Within the first month of 2019, Barbados has recorded a higher murder rate than that of Trinidad and Tobago and according to economist Jeremy Stephen, a continuation of this trend could be disastrous for the economic recovery efforts, according to Barbados Today.
The newspaper reported that to date, Barbados has recorded eight murders, which puts the murder rate at 2.8 per 100 thousand, while Trinidad, which has recorded 32 murders thus far, has a rate of 2.3 per 100 thousand.
Last year, Trinidad and Tobago recorded 516 murders, which represented a rate per 100 thousand that was five times more than Barbados, which recorded 28 murders for the same period, it said.
“This is very sobering fact because the way you look at these figures, the rate for Barbados has to be rounded off to three persons per 100 000 because you can’t have a half of a person. So we are at three and they [Trinidad and Tobago] are at two. This could easily change as the year progresses but normally when the year starts, Barbados is nowhere near Trinidad’s murder rate,” Stephen was quoted as saying in an interview with Barbados Today.
The University of the West Indies lecturer warned that the worrying trend could derail the Government’s recent efforts at restoring investor confidence in the country.
“This could really damage investor confidence in the long term. People believe that Barbados is still a safe place but if this issue persists it definitely can undermine any efforts to attract foreign direct investment in any sustainable manner,” said Stephen.
He contended that the repercussions were not limited to those on the outside looking in, noting that the nocturnal entertainment sector could also suffer as result of growing fears brought on by increased gun violence. Stephen argued that because of the possibility of being caught in the crossfire, Barbadians might decide not to leave the safety of their homes to go out at night.
However, Stephen made it clear that while he believes that the trend is worrying, he is by no means suggesting that Barbados is at crisis stage, as it is less than a month into the year, it was reported.