NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Caribbean Crime-Fighting: Help Wanted

August 20, 2010

Along with league tables for sun and sand, English-speaking Caribbean countries dominate the world's violence rankings.   Jamaica suffers the planet's second-highest murder rate, and Saint Kitts and Nevis ranks third.   Safety concerns have driven the middle classes into gated compounds and tourists into all-inclusive resorts.  Facing growing demands for law and order, the islands' leaders are now looking abroad for help, says the Economist. 

For example: 

  • Last month Trinidad and Tobago tapped Dwayne Gibbs, who hails from Edmonton in frigid northwestern Canada, as its new police chief.
  • Antigua and Barbuda also turned to Canada, hiring a team from the country to head its police.
  • The Jamaican force has three British assistant commissioners. 

Recruiting outsiders is something of a last-ditch attempt to shake up the islands' inward-looking policing culture.   But it has pitfalls.  Avoiding the "brash white foreigner" tag is key, says the Economist. 

In Saint Lucia, John Broughton, a British commissioner, was charged with assault after a tiff with a long-serving superintendent.  He was replaced with a local. 

Expatriates also have to be vetted just as carefully as locals are.  In 2007, Guyana appointed Bernard Kerik, a former New York police chief, as the president's security adviser.  He was later sentenced in America to four years in jail for tax evasion and corruption. 

Source: "Caribbean crime-fighting: Help wanted," The Economist, July 17-23, 2010. 

For text:    


Browse more articles on Government Issues