Hans King, press secretary to Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves (File photo).

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent — Suggestions that the homicide rate here is related to the performance of the nation’s economy is not supported by statistical data, Hans King, press secretary to Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said yesterday.

King, speaking on radio, cited the homicide rates and the nation’s economic performance from 1996 to 2010 as he rebutted criticism that the Unity Labour Party’s management of the economy is to be blamed for the 20 or so homicides this year.

King, in making his case, cited statistics on homicides and economic performance here and said there is no link between the two.

According to official statistics and data from the International Monetary fund, this country registered 291 homicides between 1996 and 2010 – an average of 19 killings per year, while the economy grew an average of 3.1 per cent each of year.

This country’s economic performance since the ULP came to office in 2001, has ranged from a high of 7.2 per cent growth in 2007 to 2.3 per cent decline in 2009.

“So, are we going to give the ULP credit for the reduction in murder in their first year in office?” King said, noting that in 2001, the number of homicides fell to 12, down from 21 the previous year.

“There are those who are trying to link economic performance to murders and so on. But if you look at these figures, you will see that in 2007, when you had the highest rate, you had economic growth of about 3.1 per cent. You had a reduction in 2008 when, in fact, we had economic decline: — negative growth,” King said.

“You also had a reduction in 2009 – to 20 – when, again, we had negative growth,” he added.

“So, how do you link economic performance to something like murder? It’s beyond me because, certainly, as I am saying here, the figures certainly don’t reflect in terms of economic performance and the rate of murders …” he further stated.

He said that the local economy has grown for most of the years since the ULP came to office in March 2001.

“And, in the years when we see that we have not had economic growth, as in 2008, it (the homicide rate) went down, as it did in 2009,” King said.

“Essentially … you can’t see … any correlation between murders and economic growth,” he said.

“Perhaps you might be able to link certain kinds of criminal activities to economic activity. But, certainly, it doesn’t show here with murder,” King said.

“And if we look at the particular instances in which these things have taken place, particularly the domestic, it is not a case where somebody went and chop up their wife because they couldn’t feed their family so they went and killed their family because they were hungry. [They were because of] some domestic dispute; nothing to do with economics at all,” King further stated.

He noted a case in the United States recently, where a mother killed her children and then herself because they were not placed on social welfare

“This is not the kind of case you have in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. These are, most of them, crimes of passion…” King said.

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