0

Responses To Crime Forum Recommendations

The recommendations of the Crime Forum and the Ministry of National Security’s responses:

1. A mandatory mentoring programme designed by fraternities, sororities and lodges should be implemented for boys and girls in schools. This programme will assist with etiquette, social skills and skill building.

Response: To be considered as an after-school programme. Discussions to be held with the Ministry of Education.

2. Enforce the capital punishment laws by resuming hanging.

R: Educate the public on the law regarding hanging, the role of the Privy Council and its rulings.

3. Employment is needed to assist in prevention of crime as poverty contributes to crime. It is felt that “If persons can’t make it, they will talk it!” The government should cease the hiring of retirees in order to reduce the unemployment rate.

R: Creation of jobs is an ongoing process. Additionally, the National Training Institute was established for the purpose of equipping persons with skills that would be required to gain employment. This government is constantly looking at ways to reduce unemployment, as this is the mandate of the government. Retirees are hired by government, usually because they possess skills and experience needed for the specific tasks and they provide training for their successors.

4. Establish a university in Andros that focuses on Eco-Tourism and/or Agriculture for the purpose of training our people and equipping them with the skills to become self-sufficient by exploiting the country’s national resources.

R: The government has made Agriculture a priority. It is establishing an Agriculture School in Andros which is projected to open in 2014.

5. Citizens need to feel a part of society.

R: Agreed. The purpose of the forum was to give citizens an opportunity to participate in their governance.

6. Response time of Police to crimes like assault needs to improve.

R: In progress. A manpower audit will be conducted to confirm whether the current police officers are adequate and whether they are posted in the most suitable positions. Additionally, a computerised system will be used to verify time of call and response to crimes that are in progress.

7. Reduce the disconnect between arrests, trials and punishment if convicted.

R: In progress. With the implementation of the Swift Justice Initiative, four additional criminal courts are being added which will bring the total to 10. Six senior lawyers will be hired to establish a Department of Public Defenders to provide legal searches where it is appropriate. It is anticipated that these measures will minimise the disconnect where is exists.

8. Increase border protection and security. Station RBDF boats at the South Beach borders of New Providence as it is a main point of entry. THere is a need to adequately fund and implement a proper border protection efforts. It is recommended that BPSEF can be comprised of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, the Immigration Department and Bahamas Customs. Crime starts at our borders and if the manpower and proper equipment are deployed at the border, there will be fewer guns and less drugs resulting in less crime.

R: This suggestion is not without merit and will receive focused attention by the Ministry.

9. Introduce a Parental Responsibility Act so that parents will be held legally responsible and accountable for the acts of their minor children.

R: We agree and will seek the government’s support for this enactment.

10. Stiffer penalties for possession of weapons. Sentencing should reflect the severity of the committed crime.

R: Agreed to be reviewed. While stiff penalties exist in the law, they are not always imposed by the judiciary as each case is considered on its own merit.

11. Introduce alternative sentencing for persons convicted of possessing small quantities of drugs.

R: Agreed. Discussions are underway for the establishment of Drug Treatment Courts to impose alternative sentencing to incarceration for drug offenders.

12. Revisit and amend the Bail Act to make it more difficult for accused persons to receive bail.

R: The Bail Act was recently amended in 2011, however, a further review maybe warranted given current circumstances.

13. Implement the “Three Strikes” law so that the penalty increases each time one commits a serious crime eg. armed robbery, rape and assault. After the third criminals act, the convict should receive a very long-term sentence.

R: To be reviewed.

14 Illegal immigration - imprisonment for persons who enter the Bahamas illegally after having been previously deported.

R: To be considered.

15. Every police station should be staffed with trained administrative personnel to address the needs of members of the public wishing to make a complaint or in need of police assistance.

R: Complaints by members of the public, in respect of tardy police response within police stations and departments, are being addressed by the Commissioner of Police and his Executive Management team. Policies and procedures are being revisited to ensure the highest level of professionalism in this regard. Mechanisms are already in place for the proper recording and investigation of complaints lodged by members of the public.

16. Assess heavy fines to persons employing illegal immigrants.

R: To be reviewed for consideration.

17. Properly manage the Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Project.

R: Installation of the National CCTV Project is not completed as yet; once the system is fully installed and operating it will be properly managed.

18. People need to develop a meaningful relationship with Christ.

R: This is a personal choice but recommended.

19. Families of murder victims need to be heard.

R: The RBDF has a unit which interacts and communicates with the families of victims.

20. There should be a programme to reintegrate criminal deportees to avoid them from continuing the criminal life especially since they bring with them more sophisticated criminal techniques.

R: This is currently being done.

21. Engage the youth in positive activities to provide them with alternatives to crime.

R: The Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture has extensive programmes and the ministry and the government support a large variety of youth organisations and clubs.

22. Introduce a national crime agenda with input from the Opposition so that in the event the government changes the plan continues.

R: To be considered.

23. Train police officers how to handle disabled persons when they visit Police Stations to lodge a complaint. Ensure that there is someone who can provide assistance especially int he case where the individual is deaf, as they are also an important part of society.

R: To be implemented.

24. There is a need for strong male role models in the schools in order to guide our boys on how to be strong, productive young men.

R: To be reviewed for consideration. A 3-5 year plan to be drafted.

25. Re-introduce truant officers.

R: This is currently being considered

26. Introduce a National Youth Service or similar programme.

R: To be reviewed for consideration.

27. Introduce a rehabilitation programme in which all inmates should participates before their release form prison in an effort to reduce recidivism.

R: This is currently being reviewed for consideration.

28. Set up a job placement agency for former inmates in an effort to reduce recidivism.

R: To be considered.

29. Provide contracts to enable persons to hire young men who are unemployed to clean up the city.

R: This is currently being done.

30. Exportation of $10 million of gold in four/five years out of the country - Cash For Gold stores should be investigated.

R: Cash for Gold business are being reviewed with the view to regulating them more strictly.

31. Build a new prison on a Family Island or Cay (eg Samana Cay, the largest uninhabited cay in the Bahamas) where convicts can be isolated and where they can farm and fish for food.

R: To be reviewd for consideration on a Family Island that is already inhabited.

32. Enforce the law by closing illegal shops.

R: Agreed.

33. Introduce standardised programmes for persons on remand at the HMP.

R: Persons on remand cannot be compelled to take part in any programmes. However, educational programmes have been designed and will be introduced shortly for those who wish to participate.

34. Give every Bahamian a half acre of land at age 18 in order to empower them and assist in the distribution of wealth. It is felt this would ignite the economy.

R: This suggestion is worthy of attention.

35. Introduce drug and crime prevention programmes in school curriculum.

R: Family life and health education, which is already a subject in the curriculum, should incorporate anti-drugs and crime prevention if they are not already included.

36. Introduce drug testing in the schools starting at grade 9.

R: Random drug testing to be reviewed for consideration.

37. Make greater use of plain clothes law enforcement officers to infiltrate gangs.

R: Agreed. To be reviewed.

38. Greater emphasis must be given to improving the relationship between fathers and their children.

R: Agreed. The introduction of new programmes such as ‘50 Good Men’, ‘Give Every Child a Father’, ‘Men Against Crime (MAC Daddy)’ and ‘Save our Sons (SOS)’ are being considered. These are geared towards filling the gap between fatherless children and to encourage fathers to play a more significant role in their chidlren’s lives.

39. Introduce the Community on Patrol (COP) initiative and community policing initiative and pay them a stipend; increase the number of police reserves.

R: To be considered. Define the consultative committee.

40. Call a solemn assembly and hold a national day of prayer. We need to remember the preamble of the constitution. The people of the Bahamas must turn from their wicked ways so that our land may be healed. Place God’s word in young people.

R: To be considered.

41. Institutional corruption within the RBPF and RBDF needs to be addressed.

R: This is currently being addressed. Whenever there are allegations against law enforcement officers, they are completely investigated and dealt with.

42. Eliminate the ankle bracelet programme as it is not working effectively.

R: The operation of the electronic monitoring programme is being reviewed.

43. Introduce a Sexual Offenders Register and Marco’s Law.

R: Draft legislation is under preparation.

44. Form a Crime Committee.

R: In the past, crime committees have not worked well. Formation of an advisory committee is being considered.

45. Train the dogs of the Canine Unit to detect guns and ammunition and position them at road blocks and ports of entry.

R: Dogs that have been trained for detection of guns and ammunition are currently being used and additional dogs are being acquired.

46. Legalise handguns so that citizens can protect themselves. If criminals know that citizens have handguns, they will think twice before committing a crime.

R: The Firearms Act already makes provision for citizens to apply for handguns, however, the circumstances under which approval may be granted are stringent.

47. Enforce penalties for minor offences such as speeding, profanity, parking in no parking zones and playing of loud music in hospital zones. Cracking down on minor offences will reduce the propensity to commit major crimes.

R: It is the position of the RBPF to prosecute all crimes.

48. Implement a national identity card so that the status of every resident of the country is known. There are too many persons walking around whose residency status is unknown.

R: An excellent suggestion that is currently being reviewed for possible implementation.

49. Foreign investments should be done in two parts, namely, the government and the people. For every $15 million invested by a foreign investor, $1 million should be used for the people for the purpose of starting their own business or to assist the police with some important initiative.

R: This matter has been referred to the Bahamas Investment Authority.

50. The minister should publicise the crime statistics that are targeted for reduction. In this way, we will see if the implemented policies and procedures are effective.

R: The RBPF releases crime statistics along with comparative analysis on a regular basis.

51. Citizens should be allowed to make complaints or seek assistance of the police and expect that it will be addressed satisfactorily.

R: Officers at all police stations have been directed to take complaints regardless of where the incident occurred.

52: Funds allotted for cigarettes in the budget of HM Prison (approximately $150,000) could be better utilised.

R: The provision of cigarettes is a stipulation of the current Prisons Act. This matter is being addressed in the new Correctional Services Bill which will be tabled in parliament during the 2013 Fall Session.

Comments

cowayne_comarcho 8 years, 1 month ago

We need to look into promoting a National Crime Watch Program were as Community residence can work together and look out for one another, Become your brothers and sisters keeper. We will not be able to solve or prevent crime until the Police, the Government, the Court System and Communities residence work together.

Sign: Cowayne Comarcho

0

John 8 years, 1 month ago

How about leading by example...Does the prime minister really need to stand up in the house of assembly and brag about his sexual prowess in his younger days? The smoking room, maybe, but on live national tv no! how about treating the HOA (especially when its being broadcast live) as an honorable place for the peoples' business? Also how about doing profiles on young criminals,,their state of mind, the use and/or abuse or drugs. alcohol or other substances, their education level and grade level, social lifestyle, family background, employment, marital status, parental status,

0

Sign in to comment