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.
- 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.
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