Two regrettable constants throughout the Caribbean region are that insecurity threatens human development and that crime and violence stymie economic prosperity. Research has upheld the latter; violence discourages tourism, foreign direct investment and business expansion. Crime has negative impacts on people’s livelihoods, mental wellbeing, socioeconomic status, and political freedom.
In 2010, the Caribbean had an intentional homicide rate of 21 percent per 100,000 people, a three-percentage-point increase from 2004. Barbados and Suriname have shown relatively low homicide rates over a 20-year timeframe, from 1990 to 2010. The World Bank reported in 2007 that crime is so costly, that if it were to be controlled in Jamaica alone, Jamaica’s gross domestic product would increase by 5.4 percent annually.
The UN Development Program (UNDP) is doing a commendable job of highlighting these devastating effects, in part through its recent publication of “Caribbean Human Development Report 2012: Human Development and the Shift to Better Citizen Security.” This is the UNDP’s first-ever Caribbean-specific report on human development, and UNDP Administrator Helen Clark visited Trinidad & Tobago earlier this month to launch it. The report provides an assessment on the state of crime in Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Suriname, and Trinidad & Tobago—and gives space to the national and regional policies and programs that these countries are enacting to address it. It ultimately states: “the Caribbean cannot achieve sustainable well-being and enjoy the fruits of its efforts toward progress unless its people can be secure in their daily lives.”
Learn more about opportunities and challenges for women in the CARICOM region, featuring Kerlin Charles from Grenada and Michelle Summer Williams from Guyana.
Ruling People's Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) candidate Donald Ramotar yesterday claimed victory in Monday’s presidential elections in Guyana, after the national Election Commission announced the he had captured 49 percent of the vote. Ramotar, who ran under the campaign slogan "Let Progress Continue," promised to maintain social policies and infrastructure development projects that he said were a staple of his predecessor Bharrat Jagdeo’s administration.
Tensions had risen in Guyana over the course of the week due to the delay in announcing the results from Monday’s election.
Opposition candidate David Granger’s coalition, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), won 41 percent of the vote to help seize an opposition-controlled parliamentary majority for the first time in 19 years. Race plays a heavy roll in Guyanese politics. The PPP/C—in power since 1992—is widely supported by the country’s ethnic majority of Indian descent, while the APNU—a coalition of the People’s National Congress (PNC) and other smaller parties—is dominated by Afro-Guyanese.
Outgoing President Jagdeo has been praised by supporters for his pro-business positions and his leadership in helping Guyana overcome severe economic hardship in the 1980s. Opposition parties and the country’s Afro-descendants, however, accuse the government of racial discrimination, close ties with drug traffickers and ignoring the country’s high crime rates.
President-elect Ramotar will be sworn into office on Saturday.
Listen to a series of interviews with stakeholders in three countries of the CARICOM economic zone: Guyana, Jamaica and St. Kitts & Nevis.
Norway has committed up to $250 million to preserving tropical rain forests in Guyana, a country that has been praised internationally for pursuing the Low Carbon Development Strategy launched by President Bharrat Jagdeo last year.
Environmental advocacy groups called Norway’s plan “monumental” for its new approach of rewarding a government for combating climate change.
Norway will make an initial payment of $30 million into Guyana’s Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation development fund. Additional financial support will be awarded at a level determined by Guyana’s success in limiting emissions, according to a memorandum signed Monday by Norwegian Environment Minister Erik Solheim and President Jagdeo. Norway has donated more money globally to slowing tropical deforestation — $530 million per year — than any other country in the world.
In advance of next month’s Copenhagen Climate Conference, some leaders in the hemisphere, including U.S. Senator John F. Kerry (D-MA) and Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva have called for more regional climate change cooperation. Kerry calls for the United States to support existing efforts throughout the hemisphere to combat climate change and identify sources of renewable energy in the Fall issue of Americas Quarterly. Heads of state from countries with Amazonian territory will convene in Manaus, Brazil, on November 26, for an environmental summit hosted by President Lula da Silva.