Jamaica & Columbia-How Columbia Conquered Crime, How they told us & we did nothing- then they told us Again.

Okay sure it is NOT that easy but how much have we tried?

A little over two years ago-June 9, 2008 to be exact, I did this post “Jamaica’s solution to crime-lessons from Medellin,Columbia” drawing attention to how the once war torn city of Medellin, Columbia was able to pull back from the brinks of civil war by taking practical bold steps to fight the surging monster of crime.

Just under 6 months later January 28, 2009 to be exact- I did this second post “Luis Alberto Moreno gives Jamaica more solutions to crime” highlighting again the ideas that one Mr. Luis Alberto Moreno then president of the Inter-American Development Bank in a post titled “Luis Alberto Moreno gives Jamaica more solutions to crime”

The past few weeks Jamaica has been rocked by the recent state of emergency brought on by the incursion of the security forces to apprehend reputed “drug lord” Christopher “Dudus” Coke.

In today’s Sunday Observer, the paper explores in depth the Medellin, Columbia story and how a city once decaying with social instability and a voracious murder rate transformed itself into one of the safest cities in South America- “A tale of two states: Colombia and Jamaica”.

Although I commend the papers in-depth look at Medellin reminding us of one of the things we can do here in Jamaica, it is with some disappointment that 2 to 3 years ago when Mr. Luis Alberto Moreno brought the same ideas to Jamaica and spoke to The Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) and the government of Jamaica not much has been done on his recommendation up to this very day.

It is only now after the Tivoli/extradition affair that this idea is being revisited and as always from a paper publishing stand point.

Again the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) Annual Economic Forum had as keynote speaker Bogota executive director Mr. Virgilio Barco from Columbia. Here Mr. Barco AGAIN like Mr. Moreno highlighted how through social and economic intervention they were able to turn their city around once ran by drug lords.

I might sound a little naive implying that such a grand problem can be solved easily. I am aware of the complexities.

The Sunday Observer -June 13th, 2010:

“In 2000, Colombia had one of the highest murder rates in the world, with 63 homicides per 100,000 people in Bogota. Today, that number is down to 20 people per 100,000, less than Washington DC in the United States, according to Barco. In contrast, Jamaica’s murder rate has grown from 34 per 100,000 people in 2000, to 58 per 100,000 in 2009, a tie with Honduras for the top spot.”

Especially important for a country dependent on tourism:

“During President Alvaro Uribe’s tenure (2002-2010), the number of international visitors to Colombia grew from 541,000 in 2002 to 1.35 million in 2009. Inflation has fallen from 18 per cent to 12 per cent, foreign trade has tripled, GDP growth has been above average, the unemployment rate has fallen from 18 to 13 per cent and the number of persons living in poverty has declined from 53.7 per cent to 46 per cent in 2009. Uribe came to power with a no-nonsense focus on crime. He aligned Colombian security policy with that in the US and reasserted the state’s presence in troubled areas. The government negotiated peaceful settlements with the paramilitaries and guerillas and encouraged them to lay down their arms. Those who refused to do so felt the brunt of an all out military offensive.”

Mr. Virgilio  Barco @ the Economic Forum”

“”You can’t expect to attract investment if things are fundamentally bad, however you can attract investment when there is a gap in perception,” he noted. This gap occurs when the situation in the country is better than the ‘perception’ of the situation in the country. “Investors want to see that things are improving, that things are going in the right direction”

To read the entire report click HERE.

Another interesting article printed on Friday “Taking back Jamaica – what can we learn from Columbia”

What was done with the similar idea presented just 2 years ago. The sentiments and the conditions are the same today as they were then.

Jamaica is like a person who is always sleeping; occasionally we wake up in a nightmare or an alarm clock. Recuperate then go right back to sleep.

The impetus to act or talk again is bigger than any particular extradition request, any one man or woman.

The Jamaica Gleaner had a particularly interesting read today also featuring former JDF Peter John Thwaites.  I am convinced that the sentiments echoed that politicians really do not care about poor black Jamaicans carry much credence.

I might opine even further that it is not just politicians who do not care, it is the middle class, the upper class, the business class and a long list of egocentric Jamaicans who although may voice some concern every now and then really don’t care as long as crime does not affect them directly.

From The Jamaica Gleaner-June 13th, 2010:

“We haven’t really taken poverty, garrisons, poor people seriously……. “I have a theory on this: our politician don’t care about poor black people. ….Our politicians are interested in filling their bags. I feel very strongly that we are in a situation in which we are fighting terrorists”

Read the entire story click HERE

We are all intricately connected.

Sojie a Di Prezi

Similar to THIS picture-remember this one?

Ensure you have your home work before reaching this checkpoint.

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~ by RB on June 13, 2010.

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