Zero tolerance pledge by PM

PRIME Minister Hubert Ingraham declared war last night on the casual attitude to petty crimes in the Bahamas. Speaking at the opening of the FNM's Ft Charlotte constituency office, Mr Ingraham said he is spearheading a zero-tolerance policy on all law breakers. "Reversing the tolerance for other crimes includes less tolerance for small things. This includes things like running the traffic light, driving with a back light out, or ignoring the speed limit," Mr Ingraham said. The Prime Minister said his greatest priority is the safety and security of Bahamians, and this is why his party is tough on both crime and its causes. He said the government is improving road safety by creating new and refurbished roads and traffic lights, passing modern traffic laws and enforcing them vigorously. The police are "out in full force" searching for those who break traffic laws for three reasons, Mr Ingraham said: to save lives and prevent injury, because traffic law enforcement helps in the fight against illegal drugs and guns, and because the Bahamas must fight lawlessness at every level. He said: "I still am trying to understand why we are happy to abide by the traffic laws in US, but at home so many of us ignore our own traffic laws - act as if they don't exist. "We can do better. Furthermore, we are spending plenty money and time building the best roads in this region. So, if you throw garbage in the road, you going to get fined. "Same goes for rubbish falling off the back of trucks. And, let me put those cement trucks on notice. Stop spilling cement on our roads. "This goes too for those people who like to mix cement on the road. "Now you know someone will say something like, 'Instead of dealing with people who break traffic laws, the police should deal with serious criminals'. Stop talking fool. "We have to do both at the same time. This is why even in tough times when other countries were laying-off police, we hired over 400 police officers." Mr Ingraham said that while his government has a comprehensive and strategic plan to combat crime as well as the conditions which give rise to it, Perry Christie and the PLP do not. "They don't have a crime plan. They have a crime brochure. They have TV commercials about crime. That's all they have," Mr Ingraham said. "We know that the PLP do not have the kind of tough and decisive leadership or clean hands needed to fight crime. "And, you really believe that the party of 'late-again' can do anything quickly, much less something they like to call, Swift Justice?" Mr Ingraham said that in order to fight crime effectively, you must start with a zero tolerance attitude to all infractions, but follow it with improvements to public infrastructure and beautify public spaces. "We are doing these things all over this island - improving spaces for public recreation from Saunders Beach to South Beach to Big Pond to Montagu Foreshore. "We are also fixing the street lights on lamp poles, naming streets and numbering houses. You know how them other people like talk about the so-called things we do. Well, small things like these save lives. "A small thing like a sign with the name of your street reduces the time it may take an ambulance to get to your house. A small thing like a number on your house can speed up the response time by the police or BEC in case of an emergency," Mr Ingraham said. He added that the government is doing a number of "big" things as well. "We continue joint operations with police forces around our region and particularly with agencies of the United States government on tackling the big transnational criminal issues. "We have increased the number of police officers and vehicles while improving the conditions of service on the force. "We are targeting crime hotspots through targeted manpower. We are also deploying advanced technology including sophisticated computer systems and software to track and strike at hotspots. "We are expanding the CCTV network. This will be the most comprehensive expansion of crime-fighting technology in our nation's history. "Our two state-of-the-art RBPF mobile strike force vehicles are on call, 24/7. They are fully equipped mobile police stations each with the capacity for video recording, flat screen viewing screens, specialised recording equipment and high-tech police lighting/siren/public address systems. "We know that it takes more than crime-fighting tools and technology to fight crime. But we also know that the fight against crime will not succeed without them." Mr Ingraham added that while being tough on crime, the FNM will do everything in its power to provide alternatives to those who may be attracted to criminal behaviour. "We are working through our schools and in our communities to promote peaceful settlements of disputes; to encourage and support greater involvement and volunteerism in our community and to discourage and seek to correct bad behaviours. "But, let me clear - anyone who 'gat a mind to 'tief and kill and do serious crime, you 'ga feel the full weight of the law."


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