The Caribbean needs international help to stem the world’s highest regional murder rate, which drives away investment and forces island nations to divert scarce resources to security, the World Bank and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime said in a report released last week. “The Crime, Violence, and Development,: Trends, Costs, and Policy Options in the Caribbean” study says drug traffickers, who use the region as a transit point, have driven high crime rates by introducing firearms and narcotics with a street value exceeding the size of the region’s legal economy. “The report clearly shows that crime and violence are development issues. Donors and OECD countries need to work together with Caribbean countries to reduce the current levels in the region,” said Caroline Anstey, World Bank Director for the Caribbean. “Some of the factors that make the Caribbean most vulnerable to crime and violence, mainly the drug trade and trafficking of weapons, require a response that transcends national and even regional boundaries.” The report recommended improving prevention programs, tracking systems and firearm registration.

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