Caribbean: world leader in violent crime


Thousands of yachtsmen head to the Caribbean each year for the blue skies, rum punch and idyllic anchorages. Most enjoy trouble-free, unforgettable cruises, but a few find themselves on the wrong side of the tracks. March’s Yachting Monthly publishes the terrifying story of a young couple who were attacked by pirates.

Meanwhile it is as well to be aware of the fact that some disturbing statistics about the Caribbean have been collated in a joint study by the UN and World Bank. According to the study the Caribbean is the world leader in violent crime: it has a murder rate of 30 per 100,000 inhabitants – four times the North American figure and 15 times the western European average.

Jamaica is the world’s most murderous country, followed by El Salvador, Guatemala and Venezuela. But some smaller islands are catching up: St Kitts, with only 40,000 inhabitants suffered three murders in four days last November. The Bahamas can be dangerous and in Trinidad and Tobago the murder rate has quadrupled in the last 10 years.

The upsurge in violence is mainly due to drug dealing – which has seen an increase for gangs in cash and weapons. Trinidad, Jamaica and Barbados are beefing up their coastguard operation to try and stamp out the import of drugs.