The Caribbean may be a great place to vacation, but is it safe? The Caribbean is known for its relaxed atmosphere and beautiful landscape, but countries in the region are poor and getting poorer and becoming increasingly unsafe. The region “depends for its livelihood on entertaining people who want carefree holidays to escape the harsh realities of life” (Canute, 2002). Because of “poverty, inequality, and social marginalization” (Canute, 2002) countries in the Caribbean are subject to massive crime that affects their economies. In addition, they are the unfortunate victims of their geographic location. Prime Minister of the Bahamas, Perry Christie, states, “We straddle the sea lanes and flight paths between producer countries in South America and the vast consumer markets to the north of us. We are caught in the middle” (Canute, 2002). Drug trafficking is particularly affecting the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and Trinidad where large crime organizations set up operations. The Caribbean countries are not taking this lightly. Fortunately they are bringing together intelligence and police forces as well as customs experts in order to combat the problem. However, the article goes on to mention that these are impoverished countries battling against wealthy crime organizations. Who has more power? Along those same lines, an additional cause for concern is the possibility that these same crime organizations may seek political positions or strong-arm Caribbean country governments so that they can effectively operation without much interference. Many members of these crime organizations have been educated in crime in the north and have been deported back to their homelands. This makes for far more sophisticated criminals than their local counterparts. Jamaican authorities say that a great deal of their criminal activity and high per capita murder rate is solely attributed to the problem of deportees.
Approximately 100 metric tons of cocaine passes through Jamaican shores every year (Jamaica: Army to assist police in fighting crime, drugs, 2002). With the U.S. focusing their efforts on protecting the home front, the Caribbean has become more fertile for an increase in crime. However, it appears that this region is relying heavily on itself to pave the way for positive change. During a three-day summit, a regional task force established by Caribbean governments will implement certain initiatives to decrease crime in the immediate future as well as long-term plans to alleviate poverty, inequality and social marginalization (Jamaica: Army to assist police in fighting crime, drugs, 2002).