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].

2 replies on “Bystanders to violent crimes: A Vincentian replicate of Caracas?”

  1. Helena R Edwardd says:

    Maybe one workable solution to reduce the crime problem is to ensure that men support their children. Even if you have to enslave them to do so. Let them work to provide support for their children. Too many men impregnate women and take off like they have no care in the world. What do you expect these children to become other than irresponsible like their parents?

  2. Melissa Rodgers says:

    Lawlessness has slowly sunken to a new low in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

    Crimes result from lawlessness and the subtle encouragement of public misbehaviour then turning a blind eye to low-level illegal activities.

    It is simple, adults are simply grown children. Children take advantage of their parents lax attitudes towards wrong-doing and lack of correction. We then grow up, and continue along the same path we have grown accustomed to from our past. Sooner or later, that public mischief also grows. It expands into becoming full-blown crime.

    Why then, are we surprised when crime floods our countries, cities and streets?

    Recently we saw a funeral in Georgetown where lawlessness ran rampant during the service. The “Priest” did nothing to control the public misbehaviour and disrespect in the House of the Lord.

    The Bishop in turn did nothing to condemn this unacceptable behaviour either. He recognized that the fabric of society was being eroded, but as possibly the most senior spiritual leader in our corner of the world, he too, continued to do nothing!

    Prominent Vincentians as well, fell in line. Parliamentary Politicians even called this public disgrace “the people’s constitutional right.”

    Even respectable Vincentians like Ken John saw nothing wrong with the people expresssing themselves in public.

    We as a people saw nothing wrong in the desecration of a church. Now the chickens have come home to roost…….we are wondering how we got ourselves into this position?

    Previously we have seen the continuous extreme disrespect of the Speaker of the House of Assembly, where in my opinion, the Speaker was way too soft on those whom should have been firmly disciplined.

    We saw the attempt by the opposition to overturn a Firetruck in Kingstown, and no price was paid for this piece of public mischief.

    How about the opposition’s attempt as well, to ram the steel gates of our Parliament in order to gain illegal entry?

    We saw a fire in the Financial Complex and a prominent NDP leader said the following: “All yuh ain’t see nothing yet. More fires still to come.” Why wasn’t this person picked-up by the Police and brought in for a considerable amount of questioning? We let that slide.

    The same individual promised “guerrilla warfare” on the streets of our fair isle. Was he picked-up and questioned about the threatened “guerrilla warfare?” No, we let that slide as well.

    Lies have been told about the Prime Minister owning two LIAT planes, and his photo appearing on our dollar bills. Nothing was done about those events either!

    So here is the bottom line……..

    We have tolerated immoral and illegal behaviour for so long that we no longer think anything about it.

    Even worse, this public misbehaviour grew over the years and now has become crime.

    What short memories do we have!?!?

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