Friday, July 25, 2008

The high cost of crime

For years now, we have known as a country that crime is the most significant factor contributing to the lack of economic growth in Jamaica. And this is not only crime as it relates to murders, robberies, and rape, but includes white-collar crimes such as corrupt activities by public officials. The fact is that crime contributes significantly to the cost of doing business in Jamaica and hence decreases productivity, which is at the heart of our economic challenges.

This effect is even more pronounced now, as the world is caught in a serious downturn in economic activity. Because of this, the region as a whole is expected to experience negative impacts to tourism and remittances, the mainstay of Caribbean economies. The IMF has reported that world economic growth is expected to decrease from five per cent in 2007 to 4.1 per cent in 2008 and 3.9per cent in 2009. The Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region has not been spared, and growth is expected to slow from 5.6 per cent in 2007 to 4.4 per cent in 2008 and 3.6 per cent in 2007.

Poor regional performance
So, the numbers show that the LAC region is expected to decline at a faster rate than total global growth. My view is that this is explained by the fact that Caribbean economies' main foreign exchange earners (tourism and remittances) are discretionary income types, and so the expected slowdown in consumer demand, and reduction in discretionary disposable incomes, will have a greater effect on the Caribbean. The exception, of course, being Trinidad that produces oil.

A March 2007 report by the UN/World Bank entitled "Crime, Violence, and Development: Trends, Costs, and Policy Options in the Caribbean", reveals that crime robs the region of a significant amount of growth. Murders per 100,000 population annually at 30, is the highest in the world when compared to other regions. It also states specifically that if Dominica, Guyana, Haiti, and Jamaica were to reduce their annual homicide rates to Costa Rica's level they could add 1.8 per cent, 1.7, 5.4, and 5.4 per cent respectively to their annual growth rates. In the case of Jamaica, this comes against the background of a 2003 study which found that crime costs the country 3.7 per cent of annual economic growth.

So, because we have failed to act for so long, the cost of crime has continued to increase. This is evident in the last business confidence survey, which shows that less business persons are inclined to put new investments in Jamaica. No doubt, all the evidence points to crime as the number one problem in Jamaica today.

The question then is, how can we deal with this problem? All we have been doing over the years is just talking and putting in place the same old policies over and over again. Whenever we have an upsurge in crime, we tend to put in place 'tough' measures to fight the monster. This always elicits the same response from human rights groups and the police go out and crack a few skulls while their actions contribute even more to the increasing levels of crime, because what they do creates enemies instead of deterring crime. In fact, the same UN/World Bank report states: "An important finding. is that in Jamaica a lower percentage of crimes are reported to the police in areas with higher crime rates. The reporting rate can plausibly be interpreted as a measure of confidence in the police, as people will be more likely to report when they trust the police and believe they will respond. Lack of trust and confidence in the police is then lower in areas with higher local crime rates."

Chasing the wrong issues
This, in my view, is at the heart of the crime problem we face. And so, when the media continues to focus on the measures announced by the prime minister, this is another example of how way off track we always are in what we need to focus on. The prime minister has announced extended detention measures (when properly approved) and mandatory prison sentences for certain crimes, amongst other measures. As far as I am concerned, extended detention has always been practised unlawfully by the police and some have always imposed their own sentences on citizens without a trial. The announcements by the prime minister will not, in my view ,further erode the rights of Jamaicans as they have always been subject to the whims and fancies of the police. In fact, if the appropriate controls can be put in place, the measures announced by the prime minister may even improve the conditions.

The important thing to focus on is not the measures announced by the Prime Minister. If these measures can be properly controlled, then the best way to avoid being subject to them is to not commit the crime. This reminds me of when, under the previous government, motor vehicle fines were significantly increased and there were demonstrations against the fines by some taxi drivers. As far as I am concerned, the way to avoid the fines is to stick within the rules.

If we are to seriously deal with the crime problem then it is not enough to give greater powers to the security forces, which are needed in the short term to address the crime crisis. Giving the police additional tools is like giving the carpenter a saw and hammer to make a table. If the carpenter is not competent, then despite all the high tech tools he may be provided with, the table will still not be made properly. And so we need to go beyond the measures announced by the prime minister and address penalties for police corruption; how we intend to build trust in the police force; and what immediate improvements are to be made to the justice system.
The fact is that no new powers for the security forces can work without people trusting the police, and feeling comfortable giving them information. If people feel that the police are their enemies then they will never come forward with information. We also must remember that justice delayed is justice denied, and prolonged court cases while the legal fraternity argues about who are hustlers and who are not is just not cutting it. And very importantly, we must double the penalty for public officials involved in corrupt practices. It is only after we address these issues that any measures we implement will work.

The fact is that, as a country we cannot afford to continue the high levels of crime that have haunted us for far too long. The effect has been compounded by world economic events, as rising energy and food prices mean that businesses are less competitive and real disposable income levels have decreased. But as we seek to solve the crime monster, let us not lose focus of what the real issues are.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

Right now it appears like Movable Type is the top blogging
platform out there right now. (from what I've read) Is that what you're using
on your blog?

Feel free to visit my homepage; airplane Landing games

Anonymous said...

I always spent my half an hour to read this website's content daily along with a mug of coffee.

Feel free to visit my weblog: Cash Surveys

Anonymous said...

Sweet blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News. Do you have any tips
on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I've been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Cheers

my blog :: ideal waist to hip ratio

Anonymous said...

hello there and thank you for your info – I've certainly picked up something new from right here. I did however expertise a few technical issues using this site, as I experienced to reload the web site a lot of times previous to I could get it to load correctly. I had been wondering if your web host is OK? Not that I'm complaining,
but sluggish loading instances times will sometimes affect your placement
in google and could damage your high-quality score if advertising and marketing with
Adwords. Anyway I am adding this RSS to my email and can look out for a lot more of your
respective fascinating content. Make sure you update this
again soon.

Feel free to surf to my blog ideal waist to hip ratio

Anonymous said...

Awesome post.

my web blog: walking calorie calculator

Anonymous said...

Hello Dear, are you genuinely visiting this web site regularly, if so after that you will without doubt obtain fastidious knowledge.


Also visit my webpage ... diet plans for women to lose weight

Anonymous said...

Yes! Finally someone writes about charge.

My weblog; how much should you Weigh

Anonymous said...

Nice blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from
somewhere? A design like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my blog jump out.
Please let me know where you got your theme.
Kudos

Look into my page ... how much should i weigh chart

Anonymous said...

I'll immediately grasp your rss feed as I can not in finding your email subscription hyperlink or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly let me recognize so that I may subscribe. Thanks.

My web site :: declaring bankruptcy in florida

Anonymous said...

My partner and I stumbled over here different page and thought
I may as well check things out. I like what I see so now
i'm following you. Look forward to exploring your web page again.

my weblog; diets that work fast

Anonymous said...

I am not sure where you are getting your info, but great topic.
I needs to spend some time learning much more or
understanding more. Thanks for excellent info I was looking for this info for
my mission.

My website - diets that work

Anonymous said...

It's an amazing piece of writing designed for all the online people; they will obtain advantage from it I am sure.

Look into my web page ... fastest way to lose Weight

Anonymous said...

Yes! Finally something about blew.

Feel free to surf to my web-site ... how Much should i weigh for my height and age

Anonymous said...

This article will help the internet users for creating
new webpage or even a weblog from start to end.


Feel free to visit my webpage - how much should i weigh for my height

Anonymous said...

Fabulous, what a web site it is! This webpage
gives helpful facts to us, keep it up.

My blog post ... how to wash your face with clean and clear

Anonymous said...

I've been exploring for a little for any high-quality articles or weblog posts on this sort of space . Exploring in Yahoo I ultimately stumbled upon this web site. Reading this info So i am glad to convey that I have a very excellent uncanny feeling I discovered just what I needed. I most without a doubt will make certain to do not omit this site and give it a glance on a relentless basis.

Here is my weblog is aunt jemima married to uncle ben

Anonymous said...

Hello, Neat post. There is a problem with your site in internet explorer, could check this?
IE still is the marketplace leader and a huge portion of people will miss your wonderful writing because of this problem.



My page neutrogena acne stress control coupons

Anonymous said...

Hi there, this weekend is good for me, since this point in time i
am reading this great educational article here at
my residence.

Check out my blog :: Coupons For nicorette gum 2013

Anonymous said...

Everything is very open with a really clear clarification of the
issues. It was definitely informative. Your website is useful.
Thanks for sharing!

Also visit my weblog :: how toxic is lysol

Anonymous said...

Hi, i think that i saw you visited my weblog so i came to “return the favor”.
I'm attempting to find things to enhance my website!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

My webpage - using dial soap for piercings

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your personal marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed
reading it, you could be a great author. I will make sure to bookmark your
blog and may come back in the foreseeable future.
I want to encourage one to continue your great
job, have a nice weekend!

Feel free to surf to my web page: Hip to waist ratio

Anonymous said...

Excellent blog here! Also your web site rather a lot up very fast!
What web host are you the use of? Can I am getting your
associate link for your host? I wish my website loaded
up as quickly as yours lol

my webpage :: waist to hip ratio chart

Anonymous said...

Hey! I could have sworn I've been to this blog before but after checking through some of the post I realized it's new
to me. Anyhow, I'm definitely glad I found it and I'll
be book-marking and checking back often!

Feel free to surf to my website: Quaker oatmeal manufacturer coupons

Anonymous said...

Excellent way of telling, and pleasant post to take information about my presentation subject, which
i am going to deliver in school.

Feel free to surf to my web site basal metabolic rate calculator

Anonymous said...

I have read so many articles or reviews regarding the blogger lovers but this
piece of writing is genuinely a good paragraph, keep it up.


Also visit my website :: bmr calculator

Anonymous said...

Today, I went to the beachfront with my children.
I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said
"You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear." She put the shell to her
ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and
it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off topic but I had to tell
someone!

My blog Weight Loss Calculator

Anonymous said...

Hey there this is kinda of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors
or if you have to manually code with HTML. I'm starting a blog soon but have no coding knowledge so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!

Feel free to visit my homepage - coupons stouffer's products

Anonymous said...

Thanks in favor of sharing such a nice thought,
post is fastidious, thats why i have read it entirely

Also visit my weblog bmi calculator for adults

Anonymous said...

You should be a part of a contest for one of the highest quality websites on the internet.

I'm going to recommend this site!

Feel free to surf to my site: digiorno pizza gluten-free

Anonymous said...

No matter if some one searches for his vital thing, thus he/she
needs to be available that in detail, therefore that thing is
maintained over here.

My web site; how to lose weight quickly

Anonymous said...

I really like it when individuals get together and share thoughts.
Great website, stick with it!

Also visit my page ... lose weight fast

Anonymous said...

Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and
wished to say that I've truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again very soon!

Here is my site: barilla Pasta coupons online

Anonymous said...

It helps to be somewhat educated about various tag heuer aquaracer price
pieces as, due to the huge selection of supplies employed in tag heuer aquaracer automatic creating, it doesn't matter what kind they come in. This article was written to help you to discover those answers.

Here is my web page tag heuer aquaracer calibre

Anonymous said...

For most up-to-date information you have to pay a quick visit internet and on internet I found this site
as a best website for most up-to-date updates.

Review my web site: 365 day laons

Anonymous said...

I read this paragraph fully on the topic of the comparison of most recent and
preceding technologies, it's amazing article.

Also visit my webpage; printable coupons for dial soap

Anonymous said...

Hello! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could
find a captcha plugin for my comment form? I'm using the same blog platform as yours and I'm having difficulty finding one?
Thanks a lot!

Here is my website: kashi foods coupons

Anonymous said...

Heya! I realize this is kind of off-topic however I had
to ask. Does building a well-established blog such as yours require a large amount
of work? I am brand new to writing a blog however I do write
in my diary everyday. I'd like to start a blog so I can share my own experience and views online. Please let me know if you have any kind of ideas or tips for brand new aspiring blog owners. Appreciate it!

My blog diets that really work

Anonymous said...

Hello! Do you know if they make any plugins to protect
against hackers? I'm kinda paranoid about losing everything I've worked hard
on. Any recommendations?

My web site; crash diets that work

Anonymous said...

Link exchange is nothing else except it is just placing the other person's web site link on your page at proper place and other person will also do same in favor of you.

my web-site; Online Loans

Anonymous said...

If some one wishes to be updated with latest technologies afterward he must be visit this site and be up to date everyday.


Look at my web blog; diets that work

Anonymous said...

Have you ever considered creating an ebook or guest authoring on
other blogs? I have a blog centered on the same information you discuss and
would love to have you share some stories/information.
I know my visitors would enjoy your work.

If you are even remotely interested, feel free to send
me an e-mail.

http://www.faccedatennis.it/index.php?do=/blog/65245/how-to-loss-weight/

Here is my web site how to loss weight

Anonymous said...

I needed to thank you for this very good read!! I
certainly enjoyed every little bit of it. I have got you saved as a favorite to
check out new stuff you post…

Also visit my web page - local businesss

jeje said...

longchamp longchamps
lebron 14
longchamp
adidas stan smith
yeezy boost 350
michael kors handbags
gucci belts
chrome hearts
lacoste online shop
ysl handbags