubiquitous; decoupling the data is horrifying. Crime rates in most of these English-speaking Caribbean countries are at or above 30 per 100,000 people. These rates are six times US levels and 15-30 times those of most European countries according to experts.

The death rate is also trending up and could reach over 39.1, death per 100,000 people based on several crime analysis reports in these high crime areas.

In 2020, alone, the insight on crime homicide rate per noted countries like Venezuela, 45.6 Honduras, 37.6 and Mexico 27, Columbia and Belize 24.3, Brazil 19.3 and El Salvador 19.7.

Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Panama; averages between 14.6 homicide rate (per 100,000)

In 2019 Trinidad and Tobago recorded 539 murders–the second-highest in Trinidad’s history for one year.

From January 2021 through November 2021, Jamaica alone reported about 1300 murders.

These numbers are horrific and no civilized nation should appreciate the region as the highest murder rate per 100, 000 inhabitants.

When History Collides With Today’s Accountability And Authority

Is vigilante justice the solution to bring back a sense of safety even if innocent people are killed?

This ongoing clash between law enforcement, legislators, and civilians in many parts of the region, dates to the colonial period, where alliances often mean more than policies, and power is more of balancing between image and reality.

Many locals contend their anger is not an enemy to the suggested crime-fighting strategy. Some even debate reintroducing hanging as punishment whereas human rights groups argued against it.

Implementing an analogous approach over and over and expecting a remarkable result will continue to fail. It is like many poverty-stricken people playing the lottery as the sole hope out of poverty.

Let Your Voice Be Heard For A Better Tomorrow

If there were a term limit on power in the region, it would produce fresh ideas and ongoing success for the later generation.

For a drug addict and rehabilitation to be successful, one must admit that there is a problem.

Though there are reports of some growth in key areas, it must benefit all and not only the wealthy who often control the narrative.

Upward mobility starts with “The Man in the Mirror”, a song by the late pop star Michael Jackson.

About The Author

R.D. Miller has been a member of the criminal justice field for over 15 years. He holds an MBA and an M.S. in criminal justice and leadership.