The United States Embassy to the Eastern Caribbean States hosted a journalism workshop on reporting crime on Thursday 29 June at the Royal St. Lucia Resort and Spa.
Steven Dudley, an American investigative journalist and analyst, as well as the co-director of the website InSight, was the main presenter. InSight monitors, analyses, and investigates organised crime in various countries.
According to InSight, the Caribbean is a huge transhipment port for drugs to the United States due to the geographical location and the abundance of islands. This has increased the rates of violence and gang-related crime as a result of “weak governance and endemic corruption”. The presentation at this week’s workshop noted that the exchange of cash in the hotel and tourism industry could be an incubator for international crimes such as money laundering and drug trafficking.
In 2016, Saint Lucia recorded 31 homicides over the 366-day period. Surprisingly, as of June 27, 2017 the small island of just over 187,000 people recorded its 29th homicide. This workshop could not have happened at a more opportune time as reporters in Saint Lucia now have to consider the probability of the murder rate doubling if current trends persist.
With guidance, journalists and reporters concentrated on a wide range of statistics, including the number of homicides related to the ownership of illegal firearms and victims who left families behind.
Members of the various media houses in attendance shared their views and observations pertaining to the rising crime situation in the country. Although most media outlets on island do not have specialized crime reporters, with the assistance provided by the U.S. Embassy and Steven Dudley this week, the public can expect a slightly more thorough or layered approach to reportage of crimes.
The U.S. Embassy to the Eastern Caribbean is stationed in Barbados, and regularly hosts developmental initiatives to benefit the people of the islands.
The crime-reporting workshop was the second of workshops supported by the American Government this week. On Sunday, representatives were invited to participate in a workshop on climate change that was held in collaboration with the Ministry of Sustainable Development to better educate journalists on issues affecting Saint Lucia related to climate change.