Crime in the Caribbean Society

The condition with regard to crime is a very significant indication of the broader social circumstances of a country and its triumph or otherwise, in promoting human development. Over the past two and a half decades, the nature of crime in Caribbean has been changing. It has become more widespread, and presently the majority of citizens feel uneasy regarding it, mainly as it has become manifest that the current institutional capacity is insufficient to cope with the situation.

Over this period also, crime has moved from incidents such as simple larceny, robbery, `break and enter', and to a lesser extent, homicides/murders, to crimes such as the smuggling of contraband goods and foreign currencies across borders, increase in white collar crimes, and more recently, body smuggling (back-tracking), murder and `movie style execution,' money laundering, rape, drug production/trafficking/smuggling through the International Airport, dealings in false travel documents, sea pirating and large scale illegal gold exports, among others. The relationship between tourism and crime is of somewhat recent origin.

In examining this relationship in various states found that property related offenses were more strongly related to tourism, while violent offenses were only marginally related to tourism. GENERAL DISCUSSION The Commonwealth Caribbean Islands have a distinctive history. Permanently influenced by the experiences of colonialism and slavery, the Caribbean has produced a collection of societies that are markedly different in population composition from those in any other region of the world. Lying on the sparsely settled periphery of an irregularly populated continent, the region was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492.

After that, it became the springboard for the European invasion and domination of the Americas, a transformation described as the thorough reshaping of America. Starting with the Spanish and Portuguese and continuing with the arrival more than a century later of other Europeans, the local peoples of the Americas experienced a series of upheavals. Price, Sally (1985) said that the European intrusion suddenly interrupted the pattern of their historical development and linked them inextricably with the world beyond the Atlantic Ocean.

It also rigorously altered their physical environment, introducing both new foods and new epidemic diseases. As an outcome, the native Indian populations swiftly declined and practically disappeared from the Caribbean, even though they bequeathed to the region a distinct cultural heritage that is still seen and felt. By the eighteenth century, the region contained colonies that were vitally significant for all of the European powers for the reason that the colonies generated great wealth from the production and sale of sugar.

The early English colonies, peopled and controlled by white settlers, were microcosms of English society, with little yeoman farming economies based mostly on tobacco and cotton. According to Goveia, Elsa V. (1965), a chief transformation occurred, conversely, with the establishment of the sugar plantation system. To meet the system's huge manpower requirements, vast numbers of black African slaves were imported during the eighteenth century, thus reshaping the region's demographic, social, and cultural profile. According to Hayward, J.

(1985), even though the white populations maintained their social and political superiority, they became a numerical minority in all of the islands. Following the ending of slavery in the mid-nineteenth century, the colonies turned to imported indentured labor from India, China, and the East Indies, further diversifying the region's culture and society. The result of all these immigrations is a remarkable cultural heterogeneity in contemporary Caribbean society. According to Wise, K. S. (1940), a massive anti-slavery rebellion in Jamaica destroyed numerous sugar estates, motivating Parliament to sanction the Emancipation Act of 1834.

After a four-year "apprenticeship" throughout which the slaves were still bound to plantation life, they were released unconditionally. Cuba was still importing slaves until 1865, and did not officially eliminate slavery until 1888. According to Mintz, Sidney W. (1974), the French possessions did not free their slaves until 1848, followed by the Dutch in 1863 and Puerto Rico in 1873. Numerous freed slaves purchased parcels of land for subsistence farming. On several of the smaller Caribbean islands, on the other hand, there was little land left to buy, so they had to return to plantation work.

Demands for political reform quickened after World War I with the appearance of a nascent middle class and the rise of trade unions. In the mid-1930s, the islands turned out to be engulfed by riots spawned by the region's complicated economic conditions. The riots demonstrated the bankruptcy of the old sugar plantation system and sounded the death knell for colonial government. Beginning in the 1940s, the British permitted increasing levels of self-government and encouraged the materialization of moderate black political leaders.

As an introduction to political independence for the region, the British established a federation in 1958 composing of ten island groupings. The West Indies Federation succumbed, on the other hand, to the parochial concerns of the two largest members–Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago–both of which declared independence in 1962. Between 1966 and 1983, eight additional independent nations were carved out of the British Caribbean. All through the first half of the twentieth century, the United States asserted its interest in the Caribbean by frequently intervening in the affairs of the Hispanic islands.

It did not involve itself, however, in the British colonies, a difference that may explain the relatively harmonious state of relations between the United States and the Commonwealth Caribbean islands when compared with the frequently contentious tone evident in United States- Latin American interactions. Throughout World War II, and particularly after 1960, the United States began to assume Britain's security and defense responsibilities for the Commonwealth Caribbean. Nonetheless, Britain continued to give police training and remained a significant trading partner with the region.

The political systems of the Commonwealth Caribbean nations paradoxically are both established and fragile. All have inherited strong democratic traditions and parliamentary systems of government formed on the Westminster model. Political succession commonly has been handled peacefully and democratically. For instance, Barbados' Parliament deftly coped with the deaths in office of Prime ministers J. M. G. M. "Tom" Adams in 1985 and Errol Barrow in 1987. At the same time, on the other hand, the multi-island character of several of these nations makes them mainly susceptible to fragmentation.

The British had hoped to lessen the vulnerability of the smaller islands by making them component of larger, more viable states. This policy frequently was resented deeply by the unions' smaller partners, who charged that the larger islands were neglecting them. According to Gomes, P. I. (1985), the most contentious case involved one of the former members of the West Indies Federation, St. Kitts-Nevis- Anguilla. In 1967 Anguillans evicted the Kittitian police force from the island and shortly afterward declared independence.

Despite the landing of British troops on the island two years later, Anguilla continued to oppose union with St. Kitts and Nevis. Eventually, the British bowed to Anguillan sentiments and administered the island as a separate dependency. Separatist attitudes also predominated in Nevis; the situation there was resolved, though, by granting Nevisians extensive local autonomy and a guaranteed constitutional right of secession. The fragility of these systems also has been underscored in the 1980s by a reliance on violence for political ends.

Grenada, Dominica, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines offered the most dramatic examples. Over a four-year span, Grenada experienced the defeat of a democratically elected but corrupt administration, the establishment of the self-styled People's Revolutionary Government (PRG), the bloody fall down of the PRG and its replacement by the hard-line Revolutionary Military Council, and the intervention of United States troops and defense and police forces from six Commonwealth Caribbean nations (Jamaica, Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St. Lucia, and St.

Vincent and the Grenadines). In 1981 the Dominican government foiled a coup effort involving a former prime minister, the country's defense force, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, mercenaries, and underworld elements from the United States. More than a few month later, members of the then-disbanded defense force attacked Dominica's police headquarters and prison in an attempt to free the coup participants. In 1979 Rastafarians seized the airport, police station, and revenue office on Union Island in the Grenadines. According to Mathieson, John A.

(1988), most of the island governments were rather unprepared to deal with political violence; undeniably, only five; Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago have defense forces, the largest of which has only a little over 2,000 members. In response, the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines signed a regional security accord that permitted for the coordination of defense efforts and the establishment of paramilitary units drawn from the islands' police forces.

Nevertheless, Commonwealth Caribbean leaders usually opposed creating a regional army and contended that such a force might eventually threaten democracy in the region. Drug trafficking embodies an additional threat to the islands' political systems. The Caribbean has become increasingly important as a transit point for the transshipment of narcotics from Latin America to the United States. Narcotics traffickers have offered payoffs to Caribbean officials to make sure safe passage of their product throughout the region.

Many examples abound of officials prepared to enter into such arrangements. In 1985 a Miami jury convicted Chief Minister Norman Saunders of the Turks and Caicos Islands of traveling to the United States to engage in narcotics transactions. A year later, a Trinidadian and Tobagonian government report implicated cabinet members, policemen, customs officials, and bank executives in a conspiracy to ship cocaine to the United States. Bahamian Prime Minister Lynden O. Pindling often has been accused of personally profiting from drug transactions, charges that he strongly denies.

The most recent accusation came in January 1988, when a prosecution witness in the Jacksonville, Florida, trial of Colombian cocaine trafficker Carlos Lehder Rivas declared that Lehder paid Pindling US$88,000 per month to guard the Colombian's drug operations. As tourism has emerged as the major global industry concerns over visitor safety have become paramount. Tourists, on the other hand, are much more likely to be victimized by crime than by terrorist activity. In the Caribbean, terrorism is negligible the major safety concern is crime against visitors, mainly violent crime.

A review of Caribbean Annual Reports and other studies on crimes over a period of twenty-five years (1970-1995), reveals that the change in the crime scene began in the 1970s after the then Government had instituted some policies of state control and ownership as well as introduced restrictions to cope with imbalances experienced at the time, for example, restrictions on imports and the movements of local and foreign currencies and gold. It was this situation that led to the surfacing of some of the non-traditional crimes, such as the smuggling of foodstuff and other essential consumer goods, currencies, and gold across borders.

According to Butler, Kathleen Mary (1995), the increase in state control through nationalization also resulted in the increase in white collar crimes. As the economic milieu worsened in the 1980s, the production of and trafficking in narcotic drugs also became evident. Since then the situation has been further exacerbated by the re-entry of thousands of people deported from countries where they have learned and practiced similar crimes for years, and for which they were incarcerated before they were deported.

As would be expected, reported crime is highest among the poor, for example, those who are unemployed and those who receive insufficient salaries/wages. It is also found to be deeply concentrated in urban areas. A major preoccupation of the Police Force at present is the search for ways of dealing with the surge and spread of drug production and trafficking and other related crimes in Caribbean. These have now turn out to be a quick and easy means to an end, for generally the poor and vulnerable groups, who find it very enticing to become producers or couriers in the exportation of narcotic substances.

The Caribbean there is a strong relationship between increases in tourist arrivals and expenditures in the U. S. Virgin Islands and property crime. It was the larger modernization effects, of which tourism was a major one, that were responsible for the increases in property crime rates. Tourism increased incidence of crime. The results were mixed but did suggest some increase in property related offenses including robbery during the peak tourist season and declines in the off season.

Despite all the publicity given to crime against tourists, there has been little theoretical attempt to understand the relationship between tourism and crime. In the examination of tourist-oriented crime tried to proffer another explanation based on how the structural traits of the host society persuade the practice of particular types of crimes against tourists. In the analysis of society he concludes that such traits as "ambiguity", "opacity" and "duality" contribute to confidence tricks selling low quality gems at exorbitant prices, peddling fake antiques, and so on.

All of these explanations offer helpful insights into the relationship between tourism and crime in the Caribbean. In various islands crime has turn out to be a kind of routine activity of marginalized youth, and in the relative absence of heavy policing of tourist areas, these youths prey on tourists mainly in those crimogenic areas/hot spots frequently located in larger Caribbean resort destinations. Scenarios are mainly germane to understanding why tourists are being victimized by crime in the Caribbean.

The last thing visitors to the region imagine is to be victims of a theft or robbery. They have come for relaxation and entertainment and issues of personal safety are secondary. Despite friendly warnings from taxi drivers, hotel staff, and assorted locals, visitors are less likely to watch the normal precautions they would at home. So valuables are left in clear view in locked or unlocked motor vehicles or unattended on a beach. Hotel rooms and visitor apartments are not properly secured, and cameras, money, and jewelry left temptingly lying around.

Additionally, being unfamiliar with their new environment, visitors at times end up on deserted beaches or in particular neighborhoods that most local residents avoid. They are also much more likely to be politely accommodating to hustlers, drug peddlers and assorted miscreants, thus opening themselves up to potential victimization. In short, they are easy and preferred targets viewed as having lots of "portable wealth" on their persons or in their rooms. They are also viewed as less likely to report a crime for the reason of the hassle/time involved.

If they do report a crime they are possibly less able to identify their assailant(s) (unfamiliarity, racial differences), or to return as a witness if the assailant(s) is/are apprehended and brought to trial. Smith, M. G. (1984) said that in terms of overall serious crimes, visitors are two to four times as likely to be victimized as residents of Barbados. Barbados Police Officials and a few members of the tourist establishments surveyed tended to believe that reporting of crime against tourists by the local media was too sensational.

Luckily, Barbados has been spared the kind of violent crime against tourists that has occurred elsewhere in the region. As noted earlier such incidences, mainly murders of tourists, are quickly picked up by the regional and international press and can have both an instant impact in terms of a flurry of cancellations and the issuance of travel advisories and a long-term impact as in the case of the Fountain Valley Massacre in St. Croix.

It takes both an adequate time lapse and a major promotional effort to convince tourists to return to destinations that are widely seen as unsafe, as both Jamaica and South Florida have also discovered. Most Caribbean destinations would do well to strengthen ongoing communication between the police, tourism officials, the various private sector organizations representing the tourist industry, as well as the hoteliers and other business owners so that together they can put into place a number of successful measures to enhance visitor safety and thus improve destination attractiveness.

On their part, police should be armed with up-to-date crime statistics by resident status to establish the intensity and pattern of visitor victimization and to recognize the times and places where various types of crimes against tourists are most likely to occur. Such information should assist more efficient patrolling of crimogenic "hot spots" particularly at night and even provide direction for the deployment of uniformed unarmed tourist wardens or guides strategically stationed in those public areas where there is a large tourist presence during the day.

These persons, frequently employees of Government Tourist Departments, are trained to give information and assistance to tourists as well as to informally police their areas. In some instances, the deployment of wardens at popular beaches extensively reduced the level of harassment of tourists and of larceny and drug pushing. CONCLUSION The increasing impact of crime against tourists in mass-market and emerging Caribbean destinations and emphasized the dangers this poses for sustainable people.

It also underscored the significance of recording crimes against people separately to develop a destination's understanding of patterns of people victimization so that local police departments can act proactively to protect people. Additional comparative analysis will be necessary to explore whether rising overall crime rates and visitor victimization are inevitable with mass progress, or whether crime rates are more influenced by island-specific determinants.

The Caribbean experiences show that as tourist arrivals raise and a resort area evolves into a mass market destination, crime rates increase in tandem, particularly property related offenses and robbery; and tourists are increasingly targeted by criminal elements. But this progression need not be the case as high-density destinations. The low rates of visitor victimization are partly due to low overall crime rates and the proactive measures taken to protect visitors as well as greater community involvement in ensuring an overall positive vacation experience.

Understanding crime patterns and deploying security personnel are promising short-run safeguards, longer-run strategies require social programs enthusiastically involving youth and considerably improving local community participation in the control of tourism costs and the capturing of tourism benefits. Such an approach is at variance with the current trend towards tremendous exclusive resorts for the rich and all-inclusive for the mass market. Making local communities greater beneficiaries of visitor spending is the main challenge facing Caribbean tourism as the 21st century starts.

If not, the cycle of resentment and hostility engendered by large-scale enclave and strip resort tourism, frequently controlled by foreign interests, will continue to offer an environment potentially conducive to criminal activity against visitors. Maybe the most effective measure to ensure visitor safety is public education, of both the tourist and the local community. The former can be accomplished throughout safety tips distributed to visitors on arrival or posted importantly in hotel rooms.

Such brochures should include the usual commonsense caveats regarding locking doors and windows of unattended rooms and vehicles, being discrete with cash, and keeping valuables out of sight and attended at the beach and elsewhere. Hotel management and staff are also a vital routine source of safety advice along with taxi drivers, vendors and other locals who come into frequent contact with tourists. Additionally, insofar as is feasible, the former can provide guests with security devices and practices shown elsewhere to reduce visitor victimization.

These comprise the use of electronic room locks, front office safety deposit boxes, surveillance cameras and the presence of full-time security officers. Public education of the local community can also play a role throughout billboard and other campaigns in the media and schools. Conversely, such initiatives can only be effective in crowded, fast-paced mass tourist destinations when combined with a strong comprehensive tourism policy that reflects community control over the size and direction of tourism and that emphasizes extensive local participation in industry benefits. REFERENCE

Butler, Kathleen Mary. (1995). The Economics of Emancipation: Jamaica & Barbados, 1823-1843. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. The increase in state control through nationalization also resulted in the increase in white collar crimes. As the economic milieu worsened in the 1980s, the production of and trafficking in narcotic drugs also became evident. Since then the situation has been further exacerbated by the re-entry of thousands of people deported from countries where they have learned and practiced similar crimes for years, and for which they were incarcerated before they were deported.

As would be expected, reported crime is highest among the poor, for example, those who are unemployed and those who receive insufficient salaries/wages. Gomes, P. I. (1985). Rural Development in the Caribbean. London: C. Hurst & Company. This book has twelve chapters each written by different people. Each chapter is about a different country. The chapter titles are: 1) Peasant Development in the West Indies since 1838 by Woodville K. Marshall; 2) Agri-Business Bourgeoisie of Barbados and Martinique by Michael Sleeman; 3) Social Origins of the Counter-Plantation System in St.

Lucia by Yvonne Acosta and Jean Casimir; 4) Plantation Dominance and Rural Dependency in Dominica by P. I. Gomes; 5) Economic Behaviour of Peasants in Tobago by Carlisle Pemberton; 6) Higglering: Rural women and the Internal Market System in Jamaica by Victoria Durant-Gonzalez; 7) Towards Agricultural Self-Reliance in Grenada: An Alternative Model by Robert Thompson; 8) Towards the Socialist Transformation of Cuban Agriculture, 1959-82 by Brian H.

Pollitt; 9) Political Patronage and Community Resistance: Village Councils in Trinidad and Tobago by Susan Craig; 10) Seitz Annotated Bibliography – Jamaica 5 Agricultural Extension for Rural Transformation: The C. A. E. P. Model by Thomas H. Henderson and Michael Quinn Patton; 11) Nutritional Needs, Food Availability and the Realism of Self-Sufficiency by Curtis E. McIntosh and Patricia Manchew; 12) Postscript: Conclusions and Policy Implications by P. I. Gomes. Goveia, Elsa V. (1965). Slave Society in the British Leeward Islands at the End of the Eighteenth Century.

Caribbean series, 8. Yale University Press. A chief transformation occurred, conversely, with the establishment of the sugar plantation system. To meet the system's huge manpower requirements, vast numbers of black African slaves were imported during the eighteenth century, thus reshaping the region's demographic, social, and cultural profile. Even though the white populations maintained their social and political superiority, they became a numerical minority in all of the islands. Hayward, Jack. (1985). Out of Slavery: Abolition and After. Legacies of West Indian Slavery.

London, England; Totowa, N. J. : F. Cass. To meet the system's huge manpower requirements, vast numbers of black African slaves were imported during the eighteenth century, thus reshaping the region's demographic, social, and cultural profile. Even though the white populations maintained their social and political superiority, they became a numerical minority in all of the islands. Following the ending of slavery in the mid-nineteenth century, the colonies turned to imported indentured labor from India, China, and the East Indies, further diversifying the region's culture and society.

The result of all these immigrations is a remarkable cultural heterogeneity in contemporary Caribbean society. Mathieson, John A. (1988). "Jamaica. " in Struggle Against Dependence: Nontraditional Export Growth in Central America and the Caribbean. ed. Eva Paus. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. 145-169. This chapter focuses on economic and political developments since the 1950's and 1960's that affected Jamaica's trade performance. The author analyzes the export performance of both traditional and non-traditional crops.

The chapter describes the Jamaican labor force and agricultural sector. "The majority of Jamaica's nontraditional exporters import virtually all of their raw materials, components, and machinery. As a result, the only added value associated with their operations is the labor input, thereby limiting economic benefits to Jamaica (157). " "Most of Jamaica's recent growth of nontraditional exports can be attributed to Section 807 of the U. S. tariff Code, under which only domestic value added is subject to U. S. tariffs.

Additional incentives are provided by the U. S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and various provisions of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act. Jamaica's nascent nontraditional export industry would be eliminated if U. S. incentives were withdrawn. The greatest potential for increases in Jamaica's nontraditional exports lies in the area of manufactures requiring labor-intensive production techniques. Labor costs and availability are Jamaica's only significant comparative advantage and will remain so as long as the Jamaican dollar's value reflects the true cost of labor (159-160).

" Mintz, Sidney W. (1974). Caribbean Transformations. Chicago: Aldine Publishing Company. This book is a compilation of essays written over two decades and that deal exclusively with the Caribbean. "All the chapters in this book have previously appeared individually in various publications. Each, however, has been considerably revised and rewritten here (xi). " The book is divided into three parts with a total of eleven chapters. Part 1 is entitled "Slavery, Forced Labor and the Plantation System.

" It contains three chapters entitled: 2) Slavery and the Afro-American World; 3) Slavery and Forced Labor in Puerto Rico; 4) The History of a Puerto Rican Plantation. Part 11 is called "Caribbean Peasantries. " The five chapters comprising this section are: 5) The Origins of Reconstituted Peasantries; 6) The Historical Sociology of Jamaican Villages; 7) The Origins of the Jamaican Market System; 8) The Contemporary Jamaican Market System; 9) Houses and Yards among Caribbean Peasantries. Part III is called "Caribbean Nationhood.

The two chapters in this section are: 1) The Case of Haiti; and 2) Caribbean Nationhood: An Anthropological Perspective. Price, Sally. (1985). Caribbean Contours. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. "This volume is concerned primarily with the insular Caribbean, plus those mainland territories (Belize and the Guianas) whose colonial histories most resemble them. It deals broadly with a number of aspects of Caribbean life, some seemingly remote from the political, strategic, policy-oriented considerations that are the backbone of so many recent Caribbean studies (5).

" The authors distinguish their book from other works that purport to "explain" the Caribbean but that lack understanding or information about the broader cultural context. The fundamental question pursued in this volume is "what do the international dialogues have to do with the daily experiences, the perceptions and aspirations, of the ordinary folk in the countries being described and manipulated? (6)" Smith, M. G. (1984). Culture, Race and Class in the Commonwealth Caribbean. Mona, Jamaica: Dept. of Extra-Mural Studies University of the West Indies.

There are ten chapters with the first and last comprising the introduction and the conclusion. The other chapters are entitled: Class and Stratification, Race and Pluralism, Problem and Procedure, Grenada, Jamaica, Trinidad, Guyana, and General Models. The chapter on Jamaica is an historical analysis of race, culture and class in Jamaican society. "Jamaica is divided into three ranked strata, according to Madeline Kerr (1952) white, colored, and black, the latter being the dispriveleged majority (61).

" The author provides a literature review of the data regarding racial and social stratification in Jamaica. Wise, K. S. (1940). The Slave, Stealing Act of Grenada 1784. The Historical Society of Trinidad and Tobago Historical Sketches No. 39. Port-of-Spain, Trinidad: n. p. A discussion of the Act aimed at "Persons who have come from Trinidad and lurked in these Islands for the Purpose of seducing and carrying off slaves and other Persons residing in Trinidad who have sent out artful negroes and Mulatto Slaves for the like Purpose".

The preventative measures aimed at controlling vessels and the activities of persons from Trinidad while visiting Grenada are described. The author relates the reaction of two nineteenth-century historians to this act, which they said was based on vindictiveness. However, the author relates various instances of slave stealing and the removal of mortgaged slaves to Trinidad which gave rise to this Act being passed.