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CRIME — ITS CAUSES, CONSEQUENCES & CURES By G.A. Dwyer Astaphan – 21st March, 2008

CRIME — ITS CAUSES, CONSEQUENCES & CURES

By G.A. Dwyer Astaphan

Minister of National Security, Immigration & Labour

Government of St. Kitts & Nevis

Basseterre, St Kitts

21st March, 2008

Crime constitutes perhaps the greatest threat to our social and economic stability and to our national security. This is especially troubling given the fact that the single largest group of perpetrators is found in the age range below 25 years old.

This paper seeks to help decision makers in gaining an insight into the causes and consequences of crime in our society, and in designing effective cures to this severe threat.

In reflecting upon the following, the reader is asked to note that data referring to St. Kitts & Nevis is expected to be similar to those in other CARICOM member states. Accordingly, consideration might be given to make this paper available for consideration at the upcoming CARICOM Heads’ meeting on crime.

CAUSES & CONSEQUENCES

The Prison

 1. Our prison data in St. Kitts & Nevis, as at today’s date, reveals the following:

  • There are 231 prisoners (228 males, 3 females)… about 5 for every 1,000 citizens.
  • Of the 231 prisoners, 158 (61%) are convicted, while 73 (39%) are on remand.
  • Of the 158 convicted prisoners, 56 prisoners (35%) are 25 years old or younger, and 30 (21%) are 26-30.
  • Of the prisoners aged 26-30, 1 is sentenced to death, 4 to life, and the rest to a total of 202.5 years in prison.
  • Of the 56 prisoners who are 25 years old or less, 1 is sentenced to death, 2 to life, and the rest to a total of 515 years in prison.
  • The significant majority of violent crimes and long prison sentences are associated with offenders under the age of 30.
  • Of the 158 convicted prisoners, 80% are repeat offenders.
  • Among the 73 remanded prisoners, the average age 23 years old, and 15 of them are under the age of 21 and facing charges of murder, robbery, possession of firearms and shooting with intent.
  • Of the remanded prisoners, 90% have been in the system (social, reform, judicial, penal) before.

2. The absence of a specialized remand facility and a youth facility only serves to exacerbate prison overcrowding, a problem which we have been experiencing for a number of years. This has led to the reinforcement of the thug and gang culture in the prison, the hardening of ‘soft’ criminals, juveniles with adults, the bucking under  pressure of the weaker, and all of the other terrible phenomena  of which we read in US prisons.

3. This has created added pressure on the prison facility, government resources and perhaps most disturbingly, on prison staff, threatening their professionalism and integrity, making it more difficult for them to avoid falling under the spell of these ruthless criminal elements in prison (and their allies on the outside (given the fact that these officers have families and relatives whose safety and security would be of paramount importance to them), and causing new levels of danger and general explosiveness (riot) in the facility.

4. It is  incredibly difficult to recruit suitable, trained, trainable, and courageous staff. In addition, with the conditions of  work being difficult  as  they  are,  with  the  fact  that  the payroll package  and benefits  are unattractive, and with the ‘momentum’ on the side of the criminals,  both  inside  and  outside the prison,  the trend  is quite ominous, as basic and best practices have from time to time to be compromised. In addition to the obvious destabilizing and costly ramifications strictly at the locational and the local levels, this provides cause for concern with regard to international  standards, and the effect it can have on our UNDP ranking, human rights issues, etc.

5. The most difficult management challenges at the Prison come from those under  30, and more often from those under 25, most of whom are involved in gangs. And this problem at the Prison is simply a manifestation of the problem which exists in our society: the connection between persons aged 30 and under AND violent crime. The under-pinning of morality in our society has given way to one of  immorality  which  itself  appears  to be giving way  to one of amorality.

6. It is noteworthy  also that not only the perpetrators, but  also the majority of the   victims of these violent crimes fall into this same age cohort, and for the most part, these acts are gang-related. Indeed, it is said in discreet circles that  a  significant portion  of the murders go unsolved because the killers themselves have been murdered.

Prosecution, Police, Other Forces, Courts, Society

7. The failure to successfully prosecute, or even to launch preliminary inquiries into a number of these murders, and other heinous crimes, is in no small measure due to the tight-lipped, ‘no-snitching’ culture that has crept over our society, as a result of gangsters choosing to exact their own system of justice against each other  and  against innocent citizens who live in fear of the consequences of giving evidence in criminal prosecutions against these gangsters.

8. One might suggest, innocently, that an efficient witness protection program could go a long way to remedy this situation. However, with revenge violence being threatened, and executed, against relatives, upright citizens are further pushed back into reluctance to co-operate with the police.

9. Further, with a heavy backlog of PI’s, and with us having to await our turn at overseas labs (Jamaica, and FBI in Virginia, USA) forensic evidence takes a long time to come These long delays weaken the justice system, demoralize the police, and embolden the criminals.

10. In addition, and this is an important consideration,  there is little question of corruption in the Security Agencies and among staffers in the judicial system. Its extent is not immediately and exactly measurable in scientific terms,  but  its  effect  is  certainly being felt. For example, when raids are operationalized, it seems that certain known targets are apprised beforehand. As well, certain security personnel are seen as taking a more forceful, or, as the case may be, a more laid back, approach to enforcement at border points, and even on the seas, depending on the identity of the ‘target’.  At  Customs, certain officers seem to be very gentle, even helpful, including turning a blind eye to,  or being  part  of, illegal import transactions, and conspicuously undercharge duties and tariffs. And similar concerns of compromise exist in the case of Port personnel. At the courts, storage of documents and other sensitive  items, is less than satisfactory,  some prosecutions  proceed, if at all, at snail’s pace, and unscrupulous professionals take advantage of low paid staffers and other officers of the court.

11. What is the connection between personnel in these Government agencies and gangs? The simple answer is that human beings are corruptible. And these gangs operate with cold ruthlessness, corrupting, intimidating, compromising or otherwise neutralizing anyone or any institution they think they can and need to. Their present status and influence are significant, and their potential is catastrophic for our civilization.

12. There are a number of gangs in St. Kitts and Nevis, and they act in a fluid manner, in that from time to time alliances and hostilities between gangs change. The gang culture from outside, even the names, Cripps and Bloods have now been adopted by our youth. Indeed, the Cripps and Bloods development is regional, part of the international spread of this subculture of crime and violence. And there is ample evidence that gangs from different territories in the region have been developing alliances, mostly  related to  the trade in illicit guns and drugs, but also in the area of contract killings (‘hits’).

13. In the past, gangs were predominantly reflective of different communities, but there have been signs of gangs being formed from within the same community, e.g. Newtown.

14. Local gangsters (and  remember,  the  regional  connections)  have  already been involved in  discussions  as to  finding  ways  of  ending the  internecine  hostilities amongst  them  and synergizing  their  resources  against  the  national  security  forces and  organized  society  on the whole,  to  fortify themselves  and to  expand  their operations  with large scale extortion, harassment,  drug-dealing,  gun  distribution, prostitution,  bank  robberies,  etc., operating  in tandem  with  other  entities, whether here  or  abroad  that  they  might  need  to  accomplish their  mission.  Of  course, their alliances  tend  to  be  dynamic  and not  particularly stable, because  thus  far they have not been  able to cement mutual trust,  and it is not unusual  for robberies  and  other  crimes  to  be  committed  against  each  other.  Let  there be no doubt, however,  that these  gangs  are  fairly  well organized  and they  experience  little  difficulty recruiting members, whether through fear and intimidation against individual or family members, or because of what the  individual  may  see  as  an  alluring,  secure  family, social and economic unit.

15. Of course, it would be naive to presume or conclude that these youth gangs, cold and ruthless as they have become, both here and abroad, operate in a vacuum. They do not. Their remit is to make money, as quickly, as much, and as often as possible. And they deal in any good or service available to them. Their first line of commerce is in guns, drugs and stolen goods. And while they are still very much net importers of guns and drugs (and will for a long time continue to be so in relation to guns), some related points need to be made.

16. First, in the past, they were supplied, for the most part, with cocaine sent in from South America, and marijuana mainly from St. Vincent. However, with the closure of the sugar industry in St. Kitts and the less-than-strict monitoring of former cane fields, and indeed, the mountainous slopes of the island (and to a lesser extent Nevis, which is, for the most part, used as an entry point for both drugs and guns), there has been an increase in marijuana cultivation in St. Kitts, and unless a full-scaled and sustained effort is made to arrest this process, the government will lose control of vital lands to marijuana cultivation, and the cultivators (along with their partners form elsewhere in the region) will reinforce their positions and hunker down with more weaponry, thereby increasing antisocial behaviour, school dropouts, drug addiction, HIV and other STD’s, and violent crime, lowering skills sets and national productivity, and exposing our vulnerable little country to perdition.

17. Second, this process will draw more ‘market’ and ‘industry’ attention to St Kitts & Nevis, bringing to our shores all of the worst and most dangerous

18. Third, the CARICOM free movement arrangement holds the potential of exacerbating the crime situation in St. Kitts & Nevis as individuals, whether already seasoned criminals in their countries of origin, or relatives or friends of such criminals, come here, set up connections, dig roots, and bring the negatives with them. This is not an anti-CARICOM paper. Instead, a clinical effort is being made to ponder upon the harsh realities, present and prospective, given our small size and great vulnerability.

19. And fourth, if the US economy continues to struggle, if this has an impact on US immigration policy, and if we receive less US-based visitors and investments, and presuming an ongoing negative impact by crime on tourism and the economy, we could be plunged into desperation, even ruin, in short time. This notion is proffered because of the difficulty in imagining a stable, progressive St. Kitts & Nevis, indeed a stable Caribbean, with a weak, struggling, uncertain and unstable USA.

20. It is important to consider what causes the formation of gangs, given the proposition that youth gangs are at the core of most of the violent criminality in our country and reflecting on the prison data listed above in this paper. The learning  indicates psychological, social and economic causes.

21. The grouping of youths is not new. Indeed, youth gangs are not new. Human beings are social animals and they seek and reach out to their own. It is an innate reinforcing, stabilizing and safety measure.  And when youths, who are by definition rebellious and on a fairly steep judgment learning curve, gather, any number of anti-social activities can take place, from the mildly impish to the most heinous, especially when inhibitions are lowered through alcohol, other drugs, peer pressure or the lack of supervision.

22. A key  problem  develops  in relation to  the said judgment  learning curve.  Science is well  aware  of the  fact that the area  of the  brain  which  governs judgment  is generally not fully developed until  humans  reach their twenties.  And unless  a structure providing proper psychological and social support and guidance is steadily available through childhood and teenage years, the individual is placed at high risk of making poor decisions  and  life choices. The learning indicates that the requisite brain and  attendant  behavioral development come as a result of both biochemical and social-environmental influences. Of course,  economic  support  is  also important,  but  human  history  is replete  with examples that prove the argument “Plenty love and little money go further than little love and plenty money”.

23. Indeed, a highly recommended report published in May, 2007, by the World Bank and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and  entitled  ‘Crime, Violence and Development: Trends, Costs and Policy Options in The Caribbean’ indicates that the rates of murder and other violent crime in Caribbean countries are higher than in other countries of similar macroeconomic status.

24. It is true that past generations of Caribbean children and teenagers  may have  spent even less time with their parents than do their counterparts of today, especially when considering the fact that so many mothers were migrating back then, in addition to fathers who may have long gone their separate ways. But back then the extended family, the neighbours and the community were more involved and effective than they are today in raising a child. In addition, church activities played a greater role in a child’s development. The Sabbath meant something. Today it’s largely a day of feting or sleeping in from a Saturday all-nighter. What is more, Sunday evenings, once a time for spiritual and social tranquility in our Federation have now been violated by raucus, noisy beach  bashes and other events which only serve to further erode and disrupt our family infrastructure, devalue our spiritual observance practices, our need for rest and tranquility, and  our attitudes towards work and productivity on Mondays and the rest of the week.

25. In addition, there was no TV, no MTV, BET, HYPE, or TEMPO, no 24/7 relentless bombardment of lewd  and debasing material on TV and radio, there was no  internet, and while  the US influences were  definitely present, they were more of the order of Nat King Cole, Brook Benton, Otis Reading, Sara Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Fats Domino, and even Elvis Presley and others.

26. Back then young Caribbean persons dressed and acted like their American idols. But they also enjoyed their own Caribbean icons like entertainers Kitchener, Sparrow, Melody, Bomber, Louise Bennett, Byron Lee, Ernie Ranglin, The Draytons, writers like Lamming, Carew and Selvon, intellectuals like Arthur Lewis and Phillip Sherlock, politicians like Bradshaw, Manley, Adams, Bustamante, Williams, cricketers like Headley, Constantine, Weekes, Walcott, Worrell, Hall, and Sobers, sports commentators like Roy Lawrence, boxers like Yoland Pompey and Bunny Grant, and so on. So, much as Caribbean people had their icons in the outside world, they were also grounded in their own people through their indigenous icons. And this was at a time of political colonialism. It seems that the independence paradigm has, contradictorily, erased  the  indigenous  hero  dynamic, especially with the West Indies cricket team performing, on and off the field, so poorly. Of course, there are ‘icons’ such as Elephant Man, Movado, and other purveyors of hostility and rage, as well, as the Dance Hall and Soca nymphs who promote raw sexuality and female debasement and indignity, and ‘the jump and wave’, ‘put your hands in the air’ artistic decrepitude and decadence that have now reduced Caribbean musical  and  folk culture to virtual rubble.

27. It seems also that with the spread of TV and other electronic media and the subsequent explosion of electronic gadgetry, there also came an erosion of the family and community fabric. People have become increasingly individualistic and materialistic.  And  while this has been happening, violent rap music as well as violent and drug encouraging Jamaican music began their incursions into our consciousness, to the point where we are today, with music blasting through I-pods, through car stereos, through homes that are so small they vibrate from the noise, rupturing every available ounce of goodwill and neighbourliness.

28. It is difficult to refute the claim that much of the music is part of  the package of  drug use, violence and criminality that is sold to youths today. The use  of  marijuana  is encouraged and glorified in music, the latter being a tool of the drug trade to help grow the consumer base. The whole process takes on an almost irresistible allure for youths,  and they reach out to this unhealthy, even fatal lifestyle that is anchored in amorality and sociopathic behaviour. The children and teenagers become easier targets because there is little positive reinforcement around them in their family situations, and few of them have proper male role models to identify with, for the most part their mothers are not adequately prepared to manage them economically, socially or psychologically, and the children and teenagers gravitate to their peer groups, known as gangs.

29. But so do the drug and gun dealers, the operators of prostitution, stealing and extortion rings, who see these youths as easy targets to carry out their work and to be consumers for their products and services. And it is mainly this way that the youths are garnered into criminal gangs and developed into hardened criminals. And their progression to that level comes with little or no resistance, or alternative ‘menu options’ from their parents, guardians or the institutions of society.

30. The phenomenon of the absentee father, while it may not have led to catastrophic results in past generations, given the fact that the extended family and the sense  of community were intact, has in present times had catastrophic results, because with waning morality and personal responsibility, child raising has become less of a group effort, and mothers, many of them under-age, under-educated, under-socialized and over-burdened, have been unable to raise their children and to manage their homes in an adequate way. Many children have been pretty much left to their own devices, free of steady and mature guidance, making them fodder for gang leaders and drug dealers. The gang has in many, many instances, become the family for these youths, the centre of their network of self­ esteem and identity, and their social and economic survival.

31. The result of all of this is exactly what our prison data shows.

CURES

32. Francis Maertens, Director for UNODC’s Division for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs states that “although there is no one ideal approach for crime and violence prevention, interventions such as slum-upgrading projects, youth development initiatives and criminal justice system reform can contribute to reducing crime and violence” while Carol Anstey, World Bank Director for the Caribbean states that “…crime and violence are development issues and donor and OECD countries need to work together with Caribbean countries to reduce current levels in the region”.

33. In its Executive Summary, the above-mentioned WB-UNDOC report states as follows (and while the report is regional, it bears solid relevance to the realities in St. Kitts & Nevis):

34. “In general, there has been an over-reliance on the criminal justice approach to crime reduction in the region, to the detriment of other complementary approaches which can be effective in reducing certain types of crime and violence. …Crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED), the study and design of environments to encourage desirable behaviour and discourage antisocial behavior, has significant potential to generate rapid decreases in property crime and some forms of interpersonal violence. Integrated citizen security approaches have seen initial success in the Dominican Republic and should be explored elsewhere. These programs, by combining modern methods of policing with prevention organizations, undertaken by both government and NGOs, are extremely promising .The public health approach, which focuses on modifying risk factors for violent conduct is especially promising for addressing violence against women and youth violence”.

35. Some examples of CPTED projects that can be designed/applied· in St.Kitts & Nevis would be:

  • Cadet Corps for high schools (in existence and expanding).
  • Junior Cadet Corps for primary schools (in preparation).
  • Boot Camp for marginalized youths who are on the edge, educationally and/or socially, where they learn discipline, and social and technical  skills.
  • Programs for Development through Sport.
  • Programs for Development through Music with marching bands and symphonic training
  • Debating Clubs and Competitions.
  • Entrepreneurship Development Programs for youths and parents, separately and together
  • After-School Programs to assist with school work, confidence and self-esteem building and to assist with holding the children’s attention positively until parents get home from work to collect them
  • Religious Guidance Programs.
  • Fathering and Parenting Programs
  • Encouraging greater parental participation in PTA meetings
  • Community Enhancement Programs and Community Service (Senator Barack Obama’s idea that social programs delivered to the people deserve reciprocity  from  the  people through community-based  work, which would  also help to fortify the sense and the  fabric of communities, is worthy of consideration.
  • A reformed education system (starting at pre-school and primary levels) which de-emphasizes volume passes in CXC subjects and focuses instead  on  broad  and  solid personal development (reading, writing, comprehension,  maths,  plus  a cluster  of modules in:
    • character and confidence building (individual, individual in family, community and nation, social skills, values, spirituality and discipline including cadets, sports;
    • history and culture;
    • science (environment, geography, biology, chemistry, physics, etc.. very  basic and appealingly presented);
    • the arts (visual, literary and performing);
    • government, civics OECS, CARICOM, and other multinational arrangements; and
    • business and entrepreneurship.
  • An effective network of properly trained and committed counselors is required for the education and family and social development agencies to assist individuals  and families  at the earliest possible stages and to assist and provide guidance along the way.

36. “At the same time, it is also crucial to note that certain types of crime and violence – in particular organized crime and drug trafficking – are largely impervious to prevention approaches; a criminal justice-focused approach is essential in  dealing with them. Within the criminal justice approach, there is much room for improvement. An especially urgent priority  is the development of management information systems and performance indicators for better problem diagnosis, tracking of systems inputs, monitoring reform programs and providing increased accountability to citizens.”

37. “These different approaches mean that there are multiple possible entry points to engage in violence and crime prevention. In one instance, the  most  promising approach may be in the context of slum-upgrading project, in another, in the context of reform of the health service, while in a third in the context of the reform of the criminal justice system. There is no one ‘ideal’approach. The common denominator is that successful interventions  are  evidence-based,  starting  with  a clear  diagnostic  about  types  of violence   and  risk  factors,  and  ending  with  a  careful evaluation of the interventions’ impact which will inform future actions”.

38. “Evidence  from  Jamaica  and  other  countries  show  that  the  average  deportee  is not involved  in criminal  activity,  but  a  minority  may  be  causing  serious  problems, both  by direct involvement  in crime  and providing  a perverse role model  for youth. More services should be offered to reintegrate deportees along the lines provided by the Office for the Resettlement  of Deportees in St. Kitts & Nevis.  Options  should be  explored for deporting countries to  shoulder a significant  portion  of the costs of these programs, in exchange for serious monitoring and evaluation of program impacts”.

39. “Given that Caribbean countries are transit and not producer countries of cocaine, interdiction needs to be complemented by other strategies outside the region (principally demand reduction in consumer countries and eradication and/or alternative development  in producer countries).  Within the region, policies  should focus on  limiting the availability  of firearms  and on providing meaningful alternatives to  youth. Since the Caribbean nations have limited resources to effectively fight the drug trade, significant assistance should come from the destination  countries  in  support  of  interdiction efforts. The case study of the Netherlands Antilles shows this to be both effective and in the self­ interest of developed countries.”

40. “Gun ownership is an outgrowth of the drug trade and, in some countries, of politics and associated garrison communities. Within these environments, which promote the demand for weapons, reducing gun ownership is a difficult undertaking. Better gun registries, marking and tracking can help, as can improved gun interdiction in ports. Long run and sustained reduction in the demand for guns, however, will hinge on progress in combating drugs.”

41. “To address issues of youth violence, policy makers in the short run should borrow from the toolkit of evidence-based programs from other regions, such as early childhood  development  and  mentoring  programs,  interventions  to  increase  retention of high risk youth in secondary schools, and opening schools after-hours and on weekends to offer youth attractive activities to occupy their free time. While there are a multitude of programs in the region that address youth violence, few if any have  been  subject  to rigorous impact evaluation. In the medium and long run, impact evaluations should systematically document what works in youth violence prevention in the Caribbean” .

42. “This report has culled many different sources of data to present as comprehensive a picture as possible of crime and violence in the Caribbean. Yet it is clear that  there  are major  data gaps that hinder policy making.  Chief among them is the lack of regular, periodic victimization surveys that permit comparison  of crime levels both across countries and over time”.

43. There is no question: a culture of crime and violence has been introduced. Its roots are deeper than would readily meet the eye, and its potential is  absolutely catastrophic, in terms of human, social and economic and political destruction. It constitutes the  most serious threat to the stability of the Federation of St. Kitts & Nevis. It is most worrying because it lures and entangles the youth, who, because of their biological, social and, to some extent, economic realities, become relatively easy targets, and for the most part it manifests itself through them. It destabilizes today and threatens tomorrow.

44. Insofar as the criminal justice approach is concerned, and in this category is included, for the purposes of this discussion, infrastructure, equipment and other resources required for the security agencies (Police, Defence Force, Prison, Fire & Rescue and Ports Security) to carry out their work, the following recommendations are made:

  • The drive to upgrade and build facilities and to properly equip the agencies needs to be stepped up. Equipping must include proper weaponry, tactics, strategies and practices, and attendant training therein, electronic and other technology such as CCTV,  radar,  coastal and aerial surveillance devices, an effective central monitoring and dissemination facility, etc.
  • Move  to  erect  a Police  Development  Centre for the  benefit  of police  and  other public sector security agency trainees, established officers, and for members of private security agencies, both local and otherwise. Likewise for a Fire Services Centre of Excellence (the Canadians are interested in this). The idea is to provide a focal point for  training, for building esprit de corps and for nurturing a new culture in the Federation. These facilities can also generate funds for the services they provide to private sector and foreign trainees.
  • Screening, training and practice standards need to be raised and sustained  for professionalism and integrity.                                                               ·
  • Security personnel need to be given a special package of conditions and  benefits, especially  given the high risk involved  in this work today, e.g. land at a discounted   rate, duty concessions on homes and vehicles, exemption from travel and related  taxes once a year when traveling on their own, perhaps lump sum gratuity payments  every ten years in the service, etc.. It must be noted that Bermuda, which is experiencing severe crime and violence difficulties, has recently recruited over 100 CARICOM citizens into its security system, and this means that competition for jobs in this area is likely to  increase.
  • Expedite the establishment of the Police Complaints Authority and the  adoption  of the new Police Regulations, Prison Regulations and Defence Force Regulations.
  • Examine earnestly the idea of ‘regionalizing’ (as best as possible) the business of public sector security. It may be time for a dispensation under which there is regional administrative and, where possible, operational oversight and integration, at least of the region’s police forces. The purpose of this would be to reduce unnecessary duplication, to improve cost-effectiveness, to synergize in  terms  of  intelligence  gathering, management and dissemination, and to harmonize management        systems, operational standards, recruitment processes, strategies and techniques, etc. A possible side benefit would be the perceived depoliticization of policing and security (although Ministers of National Security, Attorneys General and Heads would, and must, be involved in critical leadership and policy ways). Under such an arrangement air, sea and land security administration and management of the entire region becomes less challenging. The Ministry  of  National Security for St. Kitts has been advocating this approach for nearly four years, and although at a regional meeting a few years ago it was rejected by one former and a present PM (on the ground that national  security is a national, not a regional, matter) it is heartening to note that  efforts  under  the  leadership  of  Trinidad  &  Tobago  are  signaling  a multinational approach to this potentially cataclysmic challenge facing the Caribbean.

45. Of course, building out the national security infrastructure and apparatus of our Federation, and indeed, of the region, will be a very costly venture, but it is cost which this writer feels has to be met.  How can it be done? If the citizens can not be given the burden, then an alternative has to be found. That alternative lies in the US$20 per passenger levy which the former Minister of Tourism, and present Minister of National  Security,  for St.Kitts & Nevis, proposed a number of years ago.

46. To each ticket sold for a Caribbean cruise would be added  US$20.00  This money would be paid into a central fund, professionally managed. The CDB could be the repository of it, and it would be operationalized under a committee of management or directors representative of the member states. Funds would be  used  for  security development and management, at other local and the regional levels. Funds would also be used to engage lobbyists for Caribbean tourism and for Caribbean interests generally, to provide airlift support (especially to ensure that intra-regional can be sustained (as this  is  a  concern  for  commerce, leisure, culture  and  security  in  then  region),  to support heritage  site  development,  to  protect  environment  assets, land  and  sea),  and  so on. This fund, which can receive well over US$100 million annually (if the visitors to CARICOM member states is calculated), which would go a long way to assist in regional security and other critical matters, while protecting taxpayers and governments from incurring further economic, social and, yes, national security challenges.

47. The causes and consequences of crime have been laid out in this paper in a summary fashion, so as to give a glimpse of the scope of the problem. As well, a summary ‘menu’ of possible cures has also been proffered. It is hoped that this paper will be of some help to decision makers in crafting the way forward.

 

G. A. Dwyer Astaphan
Minister of national security, Immigration & Labour
Government of St. Kitts & Nevis
Pelican Mall
Bay Road
Basseterre
St. Kitts

27th March,2008

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