Whose country? The Caribbean & crime

The Economist reported this week that the Caribbean region is – according to the BBC report – the “world leader in violent crime.”

And I wish to the heavens I fully understood why.

So many factors – an increasing gap between rich and poor; corrupt governments, judiciaries, and police services; the drug and illegal arms trade (I won’t even contemplate the human trafficking or sex trades); social systems like health and education which are failing our populations; an insecure national/ethnic identity in the wake of colonialism; domination by American media and multi-national corporations to the detriment of the development of our own culture and media…

And in Trinidad, an obscene amount of wealth generated by the energy industry that never seems to trickle down properly into the basic infrastructure – potable water, indoor plumbing and electricity – and social services that the people deserve. And, perhaps, Trinbagonians’ greatest strength and greatest weakness at once: the fact that, each year, we have weeks and weeks during which to escape, complain, create or simply discharge all of our energies and anxieties during the Christmas-Hosay-Carnival period. Then we good for another 9-10 months, right?

Another BBC article allowed readers to weigh in on the causes and solutions. I’ve heard them all before. I’ve even mentioned some of them here. But at the end of the day, what do we do – as Caribbeans, both on regional soil and throughout the diaspora – to take our countries back?

Or, perhaps, even decades after independence (for some) and the end of indentureship, and more than a century after emancipation, we have never fully claimed this Caribbean earth – or ourselves – as our own?

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