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‘Partisan Politics Gets In Way Of Fighting Crime’

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Sir Arthur Foulkes

By NICO SCAVELLA

Tribune Staff Reporter

nscavella@tribunemedia.net

FORMER Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes yesterday highlighted the negative impact “partisan politics” has on remedying the country’s crime crisis, saying that the country “has not been good at knowing where to draw the lines in our politics” when addressing the issue. 

Sir Arthur said the country - and parliamentarians in particular - need to “learn where politics begins and ends”. He said partisan politics and/or assigning crime to any one political party “prevents us from coming together when we really need to come together as a people - regardless of our political affiliation - to address national problems”.

Sir Arthur also refuted suggestions that the implementation of capital punishment is an efficient deterrent for the country’s growing crime problems.

He said the focus should instead be placed on intervening in the lives of young men before they turn to a life of crime. 

Sir Arthur’s comments come after dozens of heavily-armed SWAT officers locked down Nassau Village on Tuesday afternoon, moments after a 22-year-old father of one was shot multiple times and killed while walking in the area.

That latest homicide took the country’s murder count to 134 for the year according to The Tribune’s records, the highest recorded in the history of the Bahamas.

While in opposition, the Progressive Liberal Party campaigned on an election promise that it had the answers to crime while the Ingraham Free National Movement (FNM) administration did not. The party even erected billboards in heavily trafficked areas that said there were more than 490 murders during the FNM’s five-year government. 

Last month, while in the Senate, State Minister for National Security Keith Bell blamed the FNM for the country’s current crime crisis, adding that had the former administration “been responsive, a great deal of the violence that we are experiencing today could have been avoided”. 

Speaking at a Rotary Club of Southeast Nassau meeting at East Villa restaurant yesterday, Sir Arthur lamented such actions, stating that “a lot of the problem in which we address (crime) is political”.

“We have not been good at knowing where to draw the lines in our politics,” he said. “Now, as a former Governor General, I’m not supposed to be partisan, but I think I can make a general statement like that. 

“We have to learn where politics begins and ends. There are times when we take partisan politics too far. As for instance we’ve had a history in this country of political victimisation. That’s taking partisan politics too far. 

“And what that does is, it prevents us from coming together when we really need to come together as a people – regardless of our political affiliation – to address national problems. And that’s a great part of our problem. Another part of the problem is it seems that some people simply do not care.” 

In light of the recent and record-breaking crime wave, some have called for the re-implementation of the death penalty to combat the country’s crime crisis.

Most recently, Bishop Simeon Hall, the Pastor Emeritus of New Covenant Baptist Church, said the government needs to implement “Draconian measures” that would “cause the would-be criminals to think twice”. 

He added that he is “afraid for what the future looks like in terms of crime unless we take another approach”. 

“That’s not a solution,” Sir Arthur responded. “What you’re saying is the young men are killing other people, so what those people are saying is the state should get in on the action and kill them too. If you’re against violence, you don’t solve the problem of violence with more violence. I am utterly opposed to capital punishment. I think it makes killers of us all, it is demeaning to a society, and think about the young people. 

“And I get distressed when I hear church leaders say (that). Our job is to save these young people, not to hang them, and hopefully save them before they get to the stage where they’re committing horrendous crimes like murder.”

On Monday, Prime Minister Perry Christie insisted that the Bahamas is “not a killing field” as he suggested that in a matter of weeks Bahamians will see the government’s new and aggressive crime fighting strategies implemented. 

Mr Christie said the country cannot and must not allow the continuation of the wanton display of disregard for human life. 

On Tuesday, shortly after the country’s 134th murder, Police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade said he was “not surprised” by the country’s rising murder count, and warned that the trend will continue if changes are not made to the country’s legislative policies. 

However, Commissioner Greenslade suggested that the reforms could be on the way, describing a lengthy recent meeting with Mr Christie and National Security Minister Dr Bernard Nottage as very encouraging. 

Comments

birdiestrachan 2 years, 11 months ago

All political parties should learn and so should the news media not to use crime as a political football. The FNM may not have put up bill boards , but they did say they had the answer to crime . Mother Pratt was the problem. It is really to recent to forget what the FNM did and said about crime when they wanted to win the election. And they did not and do not have the answer to crime, just as the PLP does not have the answer. I do not believe in the death sentence.

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tonymontana 2 years, 11 months ago

this birdy must be a dodo bird ,

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TalRussell 2 years, 11 months ago

Welcome back Comrade Arthur, to your Shirley & Deveaux Tribune home. Them upstairs been missing you in the worst way.
Let's shift over to a da peoples minister responsible for their security Bernard, a man who back in 2005, you were strong on describing as towering over balance in the PLP party. You also said how Bernard is seen by his fellow PLP's, as towering over Perry in the "competence" department.
How you feeling these days about Bernard's competence? So much was your confidence, you were predicting Bernard to succeed Perry's "one term" if he became PM after 2007 General. Do you still think Bernard is PM material come 2107?

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Emac 2 years, 11 months ago

Birdie the PLP spider

Spins her web so well!

She works so hard for her masters

As ev’ry one can tell.

Whene’er their plans go amiss

Birdie’s job is to spin and twist.

And if the people complain

Birdie brings them pain.

She spits her venom at those who get mad

Even though she knows her masters been bad.

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SP 2 years, 11 months ago

................... “partisan politics” is the root cause of the country’s crime crisis .................

Bahamians mimic ostriches sticking their heads into a hole to avoid facing the truth.

Crime like any other Phenomenon did not "just happen" of it own fruition.

Bahamas was led to this present crime epidemic predicament by decades of political mismanagement by the PLP and FNM.

Failure to keep economic growth in pace with population growth, coupled with failure in education is the reason our country is "unbalanced" and chaotic today.

How many children of politicians in the past 43 years attended public schools? Why are public schools adequate for the electorates children but not good enough for the "hired helps" (politicians) children?

Politicians shifting blame for crime to fatherless children is no more than a futile cop-out for feeble minded minions that choose to continue recycling slick, failed leaders.

Time pull our heads out of the hole and collectively decide to rid ourselves of those that brought us to this failed destination.

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The_Oracle 2 years, 11 months ago

Anyone who would blame one political party or the other need only look in a mirror to see a main contributor. How did we get here? We assumed the Authority for ourselves without taking responsibility for ourselves, we dismantled the clerical system of colonial rule and replaced it with political minions, willing to do the bidding of the new master. we burned the rules of conduct and threw out the Barbadian prison officers, Jamaican police officers, and infiltrated the judiciary with our new found power and influence. Permanent Secretaries became disposable, shuffle-able, as much as Incompetent cabinet ministers. And all the while, the rot crept up while the corruption crept down. To fix any of this requires the admission of guilt, Failure, fraud. I do not believe we will ever concede that we have lost, failed, as the fraud/graft/kickback pays too well. And the power corrupts them all.

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Bahamianpride 2 years, 11 months ago

Where is the church in all this fighting for the hearts, minds, and souls of the lost. There is one on almost every block in the ghetto, but ever since the gospel of prosperity has become the message of the day, concern for the suffering has been replaced by the goal of self enrichment through exploitation. I was shocked to read about the many men of God ( call no names) advocating vigorously for young men involved in murder to meet the hangman's noose Yet them and their family have benefited from the generousity of the flook, many whom give their last in the name God to ensure Pastor keep his mercedes. The church has become a fashion show full of sybolic gestures, ceremony, exploitation and just outright hypocrisy. It has lost all integrity and the ability to affect change, Jesus would be very disappointed..

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The_Oracle 2 years, 11 months ago

When the Churches AND Parents largely relinquished Education to the Government, their contribution was made.

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sheeprunner12 2 years, 11 months ago

Every citizen is responsible for playing a role in crime ......... either committing, accomplicing or preventing ..... which part are you (and me) playing????????? .......... there are just too many settling for the first two roles because too many of us see crime as a benefit rather than a vice

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banker 2 years, 11 months ago

The United States has experienced a massive decrease in crime trending over the past 20 years & the decreases are getting more dramatic each year. The same goes for Canada and most developed countries. This has been studied by the Brennan Center for Justice at The New York University School of Law and among other academics. They have compiled a list of causative factors, and these are the most significant:

(1) Decrease in Unemployment

(2) Increase in Income

(3) Increase in Consumer Confidence

(4) Decrease in alcohol consumption

(5) Decrease in crack cocaine use

(6) Legalised abortion

(7) Aging population

(8) Increase in social media and gaming by the young who were traditionally the worst offenders -ie they are hooked the internet & kept busy

(9) Here is a strange one -decrease in leaded gasoline is a factor.

(10) Use of data and technology in crime fighting as a preventative measure

Here is what doesn't work:

(1) High degrees of incarceration

(2) the death penalty

(3) right to carry guns

(4) increase police numbers

From 2000-2013 there has been a 27% decline in violent crimes in America including murder. There has been a 25% decrease in property crimes (stealing, burglary, robberies) in the same period. Factored over the years 1990 - 2013 there has been a 50% decrease in murders in violent crime in America.

Studies show that based on original empirical analysis conducting the first nationwide study of applying the technology of CompStat- a modern police management tool has a dramatic effect on crime. CompStat’s effectiveness on crime is that the introduction of a CompStat-style program may be responsible for a 5 to 15 percent decrease in crime across cities that introduced it. CompStat is a police management technique - a way to run police departments — that was widely deployed in the nation’s cities in the 1990s & 2000s, starting in New York in 1994. Specifically, a CompStat-style program is associated with a 13 percent decrease in violent crime, an 11 percent decrease in property crime, and a 13 percent decrease in homicide.

And the overriding element to crime reduction, is a healthy, diverse economy.

So in many ways, the Bahamas is really behind the eight ball. We have people crying for the things that do not reduce crime. We have a police and government who are dinosaurs, klepocrats and corrupt criminals themselves who really don't want to fix the economy or fight crime. So, we are doomed and we are in a death spiral that will get worse and worse until Bahamians come to their senses and lock up the treasonous politicians who brought us here.

Tal and Birdie are perfect examples of how partisanship trumps truth, goodness, patriotism and ethics. Whenever the perfidy of the vomitus ruling PLP is pointed out, the first words out of their mouths are FNMs or Red Shirts. These people do not have a patriotic bone in their bodies, and have sold their souls to the dark side.

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