PRIME Minister Perry Christie said the government has made it clear that its over-riding priorities are resolving "the crime issue" and addressing unemployment.
During his contribution to the 2012/13 Budget Debate on June 13, the Prime Minister noted that Minister of National Security Bernard Nottage said he needs more police officers and cars to fight crime.
"I am going to say today that I do not know that I could meet the immediate needs, one time, as Minister of Finance, but to assist with the attainment of the objective, we will over the next 18-months, purchase at least 70 new vehicles for use by the police force, to show their presence over the breadth and depth of the streets in all areas. This will facilitate quicker response by the police."
He said the government is also looking at making "enhanced use" of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, to supplement the activities of police in certain areas at certain times.
"There seems to have been a notion put forward, that we are taking away from the protection of our borders to give Defence Force officers policing responsibilities," the Prime Minister said.
"Every defence force, or whatever they are called in the region, have established protocols where in some circumstances, if there is a crisis, they are able to work in tandem with the police."
He said the relevant agencies need to work out those protocols now, so in the event it becomes necessary, such a deployment will not threaten other security priorities.
Prime Minister Christie said the government's implementation of house repairs and community improvements will create employment.
"I am instructing the ministers responsible, mindful and recognising that people are suffering and they are looking to the government for relief.
"We will seek to utilise a portion of the $15 million special fund to identify people in distress and to more effectively target their needs through our various programmes of assistance. This will not be a cash hand-out; it will be targeted at satisfying certain household commitments," he said.
"So the ministers responsible for those areas are now directed to ensure that they make application for part of that fund to target people who are in distress so that we may bring relevant relief to people right away."