#Jamaica, October 14, 2019 — Ten years ago, Jamaica recorded its highest murder rate within a decade with some 1,680 homicides in 2009. Ten years on, and two years after a murder count of 1,616 people (second highest in 10 years), the country is trending downward, significantly.
It is widely believed that the Jamaican Government’s bold interventions curtailed the killings and the murder count has decreased in some areas, like St. Thomas by 32 percent.
It is still heartbreaking that hundreds of people have died to violence of some kind in what is the third largest English speaking country in the Western Hemisphere and the largest one in the Caribbean, but many take heart in the fact that based on trends, one can surmise that likely 300 people will not be killed.
So, what happened to cause this reduction?
The answer is bold initiative including declaring a State of Public Emergency (SOE) in several crime-ridden districts and parishes – St. James, Hanover and Westmoreland are among them – and that meant curfews and other drastic controls and powers were enacted for those areas. Not only did the Jamaican government do it once, but over and over again in both 2018 and 2019 because, they say, it is working and has not hurt tourism.
Loop News Jamaica reported in October 2019 that Dr. Horace Chang, Minister of Security is completely persuaded that the State of Public Emergency has saved lives, when social programmes did not.
“The first time we had a significant fall that has saved well over 200 Jamaican lives and stopped the mayhem and slaughter on the streets of Montego Bay, that was the introduction of the state of emergency,” the security minister explained while speaking at a Violence Prevention and Peace Building Symposium.
Also in October, it is reported that those SOEs, were extended.
Jamaican Prime Minister, Andrew Holness in addressing the House of Assembly about the need to extend the SOE in south St. Andrew Police Division, presented statistical reasoning.
“It is a solution that has yielded results, and we are well aware of the challenges and the downsides to the SOEs,” he added that despite skepticism, “We have saved, by virtue of the collective action of this House by putting in place the SOE: 30 lives. There were 51 shootings in the 84 days before the SOE – that is down to 27.
Murders in the area were cut by half said the Prime Minister.
Reporting on the national impact of the SOE, PM Holness in a Jamaica Information Services news report said: “We have started a process of bringing down our murder rate from 1,600 in … . We have now brought it down to 1,280 [in 2018] and if we continue, we will bring down our murder rate to below 1,000.”
Jamaica leads the Caribbean region in murders, has seen a spike in gun violence in 2019 and reports are that 70 percent of crime is linked to illegal drugs.
The State of Public Emergency gives the security forces temporary additional powers, including powers of search, arrest and detention. Security forces can also curtail operating hours of business, restrict access to places and detain individuals without a warrant.
Woman dies on Tuesday; 32nd Covid Death for Turks & Caicos
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – The Turks and Caicos has recorded its 32nd death related to COVID-19.
The person, who we are told is a special needs young woman – was unvaccinated and had underlying medical conditions.
The death rate in the Turks and Caicos of both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons has climbed alarmingly this year. In the 21-month period from March 2020 when the country recorded its first case to December 2021, there were 26 deaths recorded in the TCI.
In the 19 days since the start of 2022 that number has increased to 32; which means six deaths already in January.
Cruising should slow down says PAHO
By Dana Malcolm
‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.
“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”
Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.
Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.
A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.
Cayman gets its second ‘Sir’; former Premier Alden McLaughlin knighted on Jan 1
By Dana Malcolm
#Cayman, January 20, 2022 – Former Premier of Cayman Alden McLaughlin was knighted at the start of 2022; named in the Queen’s New Year Honors List. He is only the second Caymanian to have ever received a knighthood from her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Current Governor, Martyn Roper extended congratulations saying, “This is an outstanding personal achievement for former Premier McLaughlin, one of the most important and impactful political leaders in Cayman over the last 21 years. It is a significant moment for our islands. This historic award is only the second ever Knighthood to a Caymanian since the first in the 1990s. It is a strong signal of the respect in which Cayman is held and a visible demonstration of the progress Cayman has made as a vibrant democracy with strong good governance foundations.”
Sir McLaughlin, who is also now a QC attorney, served two terms as premier and had a career in politics that spanned 21 years. McLaughlin is known for his role in modernizing Cayman’s constitution.
Current premier G. Wayne Panton described the occasion as a unifying moment for the country saying, This is a day of celebration and great pride for all Caymanians as a son of our soil has been bestowed one of the highest honour. Today marks a new and most unique storyline in the history of the Cayman Islands. In considering the rarity and magnitude of this occasion, this is certainly a unifying moment for our community.”
Sir Alden McLaughlin, 60, was appointed as a Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George on January 1, 2022.
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