Disturbing crime trends in Caribbean hurting Canadian economy - new report

CALGARY, July 29, 2014 /CNW/ - Given the large Caribbean diaspora in Toronto and Montreal, and the fact that a great number of Canadian vacationers escape to Caribbean destinations every winter, there is no question that connections between Canada and the Caribbean are important. Canadian businesses have also made major investments in the Caribbean, especially in the finance and resource sectors. While linkages are generally positive, there are disturbing trends in crime in the Caribbean, and these trends are affecting Canada. 

In the week before Caribana Weekend, Toronto's 48th annual summer festival celebrating Caribbean culture and traditions, The School of Public Policy is releasing a report on crime in the Caribbean and its significant impact on Canada.

"The Caribbean drug trade has long held the spotlight, but money laundering is increasingly a concern, especially with evidence of linkages between terrorist groups resident in Central America and Venezuela, which have close proximity to the Caribbean Windward Islands," author Cameron Ross, who has conducted national security sector reviews of several Caribbean countries, explains. "Post-9/11 financial tools, utilized under the U.S. Patriot Act, have been effective in dealing with rogue governments, corrupt officials and transnational criminal gangs. However, the use of the Internet for financial transactions and the emergence of digital currencies have made regulatory control challenging. This is significant considering the Canadian tourism, banking and resource development in the region that have caused steady flows of Canadians, money and expertise to the Caribbean."

Trends in crime in the Caribbean are increasingly evident in Canada. Characteristics of gang life and male marginalization that are common in many parts of the Caribbean can also be found in high crime areas of Toronto and Montreal. There are lessons learnt from the Caribbean experience that can be applied in Canada.

"Although Canada's low crime rates are the envy of most of the world, they are still disturbing to Canadians," the author explains "Whether the crime emanates from local street gangs or from white-collar money launderers, the impact on the quality of life of all Canadians should be addressed."

The report highlights policies that Canada must reinforce to better curb these trends, including multi-lateral development programming and security-sector reform programs with long-term commitments to funding. Additionally, the author stresses the need for a well-funded academic institute that focuses on Canadian-Caribbean security-sector studies.

"Crime is evolving and it is increasingly challenging to keep abreast of developments, especially in the areas of money laundering and cyber-crime," the author stresses. "It is a societal problem for which solutions are found within communities. This applies equally to the Caribbean and to Canada. It is in our best interest to accelerate our efforts to aid the region."

The report can be found at: http://policyschool.ucalgary.ca/?q=content/its-all-about-money-crime-caribbean-and-its-impact-canada

SOURCE The School of Public Policy - University of Calgary

For further information: Media contact: Kristie Pettipas, Phone: 587.229.0960, Email: kapettip@ucalgary.ca