CARICOM Membership Fallout – High Crime In Other Caribbean Countries Hurts Barbados


World Bank: Caribbean murder rates hurting growth

MIAMI (Reuters) – Rising murder rates have made the tourism-dependent Caribbean possibly the bloodiest region in the world and are severely affecting potential economic growth, the World Bank said in a report on Thursday.

… from a Reuters world news report

When You Have Declared Yourself To Be A Family Member, Your Brother’s Reputation Is Yours

Time and time again, Barbados is lumped into “the Caribbean” in news and NGO reports. Whether the subject is murder and crime statistics, literacy levels or societal values, Barbados is never mentioned as a separate society or even as an independent and sovereign nation. The crime reports and tourist horror stories in the world media seldom (as in “never”) say, “However, things are very different in Barbados…”

As recent murders have shown, we have our own crime troubles in Barbados, but they are minimal in comparison to most of the other Caribbean nations. Yes, we see the trends, and yes, we have taken the government to task for ignoring, under-paying and under-valuing our Royal Barbados Police Force – but to have the world’s perception of public safety issues in Barbados based upon reports of gang warfare in Jamaica, drug assassinations in the Dominican Republic or the chaos in Haiti is both inaccurate and unfair.

What has the government done to distance ourselves from the rest of a troubled Caribbean?

What has the government done to establish the notion in the minds of potential tourists and investors that Barbados is NOT the Caribbean? Nothing. In fact, the message from the Barbados government has probably harmed our interests more than helped.

The message from the government of Barbados has actually been to embrace the rest of the Caribbean through CARICOM and to proclaim that “we are one.” The recent Cricket World Cup was in many ways supposed to be a CARICOM showpiece. Just one big Caribbean nation.

So when the World Bank proclaims that the Caribbean has the highest murder rate in the world – that’s Barbados too in the minds of the traveling and investing public in North America, Europe and those “new markets” in Asia that Noel Lynch and the boys are always talking about.

Goodbye, Barbados – Hello Caribbean gang wars.

Just one big happy CARICOM family now.

Great strategy, Mr. Prime Minister. Just great.

Further reading…

United Nations Press Release – High Levels Of Crime And Violence Threaten Caribbean Growth And Prosperity

U.N. Report, Full Text PDF – Crime, Violence, and Development: Trends, Costs, and Policy Options In The Caribbean (PDF)

Jamaica Gleaner – That World Bank Crime Report

ABS Philippines – World Bank: Caribbean Murder Rates Hurting Growth

McLatchy Washington Bureau – Crime Costs Steep In The Caribbean, World Bank and U.N. Say


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, CARICOM, Crime & Law, Culture & Race Issues

29 responses to “CARICOM Membership Fallout – High Crime In Other Caribbean Countries Hurts Barbados

  1. missing

    if we have Haiti, why are we missing Jamaica which should have a very high murder rate? or did I miss it?

  2. BFP

    Hi missing,

    The UN report goes extensively into Jamaican violence and culture, but for some reason Jamaica was not shown in the above chart that was taken from the UN report.


  3. Lady Anon

    Well, these figures go well with the PMs assertion that we will have first world status. First world status includes first world crime stats and we are well on the way.

    We are barely below the world average, and almost tied to the hip to TnT.

    Oh well.

  4. ??

    Who writes this garbage! Sometimes I wonder the BFP agenda. Is the suggestion that Caricom is not good…. regardless of if we are Caricom or not we will always be lumped as Caribbean as has happened through years. If Jamaica or Grenada is hit by a hurricane we get a backlash. Why are you trying to blame it on any government.
    Short sighted bogus analysis is not becoming. Your seem to imply Barbados go it alone. What rubbish, successive governments have seen the benefit of integration.

    What would Barbados achieve by going it alone nothing.

  5. Sam

    May 11th, 2007 at 3:59 pm
    Who writes this garbage! Sometimes I wonder the BFP agenda. Is the suggestion that Caricom is not good…. regardless of if we are Caricom or not we will always be lumped as Caribbean as has happened through years. If Jamaica or Grenada is hit by a hurricane we get a backlash. Why are you trying to blame it on any government.
    Short sighted bogus analysis is not becoming. Your seem to imply Barbados go it alone. What rubbish, successive governments have seen the benefit of integration.

    What would Barbados achieve by going it alone nothing.
    ………………………………………………………………………………. ??

    I agree with you 100 percent

  6. Propa Ganda.

    Don’t quite understand the psyche whereby we somehow see ourselves as being not-quite-a-part-of The Caribbean.

    We either ARE or we AREN’T.

    We can’t be part of the Caribbean when it suits us,
    and then fall back on a mere 100 miles of water, and an alleged superiority
    (now the stuff of 20th.century History,duh)
    to separate us, when it doesn’t suit us.

    All along we boast of a “Caribbean Sea” side of the island,
    when the truth is.. it’s merely a calm-water LEEWARD side of the island (just like Tristan da Cunha in mid-Atlantic!) – and an “Atlantic Ocean” side to the island…
    this boast because it suits our tourism propaganada BS to say so.

    We kid to ourselves so very conveniently, don’t we!
    WE are Superior Barbados,
    WE are NOT like THOSE other ‘small islands’ (like little St.Lucia, at 200+ sq.mi., to our extensive 166 !)

    Geographically, Barbados is 100 miles out into the Atlantic: it has not one drop,/b> of Caribbean Sea lapping its shores.
    Yes we have a calm side and a rough side, but that does not make a difference to geographically-delineated parameters.

    Economically and sociologically, we are indeed part of the Caribbean, despite out 100 miles offside situation,geographically.

    All part of our National Schizophrenia, I guess..
    we need to make our minds up.
    Frankly, I’m surprised that we’re that low down on the comparative scale, shown above!

  7. more

    “Frankly, I’m surprised that we’re that low down on the comparative scale, shown above!”

    Propa Ganda. we would need to look at how the figures were arrived at to determine this.

    I have read analyses on major official sites which bear no resemblance to what we know and live here every day. I guess it depends on the pespective.

  8. proud of CARICOM only when it suits you eh?

  9. dogbitemuh

    why wunna doan let owing screw up de country and dun nuh. He doing it to everything and everyone else. let him have his fun

  10. I think that Barbados can show solidarity with the rest of the Caribbean, not that I think BFP really meant to forget all the other states. But, Barbados can also differentiate itself. Each island has something different to offer, and I’m not suggesting that Barbados put down the other islands in order to attract more tourists and investors etc. However, in this case the Government, as well as Bajan tourism agencies, will have to counteract this lumping of the apples in order to ensure that the country’s image and ability to attract tourists is not damaged. I think it’s great that Barbados hardly has crime, and was surprised that Trinidad ranked lower than some of the other islands.

  11. Anonymous

    GLAD you mentioned Trinidad in this context!

    Please note the astounding difference
    between awful,crime-ridden Trinidad at 8.8
    and Peaceful Barbados at 8.5

    MAN! – what a difference 0.3 can make, huh?!

  12. W.H.O. diddit

    World Health Organisation published this chart.
    One could assume they know a thing or two.

  13. Oh dear. My eyes missed that figure. Hmm… then Barbados really does have crime. Sorry to sound so misinformed.

  14. jude

    One can only smile at the BFP for having the ability and the ingenuity to take any piece of Caribbean related news and turn it into Owens fault…

    Come on guys you can be fair and balanced and still built a strong case for political change in Barbados.

  15. Bajanboy

    Listen everyone, those stats are very outdated. The murder rate for 2006 for Trinidad and Tobago was over 30 per 100,000. For St. Lucia, it was 23 per 100,00 in 2005. For Guyana, it was 20 per 100,000 in 2006. For Barbados, it was 12.5 per 100,000 in 2006. For Japan, it was 0.5 in 2006. This is all based on google searches for murders and population. Imagine if we could get out rate to that of Japan. That would mean only 3 murders for the entire year.

  16. New reader

    As many are saying, Barbados cannot dissociate itself from the Caribbean, not least after sailing happily under the flag of “West Indies” for cricket! However, it has a job to put its own particular characteristics out there, but must accept that outside the region there may be great ignorance about the differences between the many islands and countries. Tourists are put off by crime (as they are by bad service), so it’s important to put each visitor at ease: one bad experience will multiply when a visitor returns home. Maybe one of the commentators can help clarify a statement made last December that Jamaica has the lowest rates of crimes against tourists in the Caribbean (see I have seen figures that show that Barbados has significantly higher rates of crimes against tourists than against residents.

  17. sando

    Thanks for updated statistics Bajanboy
    because I read somewhere TnT murder
    rate around 400 in 2006.
    Certainly Barbados nowhere in TnT league thank God.

  18. Sapidillo

    Did I miss it? Where is Jamaica — did they not make it on to the chart or did they tip over.

  19. Justasking

    Re: Jamaica and low rate of crimes against visitors. My understanding is that most of Jamaica’s crime is in the capital Kingston but their tourism is concentrated in Montego Bay in the North. In addition a high percentage of their hotels are all inclusive and provide an enclave free of crime.

    I would suspect that a similar situation would exist (low rate of crime against tourists) in Dominican Republic and say Mexico. They have very high rates of crime against locals, especially in certain areas, but in their tourist resorts (Cancun, Puerto Plata) the hotels are “all inclusive” so tourists are insulated from most crime.

    In Barbados one of the attractions to tourists and a selleing point for our industry is basically the opportunity to move around at will with a relatively low chance of being the victim of crime. Hence we really need to ensure that the rate of crime in general and specifically against tourists is kept as low as possible. All of our livlihoods depends on it.

    So when you look at crime statistics, like any other statistics, you have to do a bit more analysis.

    It is absolutely assinine of The World Bank to make a general report announcing that the Caribbean has one of the highest murder rates in the world. It shows how out of touch they are with reality. However I have not read the actual World Bank report so maybe I am being less than fair to them.


    BFP comments…Hi there… note that a link to the full report is found at the end of our article.

  20. Bajanboy

    Just to add stats for Jamaica, there were just over 1300 murders in 2006 ( So, with a population of 2.7 million, that gives a murder rate of 47.8 per 100,000.

    For St. Maarten, the rate is 36 per 100,000 (

  21. John

    May 11th, 2007 at 2:43 pm
    if we have Haiti, why are we missing Jamaica which should have a very high murder rate? or did I miss it?

    Maybe Jamaica is not part of the Caribbean!!

    ….. or it is a very, very special case!

  22. Born in 1949

    “That would mean only 3 murders for the entire year.” someone said…

    I’ll have you know that, back in the 1960s when Adam was a lad, there used to be ONE appalling murder per year on this island.

    It was a day when every single person’s jaw dropped with the fast-spreading news that A MAN GOT MURDERED IN WESTBURY ROAD – or wherever.!!

    Today, it’s a case of stuuupse: ne-e-ext! as we get up to figures around THIRTY+ murders per year,
    and no-one gives a damn,
    as the lower classes successfully self-eliminate!
    killing each other over a pair of Timberland boots (class!) – or a cell phone.

  23. Stealth Bomber

    we talk about corruption in all speheres of society. we hear the DLP lamenting that the BLP is corrupt. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    We only need to look at David Thompson’s act, when he changed the constitution of the DLP in order for there to be an election for him as leader. For decades the legacy and constitution Barrow left in tact, it was changed by Thompson and his goonsquad. I guess it explains why they have said to their member in th e DLP , that once elected they will ammend the constitution to accommodate the calling of elections every 7 years as oppose to 5. Talk about corruption and dictatorship at the highest levels.

    I pray God protects Barbados from this scourge of desperate and wicked men. DLP (Dem Love Power) will crumble for God sees all evil and malise in man’s heart.


    bfp comments…

    Stealth Bomber isn’t very stealthy!

    The truth is both the DLP and the BLP are corrupt organisations that have taken their respective turns feeding at the public trough. Both supported the recent rammed-through change to the constitution without debate. Both parties have failed to implement integrity legislation or even rules of conduct for their own members, let alone society.

    One is like the other.

    bfp george

  24. J. Payne

    Barbados NEEEDS CARICOM. Barbados is at the point of saturation where the largest companies are becoming conglomerates and within their industries they’ve become monopolies. That’s the one problem with capitalism eventually you reach the end where a few own everything and you need the investment from those few to ever even have a chance to elevate yourself. (e.g. many Barbadians claiming the banks wont give them the investment now to launch their own businesses etc.)

    New York has gone through the upheavals a few times before but with capitalism the person that wins doesn’t give back all their money so the game can begin again. The next match is played on whatever terms you won last time. So now– Barbados is at the point. Barbados Shipping and Trading owns a boatload of Barbados companies. Goddard Enterprises owns a next set. Neal and Massy, Simpsons Motors, etc. etc. Barbados companies now need new markets to expand into… (Enter CARICOM.) But the point is. Barbados companies have to expand into CARICOM either as fast or faster then T&T companies which are also trying to expand into the profitable areas of CARICOM.

    If Barbados opts out of CARICOM growth rates for example on the Barbados Stock Exchange would begin to flat line as the same companies report the same customers lest for a little bit of inner Barbados customer churn rates. You have to move onward to bring new funds into your economy if you want to survive. And in the world of tomorrow you have to bring money in faster than you have going else otherwise you hit a crash like Argentina or the Dominican Republic have had…..

  25. North Star

    Clive THIS IS NOT FOR PRINT but just a point of interest. No doubt you have been following the spate of violence against Canadian visitors in Mexico. All of which go unsolved, are covered up or the causes are said to be not due to violence but falls from balconies etc.

    Well the latest of these tragedies involving an Alberta father and husband has caused quite a media stir in Canada causing them to post the stats of assaults NOT JUST MURDER against visitiors to the Caribbean.

    What amazed me was that though Jamaica led the pack which is not surprising, Barbados was not far behind. Maybe you might want to bring up the Toronto Star if you have not seen the article and pick it up out of the archives. It was printed about two or three days ago.

    My point in sharing is, that it is not correct to say the level of crime in the Caribbean is hurtiong Barbados, because Barbados crime is a part of the problem something I have been saying for years!

  26. It seems undeniable that Barbados cannot stand still and look back with nostalgia to the “good old days” when crime was minimal. We are caught in a Catch-22 situation where our local companies’ growth is dependent on taking advantage of the opportunity CSME can provide. Yet we don’t want to suffer the disadvantages of letting less law-abiding elements come and upset the traditional tranquility of Bajan society.

    The crime stats confirm we are about even with most states, and moving up quickly, thanks to the Guyanese gangs the Commissioner of Police has referred to.

    Barbadians are prone to lament the way Trini companies barge into Bajan commerce and take it over. Why is it that Bajan entrepreneurs, with few exceptions like Goddards , seems unable to do the same on Trini turf? Is it lack of spine, expertise, capital or will? Do we lack the spirit of risk-taking that private enterprise entails?

    There are two separate issues here. Economic dynamism can flourish without a drop in law-abiding attitudes. Surely it is within our ability to stimulate economic growth without seeing a surge in murder, drugs, attacks on the tourists we depend on for our foreign exchange?

    One really wonders what our government (as distinct from our citizens) stand to gain from CSME. Logically there sould be reduction of fat-cat jobs at international agencies, a consolidation of embassies so that we have less than half the overpaid ambassadors and high commissioners we do. There should be a big saving here for the man and woman in the street, but we will never see it.

    No wonder the way ahead is so confused.

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