BY R.D. Miller
The balancing act
Following the Coronavirus (COVID-19) spill off the coast of the Caribbean Islands. It included the same waves of fear, uncertainty and anxiety we have seen elsewhere. Daily and weekly news conferences and outreach have been key in reducing the risk of communicable diseases, including death rates and new infections. during the public health crisis.
It has led to an economic crisis, with job losses, business closures and restrictions, and highlighted structural inequities. It also served as the basis for the next local election campaign. Each side fault for the nation’s shortcomings from preparedness; economic loss, resources available to cope with the pandemic; including what party side ups and downs in the polls, or better equipped to manage the crisis.
Simply put, COVID-19 underscored the tension between political party leaders, local communities, the science and safety of front-line staff and medical supplies, and tourist industry, which plays a central role in the local economy. Yes, security about the area, when and how curfew should be implemented at the closure of local businesses and their sustainability.
But behind the cameras; doctors and nurses work tirelessly to combat this lethal disease in challenging conditions.
While the focus on the pandemic required the involvement of all stakeholders, the approach has been successful to date, and leaders have been applauded by international organizations for their initial efforts. On the other side of these debates, in a moderate tone, the headlines reported crimes involving victims of multiple shootings, thefts and murders that necessitated not only a public conference but also a strategy such as COVID- 19 to attack and diminish these atrocities.
While law enforcement cannot attribute the high number of illegal acts such as robbery, assault or murder to the COVID-19 pandemic, these victims outnumbered COVID-19 victims and represent another public health crisis.
The realism lines:
Although violence is rampant; unfortunately, some regional and local media outlets in these communities often compare places such as New York City and Chicago on how many people died that year. It creates a message of moral and diminished equivalence, simply deviating from local crime.
In fact, the English-speaking countries of the Caribbean, such as Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, have at least 30 per 100,000 inhabitants. These rates are six times higher than those of the United States and 15 to 30 times higher than those of most European countries, according to several data on crime.
Crime costs countries in Latin America and the Caribbean approximately three per cent of GDP on average, representing over US$350 billion in policing, private spending, violent victimization, visitors and capital investments that could come out of study-based fear and instability.
According to police statistics from January 1 – March 2020, 306 people were killed across Jamaica. Between January and February 2020, reports show that Trinidad and Tobago recorded over 73 murders. If this trend continues, it may surpass 2019, 536 murders – the second highest in this country’s history.
By contrast, Bermuda, Barbados, Cayman Island, Curaçao and other countries have lower rates. Of course, they are less populous, and although some remain under colonial rule can point to better managed government. Despite the reported smuggling of illicit drugs and firearms, organized crime and criminal gangs along the ocean, these islands have a much better handle on crime. Bermuda also recorded its first murder in two years; five in 2018, and zero (0) murders in 2019.
The Bahamas, Belize, El Salvador, Colombia, Guatemala, Guyana, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Panama, and US Virgin Island, local leaders cannot afford to lose sight of what experts assess as a troubling murder rate per 100,000.
Under the active radar, Haiti’s CNN report, tension rises February 2020; Armed Forces conflict with the desolate country’s National Police after a violent attack on its headquarters, leaving one wounded soldier dead in Port au Prince.
Furthermore published reports noted that millions threatened by hunger in 2020 due to a spiraling economic and political crisis ten years after their terrible disaster could lead to more civil unrest.
The attention deficit
Every electoral cycle is like a revolving door, and it doesn’t make a lot of difference. Economic disparities, rampant poverty, reported corruption. Leaders on both sides blame one another and this creates stagnation on these disastrous issues. What it could have been for past and present socioeconomic and criminal issues.
But at what point does good governance come into play once an election is over?
It is clear that the economies are losing ground during the COVID-19 pandemic and that not all economic policy decisions will be fully supported. But horrific crime has not waned since violent criminals fell victim to COVID. These criminals (thugs) abduct students, intellectuals, sports icons, youth, seniors, entrepreneurs and women in large numbers in cases of domestic violence, according to local reports.
The ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor remains a crucial issue where criminals, who feel excluded from the economy to establish few support groups to develop a positive path, and so crime and violence becomes more and more attractive.
While many victims seek answers, you rarely find both political sides or riding leaders calling for the disruption of these criminal gangs in all outlying parishes and counties. In achieving a common conviction, I believe we will make a strong statement to these criminals that the chaos they cause will not be tolerated. However, polarized policy remains a balance between authentic fear, social intelligence and political manipulation. Many leaders look for targets by pushing back in order to peddle a good story under rot.
While COVID-19 has caused global uncertainty and anxiety, it appears to be a personal competition where positive feedback is appreciated, with an emphasis on issues in other regions, while public concerns or critical questions are mute about crimes. These leaders will risk their own health by avoiding social distancing in neglected communities where criminal waves have occurred to solicit their future votes.
Personal responsibility now boils down to a few tweets while vague statements were making their way through the media. It is as if some politicians are the smartest people in those communities who control the headlines of reality.
However, there is no total misfortune on these shores; the economy will rebound and the residence are resilient. Despite setbacks, there are areas of port modernization and revitalization, highways and technological upgrades.
A tight rope
Not everyone will accept the challenges brought about by this pandemic coupled with serious systematic issues. Caught in the middle are those local law enforcement officers who must consistently wear multiple hats; key mediator, advisor, diversity coordinator and youth advocate; group leader; and local volunteers, while consistently explaining the thin line between perceptions of the community and reality.
The fight against crime, from Latin America to the Caribbean and many poor and developing countries, remains a crossroads between a former era of political policing and a modern community policing system.
Officers must follow a close community and political line, while emotionally stressed, exposed to imminent danger, overexerted hostility, and possibly underpaid. Their central role in many of these communities will require a tactic such as discovering a COVID-19 vaccine as organized criminals who may suffer from mental illness and are willing to take anyone’s life.
Typically, a pandemic creates a window of assembly in this rebalancing of global society, but violent criminals use this unprecedented period of unease, anxiety, uncertainty and stress to unleash chaos on local communities.
Unfortunately, few will stand up for those accused of horrific criminal acts or camouflage or refuse to provide valuable information to make local law enforcement more effective. Instead, some address difficult law enforcement duties requiring the release of an accused where sufficient evidence indicates guilt. Unfortunately, these communities can have mass murderers on the local streets if these crimes are not resolved with the support of the community.
The hidden victims
In keeping with the COVID-19 rule, a 75-year-old grandmother held back tears after Ahkeem Lindsay, a 22-year-old man shot to death on March 26, 2020. She spoke of her frustration at the continuing violence, according to the Jamaican Gleaner. Her story resonates with others.
There are also instances of families and violence which are on the rise. Often, a quick media clip appeared and published as empathy, but only gives the impression of concern, while victims are left in this environment without any follow-up support.
There is no doubt that the economic and psychological implications of COVID-19 are still being evaluated. Experts also noted that, unconsciously, emotional tension can lead to spousal abuse because people who are now at home with little or no support are unemployed.
All right, COVID-19 coverage is great, but horrific crimes need more than “we’re tough on crime”, but do they usually know these criminals? In order to eradicate these pockets of criminals, a freehand approach is needed.
The overlook criminogenic risk:
These local criminals routinely exhibit criminogenic risk factors for anti-social and personality behaviour. They are unemployed and have inadequate education, poor work skills, substance abuse, mental health issues, an apparent lack of moral discipline, and the potential victim of crime.
Many spoke of the frustration of their leaders in the face of expectations and despair that the same policy would be recycled. Risk management requires a multi-faceted approach ranging from rehabilitation, professional and professional development to greater investment in the participation of law enforcement agencies.
Crime reduction does not always take the form of incarceration. Many incarcerated offenders struggle after the reintegration process with stigmatization and resources to turn their lives around to change course. Furthermore, practitioners must clean up the inhuman treatment of offenders..
The use of a general classification of all convicted offenders, whether inside or outside the prison walls, also creates tension and isolation.These troubled individuals often have limited adaptive abilities and are quick to commit crimes against anyone, including family members in any conflict, including vigilante justice.
Studies have shown that modernized institutions and policies aimed at transforming offenders once they return to society have seen low rates of recidivism. Bordelias Correctional Institution in St. Lucia is an institution that I have visited and reviewed and uses an efficient modernized system.
The recruitment of good staff is as important as the assessment and treatment of mental health, substance abuse and other interventions targeting a criminal base towards system modernization that will create a paradigm shift to address the causes of this problem.
Today, firearms have replaced an individual who was walking down the hill with a baton after any minor conflict. And with the lack of resources for resolution, any disagreement tends to degenerate into brutal personal aggression and killings.
Yes, the island’s pride is still an asset, but also a handicap when critical data presents a fundamental problem that few divert elsewhere.
Today, more high-powered weapons are displayed on social media only seen in war zones, and although few have been seized by authorities; there may be darker days to come if law enforcement is under control. I do not know whether arming business owners or handing over more guns to citizens is a solution. In many cases, they are targeted for their weapons.
Community and constituency leaders needs to work together to condemn these barbaric ideologies that target police; reduce robberies; murders, and kidnapping. I began wondering if they too are living in fear, or some hidden alliance for their own protection.
Although COVID-19 has allowed many people to remain in their homes, some homes had already been mentally quarantined before the pandemic allowed steel bars to become helpless victims of crime. Unfortunately, socialization will exclusively take place in the shortlisted groups if influential leadership continues to minimize and deflect. They must accept reality in order to begin working together to change course.
Still looking to land safely
Crime in general, regardless of location, pushes back any country by encouraging visitors, investment to create jobs and upward mobility, particularly for young people. For those who search and are always bound by heritage, roots, or culture, many expats want nothing but the best.
This problem requires a holistic approach like tackling this pandemic for a healthier future because it is no longer the (us) in comparison to (them).