The Falcon | Volume 83, Issue 52
Published 5/22/13 | Log In
High crime rates to be beat with foreign investors
Published: October 3, 2012
Honduras has the highest homicide rate in the entire world, according to the United Nations. In fact, in Jan. 2012, the Peace Corps suspended its programs in Honduras because of the threat of safety and security. Visitors to Honduras are encouraged to take extreme caution when visiting because of their implied wealth. All too often, North American and European visitors become the victims of rape, kidnapping, homicide, robbery, and assault in Honduras. As a result, the Honduran president, Porfirio Lobo, has suggested the creation of three so-called “model cities” to combat Honduras’s extreme crime rates, poverty, and corruption. As a result of Honduras’s extreme instability, building “model cities” seems like a good solution to combat crime and poverty.
Lobo visited other charter cities like Hong Kong and Dubai in order to model Honduras’s own “model cities.” Already, the investment group, MGK, has put forth $15 million into the first “model city” on the Caribbean coast, which is intended to create 5,000 jobs in a six month period and perhaps up to 200,000 jobs along the road. South Korea has invested $4 million into research on the project too. Once jobs and foreign investors set up shop in Honduras, the cities will be able to move in tenants, establish restaurants, markets, schools and parks.
These cities will, according to the Associated Press, have their own laws, police force, government and tax systems. The “model cities” will also have to sign international trade agreements and be subject to international law. How the government of these cities will be designed is by having the president “appoint ‘globally respected international figures without financial interests in the projects to nine-member independent boards that will oversee the running of the cities, whose daily operations will be administered by a board-appointed governor. Future appointments to the board will be decided by votes by standing board members,” says the AP. The cities will have to comply with international human rights laws as well.
Many in Honduras, such as the Fraternal Black Organization of Honduras, are against the charter cities because they fear the destruction of Honduras’s cultural heritage and native inhabitants by the invasion of foreign investors and interests. They are even calling the project colonialism. Because an agreement between the people of Honduras and the government has not yet been fully clarified, the Honduran government is legally allowed to appeal to the country of Mauritius, which is a global center for legal services, including legal disputes within and among countries. Mauritius, however, is still a member of the Commonwealth with England and is therefore able to go to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) in the UK as the final court of appeal.
In order to substantially reduce crime and poverty in Honduras, experimentation is prudent, especially since it has worked so well in places like Dubai and Hong Kong. Foreign travelers are extremely cautious about visiting Central and South America because of the sheer danger, and that is a shame because it denies places like Honduras the financial profit of tourism. Not only that, but it denies the rest of the world the cultural profit of Honduras. Hopefully, the UK Privy Council will approve this development, and foreign investors will be able to come to a crime-filled country like Honduras to create jobs and eliminate crime. It is our obligation as citizens of an increasing international community to do what is in the best interest of that nation, both economically and culturally.