The growth of a Caribbean “underclass” is responsible for the region’s violent crime wave, the former Primate of the Church of the Province of the West Indies said last week during a visit to New York.
Speaking to a reporter from the Barbados newspaper the Daily Nation, Archbishop Drexel Gomez stated crime “is a major scourge right now.”
“In the Bahamas it is beyond a scourge right now and we are quickly becoming like Jamaica. The murder rate is over 100, as was last year, and crime and violence are considered a major threat to social stability and it has economic undertones also.”
On Christmas Eve an Anglican priest in the Diocese of Jamaica was abducted by a criminal gang, beaten and left for dead. A police spokesman told the Daily Gleaner the woman priest, whose name is being withheld, was visiting her daughter’s home in Nightingale Grove in St Catherine’s Parish west of Kingston.
An armed gang raided the house, stealing cash and valuables before setting the home on fire. “They took her to a nearby dirt track where they beat her in her head and left her to die,” police reported. A diocesan spokesman stated the priest remained in serious condition.
On 8 December 2013 three gunmen burst into the home of the Bahamas Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Bernard Nottage. While the deputy prime minister and his wife were held at gunpoint, the thieves ransacked the house and assaulted a servant.
Archbishop Gomez stated “there’s a sociological problem in the Bahamas where we allowed an underclass to grow and develop and that was ignored for too long and now it is raising its ugly head,” he said during a visit to Brooklyn, NY to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ordination of the Rev. Canon Llewellyn Armstrong.
“There are persons with very little social skills and who attach no value to human life, and who are determined to get what they wish to achieve irrespective of the cost,” he said, noting “they fear not God, nor man.”
It was this asocial behavior, the archbishop said, that was “driving quite a lot of the crime.”