Murder rates keep climbing
Guyana Chronicle
February 27, 2002

BRIDGETOWN -- The murder rates keep climbing in a number of Caribbean Community states, with Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago ranking as the top two among the major member countries of CARICOM, followed by Guyana and Barbados in that order.

By yesterday, against a background of rising criminal violence, Jamaica had chalked up its unenviable record of some 140 murders just for the first two months of this year, with the killings of four persons within the past three days.

Trinidad and Tobago's figure had climbed to some 32 with the killing of a 32-year-old man by an unknown gunman yesterday, while the Ministry of National Security was intensifying its anti-crime strategy, launched on Monday, under the code name of a snake, "Operation Anaconda".

In Guyana, where there have been a series of killings and daring robberies within recent weeks, there have been nine known cases of murder, including that of a 29-year-old cash-crop farmer who was stabbed to death.

Of the four major CARICOM states, Barbados continues to have the lowest rate of known murders with 14 last year. But with three murders already reported for the year and a wave of criminal violence and robberies, the police remain on high alert, especially in areas frequented by tourists.

The killing of one of its employees on a bus by two armed men inspired the 'Jamaica Observer' to editorially lament yesterday why Jamaica has come to such a tragic stage with the spate of murders, with a record 1,139 last year.

The Observer's employee, Michael Thompson, was shot to death on a bus on Saturday because one of the two armed men said he looked like a policeman.

"Why have we come to this? How did we come to this?" asked the newspaper, "that a life can be snuffed out, coldly, unremorsefully, because he looked like a policeman; that 1,139 people are murdered in a year and we are not angry. That we are not outraged..." (RICKEY SINGH)