Making a Mountain out of a Molehill: Myths on Youth and Crime in Saint Lucia

15 December 2014
Policy briefing

Caribbean states face challenges of youth involvement in crime, violence, gangs and other anti-social activities. It is not uncommonly heard the “drug problem” is to be blamed for this. This briefing wants to show this relation is far more complex and often misunderstood.

Introduction

This report reflects a short summary of one year (2012) of ethnographic observations and ‘informal conversations’ with various stakeholders across Saint Lucia, a small Caribbean nation. The effort was undertaken to assess the profile of youth gangs and their members in order to add depth to existing analysis on gangs in the Caribbean by using one country as a model. This summary of the report focuses on the interaction between the cannabis and cocaine markets, and the role of youth in that trade on the one hand, and the increase in violence indicators on the other.

The Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) and individual member states face shared challenges of youth involvement in crime, violence, gangs and other anti-social activities. It is not uncommonly heard the “drug problem” is to be blamed for this. This briefing wants to show this relation is far more complex and often misunderstood.

Recommendations

• Decriminalize cannabis cultivation and possession for personal use

• Augment the education of young males with alternative educational opportunities

• Create micro economic activities that would allow young people to legitimately earn a decent wage.

 

Photo credit: Wikipedia, under a Creative Commons license

Pages: 8