Jerome Reynolds, Gleaner Writer
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has told Jamaica and other Caribbean countries that there needs to be a shift in policy direction if the region is to move forward.
The 2012 Caribbean Human Development Report released by the UNDP today laments that economic progress and human development is being hampered by crime and violence and weak institutions.
The report notes that that region accounts for some 27 percent of the world's homicides.
It highlights that Jamaica has the highest homicide rate in the Caribbean and the third-highest murder rate worldwide, with about 60 murders per 100,000 persons.
The report also revealed that organised crime, weaknesses in the police force and an inefficient justice system are among the issues impeding progress in Jamaica and the rest of the region.
It said these issues contribute to a lack of confidence in institutions, economic stagnation and feelings of insecurity by citizens.
The UNDP report is therefore calling for a paradigm shift in the Caribbean.
It is recommending among other things, reform of the criminal justice system as well as the police force.
The report said greater emphasis needs to be placed on human development programmes.
This, the UNDP believes will help prevent crime, foster a safer society and improve economic prospects.