11 May, 2007

Crime 5

Youth Violence. We have been looking at some of the highlights of the recently published World Bank report “Crime, Violence and Development: Trends, Costs and Policy Options in the Caribbean”. We have been considering how relevant some of the recommendations are to Anguilla. But, now I want to wrap up this short series.

I want to conclude by looking at some of the most important recommendations relating to youth. We can install all the electronic burglar alarms we want. We can ensure our bedrooms have double locking doors and burglar bars on all windows. We can keep a firearm tucked under the pillow. It will not be sufficient to protect us all. The fact is that we have to do something about tackling youth violence. I am not so concerned about the present generation of young men. Some consider them lost. Some say that we should leave them to shoot each other into extinction. The present problem should take care of itself by a process of attrition. There is little we can do for the bad boys of today. You probably turn your head aside as you drive past the crowds of young men in North Valley openly smoking joints as they pick up tips from the deportees giving them peer guidance. Our youth homicide rate is already significantly above the world average. There is no point protesting at my making this assertion. Nor is there any point beating our breasts in guilt. Nor will it help if we indulge in the familiar platitudes and moralizing. Let us be realists. The truth is that we are not going to invest the vast sums that are required to remedy the damage our neglect of our young men has already caused.

It is different with the next generation. We can do something for them. It will not be so expensive. The report indicates solutions. We have to invest in programmes that have been shown to be successful elsewhere. We need more professional early childhood development and mentoring programmes. We must have no more high-school graduates acting as untrained infant and primary school teachers. We need improved interventions to keep high risk young men in secondary schools. We need to open our schools after hours and on week-ends to offer additional activities and training. We can afford that. We have to, if we are to continue to prosper and to thrive as a society.


  1. Students will develop a passion for knowledge if they are presented with material that excites their imagination, inspires them to explore their environment and demonstrates importance in their daily lives.

    In Anguilla, we reward them if they conform, punish them if they fail to do so, and insist that they learn to pass examinations. This works only for a minority of them.

    Seeing this, we continue to do it, knowing that it worked for our grandparents.

    It is insane.

  2. You too, Judas?
    Just give up on them then?
    Like their parents, teachers and representatives?
    Are we really out of options?
    Is this all there is, is it?

    No wonder they are so allienated and angry then.

  3. Inclusion is lacking in
    Anguilla, the notion that if it does not happen to me nor my family, I do not care. We need to be our brother's keeper. We need to soak our beards while our neighbours own is on fire. Anguilla's youth need help and need a wide cross section to be involved. Let us not turn a blind eye because it is not our child, it may very well be ours tomorrow.

  4. Has anyone seen this article in The Angullian? Lawyer Astaphan: LAUDS LOCAL POLICE OFFICERS "They Are Doing A Good Job, Don't Hurry Them http://www.anguillaguide.com/article/articleview/4683
    It's one man's opinion. I love his statement “Nobody can come in here and solve those crimes which our police force cannot solve. This is because our police are as good as they are, well-trained and experienced and have an advantage over “imports.” Our police are part of our community and they have personal relationships and contacts with people in our community which would elicit cooperation which imported police officers could never have." He seems to have missed the whole point of so much of what's going on. Yeah, it's the great relationship that the citizens of Anguilla have with the police force that made a number in Miami necessary to report about crimes. Yeah, and here's another comment "Commenting on robberies and such attacks Mr. Astaphan stated: “In a society like ours, the perpetrators are generally speaking a small group of people repeating the acts. But more importantly, our close proximity to St. Martin/St. Maarten and very easy accessibility by people from there creates a situation where they may very well be the ones who come over here and perpetrate some of those acts and go back. Let's blame it on an outsider. Give me a break.

  5. Here's another brilliant comment "If we were to check the statistics as a function of population, bearing in mind at all times, the accessibility of Anguilla by people in St. Martin/St. Maarten, we can only come to this conclusion: there is no need to panic; and that our police force has a hand on the controls of the society. They are, in all circumstances, doing an excellent job, save and except for those who have been doing things which have given me professional reasons to lodge complaints." This guy is as delusional as he can be.

  6. My comment really has to do with an additional component that could be added to your list of approaches to preventing/solving youth violence. I don't know much about it, but some cities in the U.S. have groups of teenagers who are trained in negotiating conflicts among their peers -- helping them gain skills in dealing with conflict short of escalation to violence. Such programs exist here in Boston and have been said to be effective.

  7. Astaphan states that we "must" respect the Commissioner. This sounds rather like loudmouth Yanchie, the noted economist, telling me I must support ANTIL or Cable & Wireless. I will respect those who EARN my respect, thank you, directives from Tommy or Yanchie notwithstanding.

  8. Another way to head off trouble is to establish NOW a trade school for all forms of hospitality and construction related trades like plumming and electrical. When students don't want to pursue A levels they can enroll in 2-4 year programs that will give them a working skill when they are finished. Developers, hotel owners and contractors should get together and fund such a school. It isn't as daunting as it sounds, and much cheaper to be able to employ educated, professional and LOCAL labour than to have to pay the associated economic and social costs of importing it. When Viceroy and St. Regis open in 2 years they will require 700-1000 trained workers from hospitality to maintenance etc. Will they materialize out of thin air? No, many will be imported. Housing, transportation and families will add much cost to that equation. Better invest in a trade school and nurture the talent locally. Why doesn't government move much faster on that? It would also be a way to direct troubled (lost generation) youth towards learning a trade, feeling more self respect and becoming productive. It makes sense from every standpoint. It should be on the front page of every newspaper. It should be talked about in churches and schools. It is a way out of this quagmire.

  9. Our secondary school is called the Albena Lake-Hodge Comprehensive School. It was established 22 years ago. The Comprehensive part "soon come." We've only lost one generation. I don't know what it will take to get the Minister to take effective action. He doesn't seem to share our sense of urgency about this.

  10. When Viceroy and St. Regis open in two years they will not need 700-1000 workers. Why? Unlike the way government run the public service, those condos will have state of the art information management systems. With the use of technology, there will be less workers to do the accounts. Right now they already use Astra software systems. Anguilla needs to hire our own software engineers to make our public service more efficient. Security will be manned from one central office. Hence the work that 20 guards could do, cameras will be doing. A sgtaff of 10 people can do all the laundry and maid service. Again they will automatic laundry equipment. Three grounds people can take care of all the landscaping needs. Again machine use. These places are not hotels. They are Villas. I doubt if they will need 150 employees.

    We better get serious about building our technolgy information sector. St. Lucia is getting a mega million dollar technology centre from the Taiwan government. What are we getting? More uneducated workers from Asia.

  11. I also read the nice things Tommy said about Mr Benjamin. Such a good Commissioner? Does he not know how he treat the woman police? Does he know how promotions go? What about Delprado? Is he so clean? Was he so good? What Tommy want? The force is demoralize and led by bad men

  12. For comparison of how offenders are treated in the US, see: http://www.familywatchdog.us/

    I find 11 registered sex offenders within a 4-block radius of the
    Home Shopping warehouse. You can click on any of these to see the
    offenders name, address, criminal history and picture.

    Sadly, they are not indexed by place of birth, so I don't know how
    many Anguillians are among the chosen 550,000. There are 51
    Mitchells in Florida. There are two Gumbs. Hello, what? Gumbs?

    Dayton H Gumbs
    27431 SW 138 Ave
    Miami, FL 33032

    Jeffery Antonio Gumbs
    ORLANDO, FL 32808-7020

  13. Two measures listed as legislative priorities in the Cayman Islands upcoming budget would allow law enforcement agencies to keep a closer eye on convicted criminals outside of prison.

    The first involves electronic monitoring as a punitive measure. Plans for that are expected to appear within the Alternative Sentencing Bill, which could be proposed before the end of the year.

    The second is the creation of a Sex Offender Registry, which the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service would use to track those convicted of certain sex crimes upon their release from prison. Depending on what lawmakers decide, convicted offenders would be required to register their home address with police even after their sentences have been served.

  14. Unfortunately, the Cayman Sex Offender Registry will be confidential. The police will conspire with the offenders to conceal their identity from their neighbors.

    Which is exactly what the police do in Anguilla.

  15. The most effective way to denude youth gangs is by undercover infiltration. This has worked successfully in many areas and is not difficult to implement in small, unsophisticated communities. It is inexpensive and should provide quick results. Secrecy and trust is essential and the operation must be closely held and run by a small cadre of professionals.

  16. Abraham and Elaine have a daughter, who is now 12 or 13. Daughter says Abraham and Elaine had been arguing for a week before the murder, over a second woman that Abraham had been messing with.

    Abraham gave Elaine a lot of his land right at the junction of the Shoal Bay Road and the new Shoal Bay-Island Harbour Road. It has been cleared. It definitely seems like a key piece of Bevington’s new development scheme. It is in the name of Elaine and her daughter. Since the daughter is a minor, this could mean joint ownership, or else that Elaine is trustee for the daughter.

    If the latter, and Elaine died, it seems likely that Abraham would become the new trustee, giving him effective control over whether the land becomes part of the development.

    I just spoke to yet another relative. She thinks Bev did it and Abraham's covering for him.

    She says two days after the murder Bevington cleared the land.

    Anguillians wanted development. We got development.


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