Despite all efforts to date, the Caribbean continues to be seriously afflicted by a seemingly worsening scourge of crime. Judging from some recent headlines, violent acts are increasing with regularity and apparent impunity – in some cases becoming even more gruesome.
Much of this is gang and drugs related, and no country appears to be immune from this predicament.
What can and should be done about this situation?
Some high (or low) points:
Regional: The Caricom Secretary General, Dr Edwin Carrington, recently declared that grappling with the upsurge in violent crime in the region is an urgent matter.
Trinidad: The government is considering permitting videotaped testimonies in trials to try to prevent the collapse of murder cases because frightened witnesses change their initial evidence. Estimates of gang-related murders in the county range between 60 and 80 percent.
Guyana: There’s been widespread criticism of the security forces in Guyana after allegations that police there tortured two murder suspects.
Jamaica: The Police Commissioner has resigned after failing to rein in violent crime in Jamaica. Police statistics show that more than 1,300 people have been murdered so far this year. Recently, a group of business owners formed their own security force saying the police weren't doing enough to tackle crime.
Rest of the region: The picture is equally dismal.
What’s driving this crime wave?
Is the Caribbean in danger of losing the battle against crime?
Are tougher measures needed?
Is more external assistance the answer?
Is this a task for the police alone?
Are governments overwhelmed by the situation?
Are you fearful?