Call from Dominican-born Journalist at Popular Conference for Caribbean Politicians to show clean record

The Peaceful Caribbean Foundation held its first regional conference at the Amaryllis Beach resort in Hastings, under the microscope was the increasing problem of crime in the Caribbean.

Alan Manwaring, Executive Director of the ‘Consensus of the Americas’ advises a branded approach from all of CARICOM as a concentrated bid to restore order

Albert Ramdin of the OAS was among the key addressers for the seminar, and he told participants his viewpoint on the major issues confronting peace and stability in the Caribbean. Lalu Vaswani of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry also spoke in terms of ensuring for Bridgetown to be a viable 24/7 entity must have safety as byword if it is to once again draw not only visitors but the local population.

It is sad such clever skills are placed towards evil when instead they could benefit the region in other ways, this is a tiny portion of what the Peaceful Caribbean seeks to redress with these and future workshops

This hugely important event plans an even more dynamic workshop for 2013, since everyone in the region needs to show an interest in the future of the Caribbean as a place to live and visit.

Participants included members of the French speaking Caribbean

Years ago for many countries across the Caribbean one could leave your home’s door open and shout to your neighbour across the road, however the rise of gangs has turned once-peaceful islands into little short of battle zones.

Dan Suter, special prosecutor for the Crown who partners with regional Governments and the US Embassy, emphasised how narcotics pushers have helped boost crime rates by introducing weapons and drugs with a street value exceeding the size of the Caribbean’s legal economy {CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO};-

Eastern Caribbean has laws relating to seizing ill-gotten gains of drug-lords yet it has never been enforced, the time has come for people to stop fearing the perpetrators and take harsh stand so as to make the entire region safe.

Mr Suter also noted how gang-related deaths draw small reactions within the Caribbean now, according to a new report on global homicides by the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime {CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO};-

Police and known flouters of the law are on calm speaking terms with each other, yet lives continue to be ruined by drugs – where is the money going?

Dan Suter’s audience included Lisa Gale, Executive Director of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry with her laptop open, taking notes electronically

Regional experts are concerned that a culture of violence has become entrenched in the islands, where nearly 70 percent of homicides are committed by firearms.

Corruption is not only where Law Enforcement is, too many times those who are voted in to remove Crime are those who maintain it, woe betide anyone who dares question it. There are too many examples where leaders in the West Indies suddenly have prosperity — Rebecca Theodore, a journalist from Dominica, now spends her time between Canada and the United States partially for the right to express her concerns adds more {CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO};-

 She cites the example of Roosevelt Skerritt with a house worth more than his salary and he expects no one to comment, yet at the same time Skerritt joins in with salutes to  Norman Manley and Eric Williams, does this really make for a Peaceful Caribbean?

An incredible number of clergy responded to the small yet crucial seminar, some men of the cloth more humble than others

Theodore sees the alliance of the Caribbean with USA or the UK can be a step in the right direction for resuming lifestyles almost forgotten {CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO};-

Comparisons with other parts of the world can be stark. Jamaica, with roughly 3 million people that has been hit hard by drug and extortion gangs for years, recorded 1,428 killings in 2010. In comparison, Chicago, a city of nearly 3 million, reported 435 homicides last year.

The Dominican coordinator of the Peaceful Caribbean also views many interests in South America as part of the unrest now unravelling the region {CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO};-

Statistics from the UN crime office show homicide rates nearly doubling in a number of Caribbean countries since 1995. In St Kitts and Nevis, slayings have increased six-fold since 2002, when there were just five killings. The Bahamas has seen 127 people killed in 2011, easily topping the previous full-year record of 94 set just last year.

Now President of the BCCI, Lalu Vaswani of the Satjay Bridgetown Business Centre addressing the Peaceful Caribbean at Amaryllis Beach Resort

Terrified residents are putting pressure on politicians and law enforcement agencies throughout the region to attack the problem.

Outmaneuvered and outgunned law enforcement agencies on the islands have a limited ability to cope with the problem on their own. The spread of cable television and popular music has raised expectations among youths by depicting the easy life even as the rough global economy is making pockets of poverty grow deeper and wider. It’s really creating a very unholy and unhealthy recipe for these small societies. — Ivelaw Griffith, Caribbean security expert at City University of New York

Not so long ago, Trinidad and Tobago declared a state of emergency and the Bahamas is toughening crime and bail laws, building more courts, trying to round up unlicensed guns and funding programs to steer at-risk youth away from crime.

Some of the smaller islands have reached out to Scotland Yard and the FBI for help, or brought in foreign police and security consultants. Alan Manwaring, Executive Director of the Consensus of the Americas feels the time has come for CARICOM to approach the United States as a single bargaining bloc, especially as this is an election year and Obama will grant concessions if he feels the Caribbean vote will secure a second term {CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO};-

Individually, economies of the West Indies does not appear significant, whereas if the entire GDP of the basin equals a trading point which makes the USA sit up and pay attention.

Manwaring adds that if the War On Drugs was to be carefully scrutinised, then there are certain strategies which have been ignored and it begs the question – why? {CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO};-

By fighting illegal narcotics which are based Stateside then it is almost tantamount to a battle on its own commodities, which seems in a way – suicidal?

Dir. Rebecca Theodore at the mic, relaying why the Peaceful Caribbean Foundation needs to make its mark

This year’s conference is a one day event, while next year may be more depending on support and resources… Those among us who long for a return to the peaceful, serene Caribbean of yesteryear – we need to make a stand and Director Theodore wants to know who will join with the Peaceful Caribbean Foundation to see this idyllic lifestyle return. Will you?

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