Mrs Carmichael, the spouse of a Scottish slave-owing sugar plantation proprietor in early 1820s St Vincent, had much to say concerning the alleged legal and anti-social behaviour amongst her downtrodden slaves, behaviour the slave codes allowed their house owners to punish as they saw fit.
This is no proof that felony exercise in those days was confined to these bonded persons notwithstanding that probably the most legal acts of all, at the very least from the attitude of up to date morality and regulation, have been the shopping for, promoting, and forced labour of the slaves themselves.
That Mrs Carmichael makes no mention of any felony exercise among the free white planter and allied social sectors of the colony, an omission that was certainly deliberate, but which corresponds to an analogous omission, deliberate or not, by Dr Godwin Friday, the chief of the New Democratic Celebration (NDP) who has targeted virtually totally on crime among the most deprived members of our society, are positive indicators of elite condescension:
“I will repeat here what I’ve stated many occasions elsewhere, there’s a causal connection between economic hardship and a rise in crime” (Godwin Friday, July 31, 2018).
Extra particularly, the NDP has concentrated most of its rhetorical attention on crimes that many people would claim are perpetuated in larger number and proportion by poor Black males: “… shootings, homicides, attempted homicides, wounding, housebreaking, praedial larceny [theft of farm produce and animals]abduction, rapes and different sexual offences towards ladies and young women.”
Though sexual crimes contact all segments of society, the NDP omits the inconvenient undeniable fact that abduction, rapes, and different carnal offenses are simply coated up in our corrupt little society by the cost of bribes, using threats and intimidation, or other inducements and disincentives once they may implicate rich or otherwise outstanding people. Therefore, such crimes both go unreported or are by no means prosecuted.
Likewise, although the NDP always rails towards offenses committed by the poor, on the one hand, while every day attacking the federal government for alleged illegal corruption, on the opposite, it has not unexpectedly did not rigorously explore any link between them even when both are mentioning in the same breath, presumably as a result of this might dilute the direct link the celebration is feverishly and spuriously making an attempt to determine between crime and financial deprivation.
Against this, the attitude used in this collection of opinion items is that each one forms of crime in our society are a part of a shared system of belief and behaviour, some rooted within the transmission of slave-society tradition from era to era.
A great instance is that the majority Vincentians would not think about the looting of shuttered Buccament Bay Resort by a few of its laid-off staff a criminal offense as a result of the unpaid employees have been only “taking” what rightfully belonged to them. Another is the continual accusation by the opposition New Democratic Social gathering that one national election after the opposite has been “stolen” by the governing Unity Labour Social gathering, a continuing cry heard about politics throughout the African-Caribbean, the subliminal message being that this is how political parties are anticipated to behave.
Setting aside the difficulty of alleged government corruption on the very prime of the political hierarchy, for which there has never been any actionable proof, and the truth that many murders and different violent crimes through the years have been dedicated by comparatively wealthy or permanently employed Vincentians, there’s a have to counter the official NDP narrative that poor and/or unemployed individuals, especially younger, Black males, are inherently more felony than other Vincentians.
The first problem to this narrative is an obvious one: as in different nations, such people usually tend to be profiled, suspected, found, apprehended, charged, and convicted for criminality in our race and class-stratified society than another socio-economic class. This stigmatization applies to low-level drug involvement like rising, transporting, and/or promoting marijuana, shoplifting, housebreaking, possession of an unlicensed firearm and/or ammunition, and numerous types of bodily assault.
When apprehended, such individuals have none of the private connections, high standing, or wealth to make sure immunity from prosecution, little entry to any, not to mention good, authorized representation, or the means to bribe their accuser to preclude being charged, convicted, or incarcerated for their crimes.
Conversely, from the middle to the top of our socio-economic hierarchy, so-called white-collar crimes like embezzlement, receiving stolen or untaxed property, paying off authorities officials, large-scale drug dealing, forgery, and money laundering, particularly by way of tax evasion, are restricted to those whose revenue and wealth levels are nicely above the typical for our society. Indeed, it might be no exaggeration to recommend that the monetary positive aspects from middle-class and elite crime (much of it rigorously funneled to and hidden in abroad financial institution accounts) far exceed the proceeds of lower-class crime spent and invested right right here at house, as within the case of marijuana production for overseas sale, where it adds considerable value to the financial system no matter its allegedly ill-gotten supply.
The second problem to the NDP narrative is just as apparent though there’s neither area nor have to element the spectrum of the better-known examples of elite, middle-class, and working-class crime that handle to get reported, even when insufficiently punished, in recent times. Accordingly, a quick listing of a number of solely property crimes, two still pending, should suffice as a reminder of the breadth and depth of crime amongst seemingly respectable people who usually receive unconscionably mild penalties.
Othniel Sylvester. This former lawyer, politician, and decide was found guilty of embezzling some EC$ 5,212,500 from the Danish charitable basis, Faelleseje, reportedly meant for the purchase of land at Orange Hill Property. His overseas dying meant that he acquired off scot-free.
David Ames. The principal owner of the various Harlequin corporations, Mr Ames granted Vincentian citizenship on the recommendation of Prime Minister Dr Ralph E. Gonsalves, presumably chose SVG due to its fame for aiding and abetting nefarious types of direct overseas investment, and so qualifies to be on this listing. His many alleged transgressions totalling tens of tens of millions of dollars are reported right here. All costs towards him are still pending.
Tamara Gibson-Marks. This former registrar of the Excessive Courtroom was discovered guilty of the theft of EC$ 21,925, and the abuse of her authority whereas in office after voluntarily repaying over EC$ 300,000 that had been withdrawn from an account she held in trust on the St Vincent Cooperative Financial institution.
Morris Prescott. This former head of the Buccament Clever and Prudent Friendly Society was jailed for 12 months for stealing EC$ 84,000 of the Society’s money.
Diana Quammie and Shaffique Martin. Both have been jailed for eight months for stealing some EC$ 65,000 from their former employer, Solar Basic Insurance coverage, and ordered to repay the funds or spend one other yr behind bars.
Ettian Charles. This employed police officer was charged with the theft of EC$ 75,000 in money from the Postal Company in Kingstown.
Victor Mitchell. This man has been slapped with 116 fees for stealing EC$ 45,000 from accounts on the Kingstown Co-operative Credit score Union where he labored.
Julia Phillips. This Customs Supervisor in Bequia was charged with the theft of EC$ 43,626.91 of government money and corruption. She was fired from her job and acquired two six-month suspended sentences.
Tedroy McCree. This employed chauffeur was found guilty of 31 of the 94 deception fees brought towards him amounting to a total of $EC 42,000.
Je-Anne Jones-Ellis. This instructor at St Martin’s Secondary Faculty pleaded guilty to 3 counts of stealing money, amounting to EC $28,435, the property of the Authorities of SVG.
This last case is especially instructive because the defendant argued that she stole the cash to fund remedy for a critical heart situation, an excuse that the majority Facebook posters accepted as professional grounds for her thieving behaviour. In little SVG it’s anticipated, even accepted, that folks will steal if the goal is to deal with life-enhancing points, exactly the same rationale employed by our slave ancestors 200 years in the past.
In each of this small pattern of principally current instances the motive was certainly not economic want based mostly on unemployment and/or poverty. As an alternative, when seen from a historic and societal perspective, a lot of the crime that is now happening, regardless of the wealth or employment status of the perpetrators, appears based mostly on the nasty human impulse referred to as greed, one of many seven lethal sins, a transgression associated to two other lethal sins referred to as envy and gluttony. If true, this statement supports the position of the Prime Minister who last yr opined that:
“There are some criminals who would rob from their mothers as a matter of selection, greed, wickedness of their mind” (Ralph Gonsalves, September 17, 2018).
Such an interpretation basically differs from the monotonous uni-causal perspective of the chief of the official opposition that poverty and unemployment are likely to breed crime, a simplistic and exaggerated place that has questionable factual and theoretical help.
That is the 9th in a collection of opinions on crime and the financial system in the Caribbean with particular reference to SVG. The others are listed under:
- Crime, Caribbean-style: Classes from St Vincent – Half 1
- Crime, Caribbean-style: Lessons from St Vincent – Part 2
- Crime, Caribbean-style: Lessons from St Vincent – Part 3
- Crime, Caribbean-style: Classes from St Vincent – Part 4
- Crime, Caribbean-style: Classes from St Vincent – Half 5
- Crime, Caribbean-style: Classes from St Vincent – Half 6
- Crime, Caribbean-style: Lessons from St Vincent – Half 7
- Crime, Caribbean-style: Lessons from St Vincent – Part eight
C ben- David