Moving Back to Jamaica

A blog about my Move Back to Jamaica after 20+ years of living in the US. Most of the articles focus on the period from 2005-2009 when the transition was new, and at it's most challenging.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Crime and Wealth in Trinidad

Look at these graphs/charts carefully.

They show that the recent upsurge of crime in Trinidad has been accompanied by an increase in GDP per capita.

In other words, the richer people have become on average, the more crimes they are committing.

It's a cautionary tale that should tell us Jamaicans that poverty by itself does not cause crime.

I visited Ghana in the mid 1990's, and their poverty was much higher, and their crime remains much lower.

This is not to say that wealth is _causing_ crime in Trinidad. But what is? Is it greed driven by income disparity?

When I was there a few weeks ago someone explained to me that crime goes up around Christmas and Carnival time as people look to gain easy access to consumer goods, fete tickets and the bling-bling required to look the part.

If we in Jamaica were to experience the sudden increase in wealth that Trinidad is experiencing, would we also see crime increase? Would be we better off with a slow increase?

Bear in mind that Trinidad's murder rate is still a fraction of ours in Jamaica, per capita. Is their wealth allowing them to 'catch up" with us in some ways -- in criminal ways?

I have no easy answers.



At 12/08/2007 1:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trinidadians by nature are not violent people. Perhaps naturalized Trinidadians or some imports who claim they are Trinidadians are to blame for the increase in crime. Trini's have a strong commitment to family and "village pride". Murder, rape, and all kinds of abhorrences are taken seriously and avoided at all cost out of not only shame on ones self, but of family and community.

At 12/13/2007 9:25 PM, Blogger Irfan said...

First of all, let us not create these illusions of an ideal and tension-free Trinidad. Please, we are not in the tourism industry, so let's be serious and realistic.

It is that very pride and commitment to your "own" group that leads to these crimes. I have seen people assault a stranger so that they could obtain things to give to their dear old mothers! Some commitment to family!

The crime exists at all levels, and with the increasingly inept government and police service their it is evermore exacerbated. Trinidadians also do not feel they are empowered to change society and, sadly enough, are willing to become victims.

At 12/23/2007 3:49 PM, Blogger Redd Sonja said...

I cannot comment on crime in Trinidad, however the increase of crime in Jamaica is sad and alarming. Fifteen years ago, I had thoughts of investing in property for retirment in Jamaica. Born in the states, I have grouped qualitative months over a period of years spent with distant relatives and friends. As there are several people I know with Jamaica roots, some in the UK who have never even been to Jamaica. Yet bad news travel and people are not as motivated to come, not even to visit. As each year goes by, I have seen some economic growth and developlment in contrast to increasing violent crimes all over the island. I have become disheartened by the increase of murder in areas once thought of as relatively safe. My romanticism regarding retiring or investing in property has declined. I do however pay close attention to see if there is any national progress on tackling the growing cancer that is destroying the country and leaving citizens weary and visitors fearful of making Jamaica their destination.

At 3/08/2008 7:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

JG, I applaud you for the "oil conquers all" comments. OF COURSE, it's outsiders that are committing the crimes in T'dad, and the Venezuelans in particular are to blame for all the drug trafficking. Keep your head in the sand and the rest of us in the Caribbean will also cooperate by not airing T'dad's dirty laundry, i.e. high level of crime, poverty in the midst of wealth, racism, terrorism...

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