By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
NATIONAL Security Minister Dr Bernard Nottage has expressed his full support of Commissioner Ellison Greenslade in the fight against escalating crime and the struggle to free the police force from corruption.
The vote of confidence comes on the heels of Prime Minister Perry Christie’s effort to distance himself from the police leadership as public outrage at the high level of crime continues to grow.
Mr Christie said he will not have his legacy tied to the performance of the police, but giving his remarks at the annual police church service yesterday, Dr Nottage said: “We cannot afford the misbehaviour of a few officers sullying the reputation of the Royal Bahamas Police Force. And the commissioner of police, God bless him, can be assured of my full support in his efforts to cleanse the police force of all undesirables.
“Similarly,” he said to the rest of the force, “you have my support if you conduct yourselves in a manner consistent with the duties and responsibility that you have chosen.
“I also take this opportunity to impress upon officers the importance of enforcing the laws of the Bahamas without fear or favour. As our police officers, you are reminded that no individual is above the law and that you are to support the law impartially at all times.”
Last Friday, at a holiday luncheon for Urban Renewal staff, Prime Minister Christie instructed Urban Renewal divisions to conduct profiles on each home in their constituencies, adding that he will continue to rededicate resources until anti-crime initiatives are completely mobilised.
He added: “. . . I’m not prepared to have my own legacy, my own reputation, be tied to a total reliance on the RBPF and the leadership of that force. And so to the extent that I am leader of the country, I am going to be intrusive in ensuring that the system which we are operating under is accountable to the people of this country, and I have the provision where I’m going to require them to be accountable to the people of this country,” he said.
Reducing the fear of crime is a top priority, said Mr Christie, who pointed to its negative impact on development and international relations.
He said: “I said to the police force when I talk about saturation, I’m talking about having identified where every killing took place in New Providence and where the preponderance of them took place in the constituency represented by me, and the constituency represented by Dr (Bernard) Nottage.
“If I have to put a policeman and a police car on every corner as they do in some countries, we are going to communicate to the criminals in this country that we are going to root them out wherever they are, whatever it takes.”
Commending their efforts in the fight against crime over the last year, Dr Nottage also said the government will give police all the resources it requires.
“It is my sincere expectation that each and every member of the Royal Bahamas Police Force is as committed to the eradication of crime as we are. And that you will give your complete support to our collective efforts.
“This is not about politics. It is about eliminating the fear of crime and ensuring the peace and tranquility of this paradise we call The Bahamas,” Dr Nottage said, before thanking the entire force and all law enforcement for their hard-work and committed efforts.