‘Balancing Public Safety and Economic Inequality: An Ongoing Battle on a Few Troubled Caribbean Islands’


Whose fault is the ricochet?

Locals, visitors, and expatriates are all concerned about the continued deterioration of many portions of the Caribbean landscape as a result of violence and economic uncertainty.

Ongoing reported violent crime against humanity does not discriminate against clergy, women, famous artists children, counselors, law enforcement officers, teachers, sports icons, business people, students, elders, the average faithful worker, or anyone else in its path.

This is not a new paradigm shift, and it appears that every time a new favorite person is gunned down, a child kidnapped, raped, or murdered, and the community faces another year-ending reality of the tremendous number of people murdered, abused, robbed, or subjected to any other criminal act, the trumpet sounds once more.

Even so, everything seems to fade away until another harsh headline arises again.

Being a victim of violence, whether through heritage, culture, family, a friend, or love, can have long-term psychological consequences regardless of location, race, gender, or economic status.

It requires more than a statement.

The world appears to be spinning on an irrational axis right now, and only those with a well-thought-out socioeconomic strategy can keep up.

These issues necessitate a significant paradigm shift through education, resources, and long-term management strategy, rather than a quick fix via a Twitter post or filling a talking point until the next election cycle, without a coherent strategy.

Photo by Markus Spiske

I’m not even going to get into the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Furthermore, geopolitical turmoil seen in many places has resulted in people fleeing for safety and a better life, providing some temporary cover for a few nations.

The Caribbean islands, particularly the dominant ones, and a few Latin and African countries cannot assert unilaterally that an increase in crime and economic deterioration is the result of an erosion of democracy, an influx of migrants, cultural modifications, or weaponry, as stated.

However, in reality, many of those who arrived on these other shores fled or migrated from similar violent and economic issues in search of a more effective way of life, and they are forever bound to the slave ship that once anchored nearby.

The evidence is no longer housed in the backroom’s closed files.

Few will admit that crime and violence cost these shores billions of dollars in investments and other tourist dollars, according to experts, where tourism is the major economic engine, accounting for up to 40% of GDP (GDP).

For decades, the death toll on some of these Caribbean islands has consistently exceeded the number of calendar days and has been extremely high in comparison to the population.

Photo by kat wilcox

Murders, robberies, assaults, rape, and kidnappings have plagued several communities known for their laid-back vibes and brilliant sunsets reflecting off the green mountains and the blue ocean.

It appears that impoverished neighborhoods are being hit with both criminal and political blows, much like an ocean without a levee to keep the water from overflowing.

Many treasured intimate community associations have eroded, retirement plans have been uprooted, or people have become more isolated, even scattered for safety reasons.

Despite reports that few new policies are being introduced to address these issues, it is frequently viewed through a political lens.

For some leaders, particularly those who govern on popularity, it remains a delicate balance; whether managing high inflation, community political alliances, high unemployment, public safety, inequality, and other social services critical to moving these shores forward.

Maintaining a delicate balance

Managing these criminal elements is difficult, and the Prime Minister alone cannot serve as the sole spokesperson, followed by the head of the law enforcement community, which the vast majority of these criminals continue to regard as a foe.

For more than just delivering a good speech and campaigning for the next election, they elect legislators who will also speak out loudly and together regardless of the political party on these socioeconomic decays

Tackling these issues will need similar steps to those taken elsewhere, such as removing adverse social conditions, reducing the likelihood of crime, and increasing the criminal justice system’s capacity to detect, apprehend, mediate disputes, and rehabilitate criminals.

Minimization or a tendency to correlate with other societies do not resolve these issues, nor do sound bites and selective empathy when victims are in need of support and resources, whether to address ongoing public safety and other socioeconomic issues.

These victims, particularly women and other vulnerable groups, cannot be relieved of their fear and anxiety through the use of pepper spray, condensed social activities, and abnormal living conditions with more steel bars in their homes.

Fortunately, social media today captures their loss of trust and confidence in their leaders, frustration, and neighborhood deterioration, including fatalities, in real-time.

The surviving victims are also telling their stories in order to provide a different picture of reality that avoids inconsistency, divergence, or minimization.

A gunshot or knife wound to the torso eliminates any doubt about the cause of death.

Where other deaths leave questions unanswered: Is it cancer, COVID-19, surgeon negligence, lack of oxygen, diabetes, or a long wait for critical medical care?

The numbers and the well-being of the people in the town.

Few people possessed a licensed firearm along these shores a few decades ago. It was a well-known local business owner and law enforcement, officer.

Taxi, bus, and truck drivers, as well as grocery store baggers and street vendors, are now armed.

I’ve reported these numbers from experts elsewhere, but I’ll repeat them here to hammer home the point, and hopefully, it will change course:

Despite the fact that crime is pervasive, decoupling the data is terrifying. Most of these English-speaking Caribbean countries have crime rates of 30 or higher per 100,000 people.

According to experts, these rates are six times higher in the United States and 15-30 times higher in most European countries.

According to several crime analysis reports, the death rate in these high crime areas is also on the rise and could exceed 39.1 deaths per 100,000 people.

Countries like Venezuela (45.6%), Honduras (37.5%), Mexico (37.2%), Columbia (24.3%), Belize (24.3%) and Belize (1.9%) would have the highest homicide rates in 2020, according to data collected by the Global Insight on Crime and Homicide.

Puerto Rico, Guatemala, and Panama have homicide rates that range between 14.6 and 18.6 per 100,000 people 

In 2019, Trinidad and Tobago recorded 539 murders, the second-highest number in the country’s history for a single year.

Between January and November of 2021, nearly 1300 killings were reported in Jamaica alone.

These figures are appalling, and no civilized country should dismiss them as one of the highest murder rates per 100,000 people in the world.

As I previously stated, social media and this new generation are watching, and it will have an impact on upward mobility on all socioeconomic levels, whether global or local.

According to one victim, “they are hoping that gangs are annihilating each other, whether over drug turf or vulnerable victims to scam.”

Unfortunately, this isn’t a good way to deal with these gangs. It’s more of a fear-based way to deal with them. Is vigilante justice the best way to get people to feel safe again, even if innocent people are killed?

According to studies, approximately 40% of the Caribbean population considers crime and security issues to be more serious than poverty or inequality in their countries.

As politicians debate, the emotional and physical ramifications of the incident continue to linger, and, unfortunately, more victims will befall.

The question of how long barricades and soldiers may remain on specific streets is an open one until you create an image of a police state till they are willing to declare an emergency, but on time and the economic front, and have tangle result to show from decades of promises.

When history collides with contemporary accountability and authority.

In many parts of the region, the ongoing conflict between law enforcement, legislators, and civilians dates back to the colonial period, when alliances often meant more than policies and power were more about balancing image and reality.

Many residents argue that their rage is not an impediment to the proposed crime-fighting strategy. Some have even proposed reintroducing hanging as a form of punishment, despite opposition from human rights organizations.

According to scholars, public safety has maintained close ties with politicians since the concept of policing was first introduced in the early 1800s in Metropolitan London-England.

Despite a later decentralized system, improved training, and recruits, scholars noted that the Caribbean region’s community safety system has never left the Political Era.

The system requires a comprehensive overhaul, and most of these viewpoints have some validity.

There are both healthy and unhealthy apples in some apple bags. However, it allows criminal enterprises to thrive in the absence of resources and local support.

Despite historical distrust and toxic relationships, some of which are self-inflicted today, the community’s assistance is critical in producing additional intelligence to investigate and solve a significant number of unsolved cases, as reported.

Experts argue that the concept of policing was implemented in the western hemisphere to keep slaves from fleeing their masters, but today some scholars now attribute crime reductions to increased police presence.

Regardless of your point of view, and often or maybe sometimes valid reasons for demanding an answer, many public servants have families to whom they want to return home at the end of their shifts.

Only you know what it will take to break some of the mental anguish noted in historic rusty chains.

This onion is being peeled in preparation for a decent economical meal.

Repeatedly implementing an analogous approach and expecting a remarkable result will continue to fail. It’s as if many impoverished people are betting on the lottery as their only hope of getting out of poverty.

Today, it appears that an economic blueprint to lift families out of poverty, improve the quality of life, or invite companies to locate or expand their operations in order to attract a skilled labor force is critical.

However, it cannot be solved by blaming the previous administration from decades ago on all political parties.

Leaders are elected to move forward regardless of a political party, and they consistently blame previous leaders or managers for the nation’s future.

According to economic experts, inequality is on the rise and has been a cancer in the region, as well as other places, for decades.

The harsh reality is not only the social divide it has created, which breeds additional violence due to a lack of opportunities but also the failure to recognize and address it head-on.

Photo by Andreea Diana Sintean

It has made it more difficult for many locals to strike a balance between personal autonomy and getting to the root of the more pressing problem on a daily basis, regardless of which administration is in power.

According to reports, the ever-widening gap between the haves and the have-nots has made it difficult to address the well-being of individuals, the elderly, or families in order to provide adequate care.

Additionally, assistance in areas such as counseling, fighting discrimination, job training, or limited financial assistance to create stability or upward mobility.

With each passing day, the downtrodden struggle to stay afloat in the face of the relentless rough tides.

It appears that with each new leadership, they gain more authority from the chaos and mayhem that divides people along party lines and social class, which has been woven into decades of stratification.

Sadly, another failed year of systemic violent crime and economic problems appears to re-emerge for many impoverished nations, much like any other business that must evaluate its strengths and weaknesses.

When these systematic failures continue, the locals who are affected must watch a different news narrative.

Legislators’ own wealth often looks to be the only thing that prospers. In order to amass wealth and influence, criminals appear to follow a pattern.

Prominent fight for safety and economic balance

The fact that indications of some positive growth in crucial areas have emerged must benefit all residents, not just the wealthy, who frequently wield considerable power in shaping the public discourse.

Since the British, Dutch, French, and Spanish once controlled most of these shores, the question “What if they were still in control?” has long plagued many in the region.

Even though several of those countries have since gained independence, their imprints on the sand remain visible.

Many individuals are beginning to lose faith in established institutions of higher learning and banking.

Several of these unstable islands have academics and citizens debating whether or not the British Pound and now the Eurodollar should remain the official currencies.

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich

What would become of these nations’ educational system, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and crime rate if they were to exist today?

This is a hotly debated topic, from reparation to taking a step back and analyzing some of these nations’ current adherence to the old colonial rule.

However, this is not an argument to cut ties with a country or region; rather, I am examining the impact of economic and criminal factors.

There are a growing number of young individuals graduating from college or university with high student loan debts.

In addition, students who drop out of school without completing their education or believing in their own abilities will only contribute to an increase in violence and a decrease in the number of people who are able to rise in the ranks of society.

How do social disadvantages, economic constraints, developmental structures, juvenile delinquency, mental health difficulties, conflict resolution, substance addiction, and a lack of work all play a role in these communities?

What is more appealing to the majority of young people: gang membership or total disregard for the rule of law?

This is a first step toward identifying the source of the problem, not just a single blanket statement or a few nights of curfew, even if the intentions are good.

Several people appear to be roaming the streets asking for handouts, looking for a way to prosper, while others wait for the next soft target to commit a crime.

Through a narrow lens, the complexity of governance

Numerous leaders appear to excel at campaigning but lack the necessary knowledge and abilities to deal with these complex issues.

With each newly appointed public safety official, top security personnel, and pledges to reduce crime, improve safety, and promote economic growth in order to lift people out of poverty, the communities that elected them remain perplexed as to what has changed.

Furthermore, if no one accepts responsibility, those in charge of enforcing regulations and providing resources are seen as part of the problem.

For example, in comparison to other nations, as experts argued, your corruption index remains in the top 4-5, such as crime?

Where do you begin if you truly want to set an example?

The intricacies of personal liberty, safety, new and reinvigorated crime-fighting techniques and an economic foundation to move these nations forward appear to be inextricably linked in an image in which the blame game trumps strategy.s.

As I previously noted, many elections in these towns appear to have been won or lost simply on the basis of blaming the previous administration for decades.

Despite the tranquil nature of the power transition, it is a contact sport with continual trades.

Each new blueprint is frequently met with opposition, and the question of which party is better qualified to address these public health or economic issues remains unresolved.

What is the purpose of the revolving, and what problem does it solve?

The grip on power in these concentric communities, particularly in some impoverished and developing countries, is a revolving door with no exit.

Players who fail to win a game appear to be benched after the final political whistle has blown, although they are often still on the field.

Photo by RODNAE Productions

Many of these socially wounded leaders resurfaced under various titles and from well-connected networks.

The argument goes that “you are more likely to be penalized for dissenting opinions” even though poor performance, corruption, inept management, and requests to change course have been documented.

Several dissatisfied residents claim that critical socioeconomic concerns are being pushed or redirected down the road for the next generation as a result of territorial wars.

As far as I can see, there are continual problems in creating a more sustainable community where everyone can live a successful life. Who should enforce regulations and provide resources, and who should be held accountable for their actions?

What comes next in policymaking?

Achieving prosperity for all should be the primary goal of social and economic policies. In order to break out of the bureaucratic and dysfunctional power struggles between political positions, collaboration is required.

Former British Prime Minister David Cameron made a comment on the Centenary of World War I in 2014. He emphasized the willingness and value of combining local ideas with national initiatives and government actions.

Social workers, school teachers, youth leaders, civic leaders, law enforcement officials, offenders, and counselors must all be present at the table, much as a surgeon plans a necessary surgery with other professionals inside the operating room.

Rebuilding the middle class includes tackling concerns such as health care affordability, job security, and even the formation of a medical bill of rights. These steps promote confidence in the system among all stakeholders, not just local residents.

Additionally, among those who may prefer to return to the country during their retirement years in order to enjoy life while sharing their knowledge and skills obtained while living abroad—as ex-pats—with a sense of protection and security.

For both economic growth and environmental preservation, it is imperative that funds be allocated to improving the educational system, protecting victims and teachers, rehabilitating offenders, and expanding locally produced goods and services.

Make your voice heard in the name of a better tomorrow.

If there was a term limit on power in the area, it would lead to new ideas and long-term success for the next generation of people.

Leadership should act the same way as someone who needs help getting better. It is very important for a person to admit that they have a problem with drugs in order to be successful in drug rehab,

Fortunately, the majority of these communities still have pride and tenacity, and even some of those looking in, as advisors, though they may not admit it, are still optimistic that the economic sun will rise, and the crime wave will set even on the few remaining non-fee beaches in the area.

The late pop star Michael Jackson’s song “The Man in the Mirror” serves as the starting point for upward mobility.

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