PM highlights efforts to defeat crime

PRIME Minister Hubert Ingraham opened the FNM Fox Hill Headquarters on Saturday, endorsing candidate Shonel Ferguson. Speaking out on the war on crime, Mr Ingraham said the government has "invested extraordinary amounts to upgrade the effectiveness of the police and the capacity of the criminal justice system". He said improvements included: increasing the number of courts, judges and prosecutors so that serious offences may be tried within 18 months; increasing the severity of punishment for various crimes; and ensuring the certainty and swiftness of punishment. Mr Ingraham acknowledged the need to fight the culture of guns, and said that the government "is aggressively tackling the culture of guns through a designated Gun Court, through tougher laws to deal with those possessing guns." He said last year, 541 illegal guns and 11,880 rounds of ammunition were confiscated. The government is also aggressively attacking drug traffickers on the seas and drug dealers on the streets, he said. "We are moving in the right direction, but there is much more to be done. We will leave no stone unturned and seek advice from any quarter necessary at home and abroad", Mr Ingraham said. Stressing the importance of strong and decisive leadership at this difficult time, Mr Ingraham urged voters to support the FNM and help the country keep moving forward. Mr Ingraham said opposition leader Perry Christie's lack of leadership can be seen in the PLP's failure to build the National Stadium. "He is afraid of making decisions. This is why his list of non-accomplishments is vastly longer than his accomplishments", he said. "You simply cannot run a country if all you do is talk and dream. Criminals don't take a break so you can make up something in your mind's eye". The prime minister described his vision for an "Opportunity Society" for all Bahamians, which will provide every Bahamian child with the opportunity to use their God-given talents to make a good and full life for themselves, which will in turn create productive citizens. This vision, according to Mr Ingraham, will be accomplished by defeating crime, promoting education, providing healthcare, and fostering economic development. He noted that alongside its war on crime, the FNM government has built schools, launched a 10-year education plan, and granted $25 million in scholarships at COB this term alone. In addition to the prescription drug benefit programme, National Catastrophic Health Insurance will come on stream in the next term, he added.


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