Reader’s Letter: Study of crime needed in order to deal with it in a sustainable and long-term manner

POSTED: 04/20/11 12:41 PM

Dear Editor,

All the investigating entities who worked diligently in resolving several serious crimes should be highly commended for their success in capturing those responsible. The apprehension of three individuals who have confessed to the crimes goes a long way in restoring order and a sense of security in the community. The senseless killings that took place in February and March left the community in shock.

As I have mentioned in the past, as a country we need to understand the root cause of crime on the island in order to develop the appropriate crime fighting strategies.  It will save us time and money especially when we look at the limited resources we have that have to be used wisely.

For example, the three individuals are from overseas. Do they have a legal status to reside on the island?  Are they career criminals? Do they have a Police record back home? Did they commit crimes in other countries? How did they get here? Did they arrive illegally or did they overstay when they arrived on the island by plane? How long have they been residing on the island?  What has contributed to them turning to crime?

Crime and criminals have become trans-national. People travel to one island, commit crimes and then move on to another island living as a fugitive from justice and possibly committing additional crimes. The multi-cultural setting of our society demonstrates that law enforcement authorities have to have a close working relationship with other Caribbean islands.

Law enforcement officials have observed a trend within the region of turf wars that can be traced back from one island to the next. For example, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, feuds have been taking place from people originating from Dominica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

The United States has deported more than 2, 000 criminals back to the Caribbean in the past six months, according to figures released by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The figures show that from the start of the 2011 fiscal year in October last year to the end of March this year, 88,497 criminal “aliens” or migrants were deported to their country of birth in the Latin America and Caribbean region. A “criminal alien” is defined under U.S. immigration laws as a migrant who is convicted of a crime.

For the Caribbean, 1,066 criminals were sent to the Dominican Republic followed by Jamaica with 528 and Trinidad and Tobago with 125. Belize received 74 followed by The Bahamas with 65 and Guyana 64. So far this fiscal year, 50 migrants have been sent back to Aruba and 31 to the earth-quake ravaged Haiti. Other Caribbean nations received far less criminal deportees.

Cuba received 20 in the past six months; Barbados 11; Dominica 10; St. Lucia seven and Antigua five. Four persons were sent back to Bermuda while St. Kitts received three. Two each were sent to Suriname, the British Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands. The figures show that Anguilla and the Turks and Caicos, received one criminal deportee each.

A study is needed with respect to the criminal element on the island that commits crime. Once we have that information in hand, we are then able to develop the appropriate strategy and intervention measures to fight crime on the island.

Roddy Heyliger

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