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Keeping It Better in the Bahamas: A Nation's Socioeconomic Response to Juvenile Crime

NCJ Number
Journal of Black Studies Volume: 31 Issue: 4 Pages: 483-493
Barbara J. Nowak
Date Published
March 2001
11 pages
This study examined factors that contributed to the significant increase in the number of violent crimes committed by Bahamas' juveniles and discussed the government's response to this serious socioeconomic threat.
In a nation where more than 85 percent of its population of 255,000 is of African descent, the recently formed Commonwealth of the Bahamas struggles to establish its cultural identity, political power, and economic strength. With 53 percent (144,690) of the country's inhabitants younger than age 25 and an unemployment rate of 43 percent for those between the ages of 15 and 24, leaders seek solutions that are consistent with the nation's philosophical commitment to "Bahamianization," i.e., the building of the country through Black ownership of and participation in all levels of its society: economic, political, cultural, and social. Government and community leaders recognize that the future of the nation depends not only on the perception by tourists and investors that the Bahamas is both safe and stable, but on the productivity of its next generation. To that end, officials are actively working to reduce the juvenile crime rate through comprehensive programs of economic and social reform aimed at developing growth opportunities for its young. Priority must be given to those industries that meet community needs, using indigenous materials and human capital. A national program to sensitize citizens to the importance of "buying Bahamian" is also underway to counteract the artificial desire created by the foreign media for higher status, imported name-brand products. Despite all obstacles, Black leaders are determined that the Bahamas will regain its reputation as a safe and enjoyable tourism destination. Concurrently, methods of ensuring that the profits from such ventures are invested in programs of economic development that benefit all Bahamians are being examined. 21 references