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Police Chief Not Surprised By Rising Murder Count

Then Police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade

Then Police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

A FRUSTRATED Ellison Greenslade yesterday said he was “not surprised” by the nation’s rising murder count, telling reporters that that he predicted months ago that the country would continue to have problems if certain changes were not made.

While he said he is “disturbed” and “concerned” over the rate of homicides, the police commissioner defended the effectiveness of police officers yesterday. However, he stressed the need for legislative reform to aid officers in the fight against violent crime.

His comments came at a special press conference at police headquarters, shortly after a man was shot dead in the Nassau Village constituency. The killing pushed the country’s homicide count to 134 for the year.

Following that homicide, Mr Greenslade deployed throughout New Providence a “selective enforcement team made up of the finest officers” in the force, “officers that have received the best training in heavy arms”.

Many Bahamians took to social media throughout the day to note the heavy presence of armed officers in some communities, with some describing certain areas as being on “lockdown”.

“I’m not surprised,” Mr Greenslade said. “Despite our best intentions, I foreshadowed this many months ago when I gave you an interview and I said if we do not change our trajectory – not the police department – but if we didn’t change generally as a country, look at some policy issues, some legislative reforms issues and some other initiatives, we were going to continue to have problems.”

The commissioner of police suggested that the reforms could be on the way, describing a lengthy recent meeting with Prime Minister Perry Christie and National Security Minister Bernard Nottage as very encouraging.

Mr Greenslade added: “Whatever weapons are on the streets, we have outmatched them. We are going to stay out there as long as it takes. Any well meaning mother, any well meaning citizen should stay out of the way of law enforcement and allow us to do our work fairly, firmly and professionally. I’m asking the public to help us. Stop cloaking men with guns, women with guns, men with drugs, women with drugs.”

Asked about suspected increased gang activity recently, Mr Greenslade said: “The only gangs that I know about in the Bahamas that deserve any recognition are the Royal Bahamas Police Force, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, Her Majesty’s Prisons, the Customs services, the Immigration Department, the Road Traffic Department.

“Those are the law enforcement agencies, with the addition of a few more, that are allowed by the law to be in groups to do anything in a concerted way. The law doesn’t allow anyone else of any other description to do anything that looks like law enforcement, to possess guns, to traffic dope. Do not ask Ellison Greenslade to legitimise criminality. I’m not going to do it.”

Amid concern about violent crime, Mr Greenslade has consistently cited the ease at which “prolific offenders” receive bail as a key contributor to the problem.

He did so again yesterday, saying: “When we arrest persons in possession of an AK47 type weapon, an illegal firearm with ammunitions and clips…we have to ensure as a people, all of us, that we say, the line has been drawn in the sand and if law enforcement has done due diligence, we must now ensure that those people cannot reoffend and kill people.”

“There are some things that need to be fixed, other than arresting people, other than taking bad people off the streets on a given day. I cannot make a bad person who has committed murder, is intent on doing it again; I cannot make him or her change. What I can do is what I have done again this morning, not for the first time, arrest them and take them before the halls of justice and I’m asking that they are not allowed to return to the streets to continue to kill people and to continue to possess guns and travel with drugs.”

Mr Greenslade also complained about other social realities that are beyond the control of officers - issues only the country’s legislators can do something about.

“You tell me why we would give someone a permit to open a club in front of a church,” he said. “You tell me why we in the Bahamas, not the police, would give a permit to someone to run a club until 4am in the morning. You tell me why a person would rent a private home in a community and allow all kinds of criminals to congregate, block the road and disturb people in their sleep at night with perceived immunity? Fundamentally flawed. Arresting those people doesn’t solve the problems. Post arrest, something else must happen. We need to look again at some policies Bahamas-wide.”

Mr Greenslade added that the police force is just one weapon in the fight against crime.

“I don’t want to make this a police-centric conversation,” he said.

“I can point you to places in the United States of America, and other countries where crime rates have fallen and if you were to speak to those people they would tell you a combination of things have happened. While law enforcement is busy arresting those same prolific offenders, there are legislative reforms so that the person we spoke about that is killing people is not able to kill again. I read an article last night which indicated to me a man was arrested in Texas for committing murder and his bail was set at $2.5 million. He’s not going to be able any time soon to go back and kill anybody else and he will be treated very fairly by the system in that country but the public will know that they will not have to worry about that man killing anybody else.”

Comments

tuger0069 3 years, 7 months ago

strange comments from cop. club by a church has nothing to do with crime. what are the church doing? nothing. why give church permit? the laws are fine its just your strategy that's not right. are we not a country of law n order? you to have to follow the laws of the land. do it to the best of your ability and the crime rate will fall. smart planning sir

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johnmcntsh 3 years, 7 months ago

Tuger, I respectively disagree. Law enforcement is much more than the police departments. It is also the prosecutors and esteemed judiciary that are also responsible for enforcing the laws of the land. Any one, without the complete cooperation of the other two, will result in cataclysmic failure. The social and business communities must also step up and help address the problem as well as communities. Think Neighborhood Watches for example.

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TruePeople 3 years, 7 months ago

From the horses mouth:

Mr Greenslade said: “The only gangs that I know about in the Bahamas that deserve any recognition are the Royal Bahamas Police Force, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, Her Majesty’s Prisons, the Customs services, the Immigration Department, the Road Traffic Department.

“Those are the law enforcement agencies, with the addition of a few more, that are allowed by the law to be in groups to do anything in a concerted way . The law doesn’t allow anyone else of any other description to do anything that looks like law enforcement, to possess guns, to traffic dope. Do not ask Ellison Greenslade to legitimise criminality. I’m not going to do it.”

.................................. wow

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TalRussell 3 years, 7 months ago

I believe the Comrade Commish was the best person for the job at the time. Many still feel his integrity has remained untarnished. I can only wonder if he really knew how political his new job would turn out be?
His leadership today calls for him - not to allow his frustration to excuse his policeman's from doing their jobs of vigorously providing public safety. It is important for the Commish to recognize that for his policeman's to stay true to the larger mission of providing pubic safety, they must begin to repair the distrust held by so many members of our nation's communities.
Any member of the force, regardless of their rank or years of service, who is opposed to change - is not worthy of retaining his/her badge and should either be dismissed or transferred to another department of government.
I would like to remind the Commish that it was none other than former prime minister Papa Hubert, who stood up in the House of Assembly to apologize for his red regime's terrible mistake in denying bail under his regime's mandatory sentencing. In fact Papa said; it was a bitter pill to swallow over - how damn wrong his regime were to cause so many be jailed.

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 7 months ago

he predicted months ago that the country would continue to have problems if certain changes were not made.

Many people pooh pooh crime fighting ideas from "pundits" on the basis that they would take too long to implement. It is such an odd concept for me to grasp, who in leadership ever says, We can't think about our future, We have issues to deal with tomorrow?

There is no one in the entire world who can produce a plan to eliminate robberies, car thefts, house break ins or murders tomorrow, next week, next month or next quarter. We didn't take a year to get in this mess and it will take us more than a year to get out. The solution is by definition long term.

If the visionless politicians had allowed the Commissioner to do his job with the gaming people three years ago, we would have had a stronger commissioner, "in the eyes of the public", today. But nobody thought about the long term effects of undermining the Commissioner of Police and here we are in PLP cabinet crap hole three years later.

If someone with sense doesn't start thinking about the longterm effects of decisions made today, only god knows what state we'll be in November 2018.

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Jetflt 3 years, 7 months ago

Well said Commissioner..........the legislature must make necessary changes so that serious offenders stay locked up and the judiciary needs to wake up and smell the coffee!!!!

You start locking people up for life and you start sentencing murderers to death, and you watch how quickly crime suddenly drops! It'll drop like a rock! Guaranteed!

Commissioner.........set up a few more elite and well equipped teams of highly trained SWAT/ commando type officers and assign them strategically to the hot spots on the Island. Give them full authority to do whatever needs to be done to take someone out if they need to.

You all want to get crime under control before it begins to eat your lunch when tourist stop coming to the Bahamas, you need to get real serious about fighting crime.

Cuba is about to open up Bahamas..........wake up!!!!

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John 3 years, 7 months ago

Simply put the police are expecting retaliation killings for an alleged gang member. Maybe it's time for police (along with the Defence Force to launch an "all out" assault on gangs and gang members and gang banging. Launch a "guns and gangs" hotline where persons can call in with information on persons who have illegal weapons or are known gang members. Act immediately on persons who have guns and collect intelligence on gang bangers. Once the time is right Uniate an island wide or country wide swoop on gang bangers and bring them before the courts. Do this every couple months (prosecution). And keep these criminals on the run. Once they get the message that gang and gang banging will not be tolerated they will disband. And once the public see these persons going before the courts and being put away, they will tolerate more with the police and give more information.

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 7 months ago

I agree that criminals need to be taken off the street, but where are all of these newly captured people going to go? It's like saying I need to take enough water for a trek through 2 days of desert but bringing a teacup for the transport.

By no means am I saying sit back and don't attempt to detain anyone, but where is the speech from BJN telling us about the state of the art prison he's building to handle the overflow and the team of professional builders like Mosko that he has on the project? This is an absolute disgrace, how many more years must we hear about 6 to a cell and slop buckets? When is he going to tell us about the experts who will help to plan and implement reform initiatives in the new prison? Where was he when the gaming referendum was being debated? Where was he during VAT implementation and all the plans for carnival? Where was he when Nygard was lobbying for his stem cell facility? What use are Bernard Nottage and Keith Bell to us as policy makers on the crime front? How much more time do we need to judge them as failures?

Can anyone recall when he STOOD UP and gave his address on crime during the 2015 budget debate?

I get really afraid of people who's only strategy is "round them up". Not because I love criminals or because I'm a bled heart (I am a bleed heart), but because the throw away the key strategy is a clear sign of my future in the hands of a visionless leader. That means I perish,my children perish, my family and my country perishes.

Unless they're convicted of a heinous crime, they're coming out someday with lots of pent up anger, new crime strategies (funny, the only people without a longterm plan is us) and they're coming out with God knows what infectious diseases

This country needs leaders with vision so badly.

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 7 months ago

"Whose" not "who's"...d-average

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Bahamianpride 3 years, 7 months ago

Thisours, valid points. People believe u can arrest away the problem which is a proven failed long term strategy as we have seen with the current issue with the war on drugs in the U.S & around the world. Crime is only a symptom of the disease that has taken over our country. The greater problem is that we have allowed corruption to go unchecked for to long and with most dysfunctional societies a trickle down occurs & all existence is negatively affected.

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John 3 years, 7 months ago

@ This is ours: your post is non sensical in many ways. No one is advocating "locking up everyone and throwing away the key", but bringing law breakers to justice and meeting out penalties as the law requires. Regardless of what B J Nottage said or did not say or did or did not do, it it time to bring crime in this country under control. At least to the point that the average person can feel safe on the streets or in their own homes. Drastic times requires drastic measures and if young men know that gang banging or other crimes will result in them being put in a cell with 6 or 7 other criminals and an open, stinking, overflowing slop bucket and they still choose to engage in crime then it's their choice to make. And if they come out unreformed and full of anger that too is their choice if they end up with diseases and back in prison. Sounds like you prefer society should accommodate them and suffer with the havoc they cause. Stop using every opportunity to politicize everything. Crime is too serious for that. BTW. Graveyards, too, are becoming overpopulated!

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 7 months ago

"Non sensical", it's serious but I have to laugh, here we ago again. Do you realize that the young men who are killing today know that they can go to a 6 to a cell, slop bucket environment? I'm sure they don't want to get caught and I'm sure they won't enjoy their stay, but guess what they will do when they get out?

I heard a story of a young man, literally just released from a three year drug sentence who was really excited about his future. Apparently while imprisoned he had made some great connections and had visions of promotion and expansion as he was now closer to those at the top of the supply chain.

We need a comprehensive strategy that includes detention and reform. We've tried the detention only strategy for forty years and it has not worked. Did you hear what Obama had to say about using the same failed strategy for fifty years? Cuba open.

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John 3 years, 7 months ago

Paris announced that it killed Abdel Abaaoud last night. He is believed to be the ring leader who launched the attacks in Paris last week. Was also involved in selling drugs and arms and terrorism. Cool ice used 5,000 rounds of ammunition to eliminate him. Swift and descisive justice!

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 7 months ago

You're right, Killing all "suspect" young men in Bain town, fox hill, yellow elder and Nassau village under the age of 25 might eliminate the problem...I hadn't thought of that before

If we look back through the headlines, I wonder how many times we'll see the phrase, "the head of Al Qaeda/Isis has been killed"

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Emac 3 years, 7 months ago

@Thisisours-I agree 100%! People who simply want to lock up everyone and throw them all in an already overcrowded jail are being ingenious to say the least. The "lock dem up and throw away the key syndrome" is old school and ineffective. That type of action simple doesn't work. Yes criminals should be put away, but when they return to society they should be better citizens. Without reform, we will see the same problems reoccur over and over again.

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Bahamianpride 3 years, 7 months ago

A police, arrest, court, jail only strategy is like using a pin to pop chicken pox pimples to eradicate the disease. There are just to many young men being raised in broken homes without male guidance hanging on blocks doing nothing. Poorly socialized, poorly educated, living in poverty, breeding more kids in this dyfunctional environment. U lock them up for petty crimes like smoking weed without rehabilitation & six months later what do u have, a hardened criminal young man hanging on the block committing more serious crimes including murder. We need to attack this problem at its root with a cordinated effort from individuals in the business community, the church, social services, the police, the schools, and any community based organizations. People want to leave it all to the criminal justice system, especially the police, but the police cannot fight crime alone in a free society without the support of everyone in the country. At this point I don't see anything changing, the Bahamas today is a place where people don't even know their neigbors anymore nor do they care too. The fear has parylized many to the point where all movement is controlled and timed based on necessity.

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John 3 years, 7 months ago

This is Ours; your words: "You're right, Killing all "suspect" young men in Bain town, fox hill, yellow elder and Nassau village under the age of 25 might eliminate the problem...I hadn't thought of that before, "yet you promote ignorance and deception, How can you even suggest that is what the post is advocating. Now we know where our crime problems stem from and society is malfunctioning. Yet you want to criticize those in power but look what you are doing, and so shameless with it Woe unto you too.

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TruePeople 3 years, 7 months ago

But aren't you the one celebrating the murder of Alluah Akbar Jihadist? Someone killed extra-judicially? y'all is really loss me at time jhed. In fact, i know gunman could say we killed that man to enforce justice where the judical system refused to do so. Police kill a man and sey he did the right thing cus man was criminal. Man kill a man and all the country people jumping up like the crowd who condemn jesus shouting Hang him Hang him.

All y'all is have criminal ways jhed, y'all just ein see it yet.

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TruePeople 3 years, 7 months ago

My point is everyone loves to blame someone else, but we should realise we're all part of the problem with our mentality that 'that guys a criminal, show no mercy'. Whether it's jail shooting them dead in the street, all ya see is more anger and aggression aimed at already angry and aggressive people with no pause to say 'what can i actually do to help that person' or considering that compassion and charity goes a long way to healing this effed up society.

When we as people respond to such criminal acts by recommending extra-judicial killings or in-humane imprisonment we're not that different from the same people we see as the enemy. The reasoning streetman use to justify killing their one another is the same reasoning we use to recommend a show no mercy and shoot on site mentality. When they are arrested people want them hung, which again, is murder (i'm sure someone will correct me but... what else do you call an intentional killing?)

That being said, apparently i'm an ignorant promoter of violence and mayhem (?!) so y'all just do ya own damn ting

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John 3 years, 7 months ago

Let's not pretend to be ignorant. When the French police went out Tuesday night to arrest Abbaoud on Tuesday night, they were met with violence and resistance. Abbaoud's wife set off a suicide vest and blew up herself with attempts too kill and injure others. Two persons were killed that night and seven taken in alive. When they went after Abbaoud last night there was also resistance. The French police considered that due to the nature of the crime and the severity of the crime, Abbaoud should not be allowed to escape. He not only destroyed the peace and tranquility of France but virtually destroyed that country's economy overnight. He was brought down with swift, resounding and decisive action. Same thing the commissioner says needs to be done here. To restore sanity and safety back to the country before we, too, are destroyed. Sounds like you is one a dem who celebrating the 134 murder count "jhed'. And violence and crime in general.

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TruePeople 3 years, 7 months ago

I ein kno how it sound like i'se celebrating anything king. But i still ein sure wha you trying to sound like you sayin.... If ya boy Abbaoud deserves to die because he's a killer, then all the young criminals getting shot down round here also deserve to die according to your reasoning.... In which case you are no different from either Abdul or any other killer... and it sounds like you're the one happy about that 134 number iyah

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John 3 years, 7 months ago

You are full of ignorance and deceit. That's why you posting under different names. I know better than to argue with ignorance

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TruePeople 3 years, 7 months ago

yea... don't address the reasoning. just throw some insults and run off ... nice

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 7 months ago

When people start throwing names rather than ideas, it's a losing battle

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 7 months ago

The COP knows who are the chronic criminals are .......... just 100 or so fellas (like Isis) ...... all he has to say to the SWAT guys ....................GO get them!!!!!!!!!

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