The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not represent the opinions or editorial position of I-Witness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected]
The crime situation in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) is a new kind of horror emerging!
All one has to do is to delve into muck of the present regime, listen to the headlines of the various media houses, the timelines on Facebook and the hashtags of Twitter. In my remote corner of the world, I am forced to recount in details the horrific details of the violent situation in SVG and the failure of the authorities to control it.
Here I exhibit caution!
An increase in criminal attacks and uncontrolled reprisals by gangs and other criminals has resulted in the escalation of violent crimes. Interestingly, this has close resemblance to the recent crime situation in Caracas — highlighting the January killings of Venezuela’s former beauty queen and her ex-husband, who were killed by operatives. Subsequently, Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro nationally described the killings as a “massacre”.
Additionally, global investigators have indicated that the violent crime situation in Caracas has fuelled the death business, which is consequent to a number of similar factors at home: drug trade human trafficking and corruption, which has been described as high relative to world standards. This is a serious concern for people of these two nations.
After careful analysis of Caracas’ crime occurrences, investigators has placed Caracas on the list of crime capitals of the world! A daunting phenomenon to digest!
Although, SVG’s situation is not extreme or to the point of a massacre, we are aware that if little or nothing is being done to curb the situation that it is inaction like this creates a massacre — taking into consideration that the Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, in his quest for power, reiterated that he would be “hard on crime”. To date, people are outraged by the lack of interest the leader is showing to correct this horrendous situation.
Crime causation is a daunting and complex phenomenon. For many years philosophers have pondered the idea of this concept of causes and how it relates to human behaviour. Coupled with this, international organisations like the United Nation have conducted extensive research about the root causes of crimes occurring globally.
What these researchers have found is alarming, recognising how different research areas complement the other and acknowledging that no single theory can explain the root causes of crimes, and the legal and moral issues that are associated with them. These roots causes highlight the disciplinary interaction among theories in a number of fields: psychology, sociology, biology, politics and economics.
In fact, all these fields are important to consider; however, the political and economic factors standout. On the surface, economic factors seemed to be comparatively atypical — envisaging a model of rational behaviour where economic factors strive to explain crimes, which are largely deemed irrational. More so, other factors suggest that crimes may be associated with some political ideologies, which are often used for political purposes. In this sense, any factors of crimes can be associated with a political theory.
Although, there are real statistics on the crime in SVG — referring to the modus operandi, empirical evidence indicates that it does resembles some of the features associated with the global root causes of crimes.
Ideally, these root causes stem from a few factors, including SVG’s daunting economic condition. The country’s economy has retracted four consecutive years, causing many people to become unemployed. Since the decline of economic activities, crimes have spiralled out of control.
Similarly, unemployment has eventually led to widespread exacerbating poverty. Although, the housing strategy exists, it is not designed to correct living condition in SVG, but an infrastructure intended to accommodate the chosen few.
More so, SVG’s drugs dilemmas are more root causes for violent crimes. Although this is evident and extreme, we have a leader who remains adamant in legalizing marijuana; knowing through drug activities, handguns and ammunitions are easily acquired.
In fact, the lack of leadership and its concerns, coupled with the absence of a strategic fit – have opened a gateway for hideous crimes.
Here, it would be irresponsible for me to conclude without making recommendations; however, it must be noted that it is extremely difficult to make accurate recommendations to this phenomenon having no real statistics to work with. In this capacity, I am obligated to surrender my thoughts on this topic based solely on my observations.
First, SVG needs to strategically plan for criminal activities — both from a combatant and non-combatant perspective.
The peace men’s management team must figure out from a military outlook how they would deal with crimes. This involves utilizing personnel effectively and providing them with the right combat and communication tools, introducing a crime analysis map and ensures that personnel are trained in forensics and proper investigation techniques, which includes recruiting informants. In addition to this, mobile police stations must be considered — this is an effective deterrent of crimes since criminals are aware that law enforcement is following them.
Conversely, non-combatant methods should be considered. Importantly, the community involvement is at the core of this strategy. Crimes cannot be solved without information; hence, community policing is an important strategy to consider and adapt.
Lastly, leaders do influence people, especially political leaders as we are experiencing in SVG today. What a leader purports is exactly what the citizens adapt; hence, leaders sitting at the throne of SVG’s politics cannot utter words such as “I’ll smoke them out.” This in itself is a passport to violence and to some extent has eroded respect and professionalism. Henceforth, leaders are always encouraged to speak professionally and show some form of prime ministerial concern for the people.
Let me stress that a government or any security force cannot eliminate crimes entirely; however, efforts and controllable measures can be put in place to curb situations.
SVG, if not careful, could become a crime stricken nation!
D. Markie Spring
The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].