Keystone Cops

Tourists love this scene. Here we have a cop standing on the street directing traffic. He is under his sun umbrella in his tropical pith helmet. Tourists snap pics by the hundreds.

The real story behind this is much less romantic. The cop is on a homemade wooden box. It is crudely painted (ironically in the same motif as the prison suits). He is standing at an intersection that has stop lights, but the traffic lights have not been working to close to a year. A good percentage of traffic lights are non-functional in this tropical paradise because a foreign company had the contract for traffic light maintenance and the contract expired. The government has not get gotten around to renewing the contract.

But there is a darker side to the cops in this tropical paradise. There is a fine balance of corruption and ineptitude. The bungling is comical. The cops are told to watch out for foreigners entering the country illegally, so they go to the Chinese restaurant and round up the Chinese cooks because they look foreign. It turns out that they were all legal immigrants.

The darker side is corruption. A cop shoots a person in a bar fight and the the file disappears. Stuff like that. Justice is for sale in this Caribbean Island, and everyone seems to accept that as a part of life. But never mind that -- look at the pretty picture of the cop directing traffic in his quaint tropical uniform.

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