The Murder Rate of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) 2019 in Caribbean context
The sum of murders for any year is not the murder rate of a country, that is the murder toll or sum of murders for one year. The murder rate for one year is the number of murders per 100,000 persons of the population of the said country which affords a comparative analysis of countries with varying population sizes. This post is then a listing of the murder rates in 2019 for countries of the Caribbean basin where their murder toll 2019 is stated in current online news stories. The initial group of countries for this post ordered on the highest murder rates in descending order for 2019 is as follows:
per 100,000 persons
Trinidad and Tobago: 38.1335
US Virgin Islands: 37.6789
St Lucia: 26.8067
The Bahamas: 24.6481
St Vincent and the Grenadines: 21.7019 (January to October 2019).
St Kitts & Nevis: 20.8452
Guyana: 14.5638 (January to October 2019).
French Guiana: 10.7849
Puerto Rico: 9.9330
Dominican Republic: 6.909 (January-September 2019).
Antigua & Barbuda: 3.1206
What is now apparent is the existence of apex trafficking countries in the Caribbean basin/Caricom whose 2019 murder rate was below 10 per 100,000, namely: the Dominican Republic, Suriname and Puerto Rico. The structure and order of transnational drug trafficking for these countries will partially explain why such a low murder rate but this must be combined with an analysis of the history of the political economy of these States. Then there is the case of the premier terminal for drug distribution combined with illicit drug production that is showing a decline in the homicide rate reaching 21 per 100,000 in 2019: Venezuela. A clear illustration of the hegemony on the ground of the new order of the MTTOs in Venezuela today, where trafficking across and out of Venezuela to the region has now a clear, discernible order noted for its diversity and iron discipline on the ground illustrated by the haves and the have nots on the supply side of the illicit trades. Venezuela is now in a group of table which consists of St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines and St Lucia. Some impacted by past structures and orders as St Kitts and Nevis by the order of Lil Nut that is now in tatters as the new order brought by the MTTOs and the ECTP. St Lucia by the drug trade to/from Martinique and the changes wrought by the ECTP and the order of the MTTOs creating the hierarchy of the naves and have nots. St Vincent and the Grenadines continue to be impacted by the fallout from the St Lucia/Martinique trade, the frantic search for supply as ganja demand explodes especially in Barbados and T&T and the impact of the ECTP and the order of the MTTOs on the drug market. The Bahamas is potently impacted by intensified drug trafficking and human smuggling to the USA, the increasing demand for ganja in The Bahamas and its export to the US and the drive for hegemony of the new order of the MTTOs. The Bahamas sits in a region of multiple pipelines to the US linking the archipelago to Haiti, the DR, Jamaica and the Turks and Caicos Islands. The salient question remains why transit points in this category have murder rates that way outstrip those of the command and control trafficking centers as the DR and Suriname? St Lucia’s murder rate reflects a reality that is now impacting Martinique seen in its murder rate of 7.749 which was the fourth highest in France and its overseas departments for 2019, setting off the alarm bells. But this murder rate in Martinique is also the product of the new order of the MTTOs as the Suriname command and control center has targeted Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana and St Martin to traffick product into France and the EU. The 30 to 39 per 100,000 group follows with T&T having the highest murder rate in this group but its strategic importance to illicit trafficking in the Caribbean pales in comparison to the US Virgin Islands and Belize, T&T is then boxing way above its weight class in the murder rate hierarchy of the Caribbean. The Us Virgin islands is besieged by drug trafficking and human smuggling using it as an entry point to enter the US mainland via domestic routes. In the US Virgin islands, the right to bear arms exists which feeds into the gun violence but there is also the trafficking of illicit arms from the US mainland and illicit opioids trafficking and ganja from the US. Belize borders Mexico and is now a hot landing zone for drug flights moving product into Mexico via Belizean landing strips. T&T has no such strategic value to illicit trafficking but its murder rate places it at the apex of this category largely the result of the ganja wars where the largest market for ganja nearly solely dependent on imports in the Caribbean exists which experiences constant shortfalls in supply. This T&T reality is now reflected in the escalating murder rate in Barbados with 2019 being its highest rate ever recorded as the ganja wars escalate in Barbados as they are the third largest market for ganja in the Caribbean almost wholly dependent on imports, where demand constantly chases supply. The apex category consists of Honduras and Jamaica but they occupy opposite realities in the illicit trades but share similar histories of political economy but Jamaica presents a unique reality. Jamaica and Honduras are linked via trafficking pipeline that flow both ways as is the case with Costa Rica and Panama. Jamaican transnational crime, Shower, is the premier affiliate of the MTTOs of the Caribbean, operational throughout the Caribbean and the North Atlantic. Jamaican political economy has then produced the most powerful Caribbean transnational organised crime group in the illicit trades of the world and the premier Caribbean affiliate of the MTTOs. An organization built on the production and export of Jamaican premier ganja to the North Atlantic exploiting to their advantage their organic links to the Jamaican political order founded on the garrison constituencies of Jamaican electoral politics in post-colonial Jamaica. Jamaica’s murder rate is the legacy bequeathed to it by the Jamaican political order, its political economy not solely its illicit trades and Jamaica’s strategic value to these trades. T&T’s political economy and the ganja wars not its strategic value to Caribbean illicit trafficking are the prime reasons for the 2019 murder rate that is threatening to enter the realm of Jamaica and Honduras. T&T in 2019 is the third ranked murder capital of the Caribbean basin and Caricom, a position in no way the product of its strategic value to trafficking rather the result of a systematic failure of governance borne out of the politics of race and voter mobilization rooted in a discourse of racist hegemony.