Crime And Violence~Why Does It Sound Familiar?

In 1994 a greenhorn politician who had the reigns of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) thrust upon him adopted what then seems to be a visionary strategy today, he designed the DLP election campaign on a platform of Crime and Violence. At that time the Barbados Labour Party (BLP), led by the young and bright economist who was anointed by the late Tom Adams, proceeded to decimate Thompson at the polls. It is academic to debate whether the Thompson led campaign was relevant, what BU undoubtedly know is that it is most relevant NOW. Barbadians wake-up almost daily to news of criminal acts perpetrated in ways that are foreign to our beautiful island. These acts if allowed to escalate seem set to destabilize generations of prosperity and commit future generations to poverty.

BU could focus on the current state of affairs at play in Barbados and proceed to write a long winded essay citing all manner of theories why the country finds itself in a troubled position. We however cannot resist offering a casual comment. It has been our view that Barbados with a ministerial “front bench” heavily populated with economists have become too fixated with building a “modern, technologically dynamic economy”__ it has now done so at the expense of a program of socially geared policies. Economists have always attempted to offset the impact of sterile economic policies by factoring and inducing positive externalities. Enough of the lingo! A survey of the populations in our Heights and Terraces which have replaced our Villages and Districts appear to be devoid of spiritual and philosophical moorings.

To digress a little__some years ago it maybe remembered that the USA hoodwinked some Caribbean islands into unilaterally signing-off on the Ship Rider Agreement. Trinidad was one of the islands which elected to depart from a one CARICOM foreign policy on this matter. BU believe that Trinidad and Tobago elected to serve its national interest which fitted nicely with its strategy at the time to become the business centre of the Caribbean. It saw being on the right side of the USA as a prerequisite to easily penetrate their markets with cheap Trinidad products. Bear in mind that at the time of signing the Ship Rider Trinidad would have successfully repositioned its economy in the aftermath of the oil crisis of the 70s and early 80s. To make a long story short, Trinidad and Tobago has become the business centre of the Caribbean and visitors to the twin island are confronted with country with a North American look, high rises and all. The sad reality however is that the rampant crime situation in Trinidad and Tobago has in the view of many pundits threaten to derail their economic prosperity. BU know of several Trinidadians who have migrated to Barbados and Canada to be satisfied in the knowledge that their children will benefit from an upbringing in more wholesome environments.

The above is a very long lead-in to what is BU’s substantial point. Prime Minister Owen Arthur as enunciated to the world that his government is focused on rolling-out policies which will drive Barbados towards first world status by 2012. Barbados is currently building a “flyover”, state of the art prison, world class air and sea ports, implementing liberal immigration and land policy to support mobility of labor among many other projects. The economy of Barbados is heavily dependent on the fickle tourist dollar and the supporting industry of IBC’s. While this development is happening criminal activity is similarly on the rise in Barbados. What is happening in Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica with escalating crime must provide the opportunity to our leaders to see the effect crime can have on our islands. There has been neglect of our police force by the current government. We have seen a great exodus from the force which has coincided with a lack of interest by John Public in joining the force. In a nutshell what we are seeing is a Royal Police Force which has become irrelevant to the current needs of Barbados.

We do not intend to be alarmist in the prevailing climate but some urgency is required by the directorate to address the social appetite of our country. The cosmopolitan profile of our country today will eventually lead to a police force which will have to change to become relevant. We have already seen St. Lucia, Jamaica, Trinidad and other Caribbean islands infusing their police forces with expatriate labor. The time for Barbados to follow suit must be very close. It will be interesting to observe how Barbadians react to such an event when it does occur. BU urge the Arthur administration to refocus on what is required to build a prosperous society. It CANNOT be done by focusing on things which are inanimate. Barbados has boasted that its greatest asset over the years has been its human capital__have we forgotten?

9 thoughts on “Crime And Violence~Why Does It Sound Familiar?

  1. A very timely set of warnings, and you may want to see the regional context more clearly in the recent study on crime in the region (see references in my own blog The crime “wave” in Barbados seems very small at present, but could quickly grow and overtake all normal forms of policing, as is the case in Jamaica. You may also want to compare the situation in The Bahamas (same size as Barbados, and higher income per person), where violent crimes (especially murders–40 so far in 2007) have started to escalate at a truly alarming rate.

  2. Caribbean Comment~interesting topics. You need to write some more because Caribbean perspectives are very view considering we are a small region which is diverse but still many similarities exist. An example of the out of control mini-bus culture in Jamaica and elsewhere but in Barbados we continue to ignore trends in our neighboring markets.

  3. I would welcome some foreign police, and a couple of foreign judges too. With no connection to any family in bdos, maybe we wouldget some real justice. No more of my ” he is my uncle, aunt, brother, half son” type senarios playing out. you do wrong, you proven guilty, you lock up. Sounds drastic ? might save our 14 x 26 mile island

  4. I would like to be the first to suggest that we get a Foreign Commissioner of Police. I mean one that come from Europe or something.

    That don’t take to kisses or secret handshakes, and who would lock up criminals regardless of what type of suit they wearing.

    Somebody that know about policing and criminal justice.

    Whilst we at it get somebody that know about mass transport to run the transport board so that putting numbers on buses would not been seen as a major achievement rather than dealing with transportation problems.

  5. Warrior~my question to you would be if foreign owned entities cannot buy our indigenous companies why are foreigners good enough to hold our top positions?

  6. David,Please re-read my post.

    I considered foreign commissioner, because the locals are already tainted with lines drawn as to who they will support and who they will not support.

    Perhaps by being a foreigner, they will not be hesitant to do the unpopular things because they would not be afraid of their family being victimized. What is the most they can do, fire him, big deal, just go back to their country and get another job.

    As to the transport board they have yet to show that they are capable of doing a comprehensive study as to what the traveling needs of the Barbadian public is.

    For instance, a bus going to St. John is caught by people who will exit in Tweedside Rd, Carrington Village, Two Mile Hill, leaving people who need to get to St. John in the Bus terminal for another long wait.

    It could probably be solved by simply making the first stop somewhere in St. George, which will cause those other “going jus’ dey” passengers to look for another bus and ppl who need to get to St. John can get to St. John.

  7. I agree with you 100% Warrior on both counts.

    What we need are people without affiliations to political parties,big businesses or fraternities.

    Since all of our locals seem to be tainted either one way or the other,the only place to look is outside the region.

    On the Bus issue,didn’t we have that kind of service before…I think it was called the express service…them someone with a great idea went and changed it.

  8. Pingback: The “Big Boys” Continue To Satisfy The High Demand For Drugs In Barbados~Barbadians Have Surrendered! « Barbados Underground

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