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Minnis Calls On Pm To Adopt Fnm Proposals Over Crime

One of the weapons put on show by police that has been confiscated by officers recently. Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff

One of the weapons put on show by police that has been confiscated by officers recently. Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff

By SANCHESKA DORSETT

Tribune Staff Reporter

sdorsett@tribunemedia.net

FREE National Movement Leader Dr Hubert Minnis yesterday urged Prime Minister Perry Christie to adopt the FNM’s crime plan or at least “initiate other serious ideas” to address the horrific murder and crime spree gripping New Providence.

In a press release, Dr Minnis accused Mr Christie of being “dismissive” and ignoring the crime epidemic.

On Monday, after the country recorded 13 homicide in 13 days, Mr Christie likened The Bahamas’ crime situation to the “Wild West,” as he said the recent wave of murders in the capital must solicit a “major” and “continuous” effort by his administration to “flood the streets” with officers in a bid to do “all that is necessary to bring this madness to a halt”.

He said the past bloody weekend was a “shocking development” that will require the government to do much more to “fully understand this senseless set of killings,” and have law enforcement respond “as quickly as possible” and in a “very meaningful way” in their crime-fighting efforts.

Mr Christie also said he would be speaking with National Security Minister Dr Bernard Nottage and Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade about implementing a “random exercise” where police stop and search vehicles that are carrying more than two persons.

Dr Minnis said on Tuesday that Mr Christie’s response “was just not good enough”.

“The tragic, brazen crime outbreak must spark a sense of urgency from this government,” he said. “They must take immediate action to bring order and safety to our communities. For the prime minister to be dismissive, referring to our country as ‘the Wild, Wild West,’ shows an appalling lack of leadership, all but ignoring the growing crime epidemic.

“A basic function of government is to protect the Bahamian people from the criminal elements that would wreak havoc in our communities. This cannot stand, the FNM will not allow it.”

Dr Minnis called for the government to “put politics aside” and take immediate action, using the FNM’s strategies.

“We have developed a comprehensive action plan that seeks to rip crime out at its roots. Our plan is multi-tiered and benefits from the experience of our candidates with law enforcement backgrounds,” Dr Minnis said.

“It puts a priority on making our communities and neighbourhoods safe and secure by taking a holistic approach to reducing crime by involving the entire community in our efforts to rid our country of this menace and by strengthening our police force with proper training and equipment.

“These steps can be taken today and we implore the prime minister and his government to implement our plan or at least initiate other serious ideas to addressing this horrific murder and crime spree gripping our neighbourhoods.

“Bahamians deserve nothing less from their government.”

As part of its crime plan, the FNM has pledged to adopt a “zero-tolerance” policy on crime; work with community-based partners to change the culture of violence in communities through neighbourhood safety programmes; eliminate crime habitats; enact legislation to establish the National Intelligence Agency (NIA); use state-of-the-art technology including gunshot detection devices, social media exploitation technologies, drones, etc, and establish a National Neighbourhood Watch Consultative Council.

The party has also pledged to establish a public sector anti-corruption agency; conduct a comprehensive review of police officers’ compensation; strengthen the RBDF satellite base presence/operations in the northern, central, southern and southeastern Bahamas; enforce Marco’s Law inclusive of a sexual offenders register and implement aggressive measures to address the trafficking of narcotics, firearms, human trafficking, illegal immigration and poaching.

The FNM has also said it would establish a forensic crime lab with an independent director; increase efforts on financial and cyber investigations; and place metal detectors at school entrances and use CCTV and professionally trained security officers for reinforcement.

Homicides have increased by 69 per cent compared to this period last year, according to The Tribune’s records.

By February 13 last year, police had recorded 16 murders, according to The Tribune’s records. Up to press time, 27 people had been killed so far this year, with 13 murdered in the 14 days of this month.

Comments

Itellya 2 years, 5 months ago

Suggestions from an outsider. While it will take much more than the police to bring crime to a minimum there's still some things the police might need to do. There probably will be a lot of backlashing.There may be a need to move away from what the traditional way or "the way we've always been doing things"

(a) Could the Police department do more with the manpower it has until its able to get the body's it needs?

Example- In other countries the Prime Minister or President is protected and chauffeured by the military. Rather than putting the Defence Force on the street to fight crime, assign them to chauffeur the PM and whom ever else and also have them guard his home and office and whom ever else is chauffeured and guarded by the police which will allow these police officers to return to the streets.

(b) I've seen police vehicles (small bus) have at times six officers riding. 6 persons = 3 patrol cars or 6 patrol cars if its done the way it is in the US......I watch TV so its just thought.

(c) Until the crime situation is brought to a minimum, could the police band which has 30-50 maybe more police officers not sure, go to regular duty? If a state funeral comes up pull them or give overtime pay?

(d) Make the fire department a civilian department. Win win situation there, as it provides more officers on the street and jobs for persons interested in being firemen but not in being a policeman.

(e) Not sure how many work in this area but Civilianize the police dispatch area with well vetted, intelligent and trained persons, probably leaving a police in charge of the area. That should put more police on the street and more jobs for civilians.

(f) Is there really a need for the 15 or more police stations around this island of 21x7? Is it putting a dent in crime? Dismantle them all build one central police station/jailhouse because jail is different from prison right? Use half the amount of officers stretched across these stations to facilitate the Central station/jailhouse and the other half put them on the streets.

(g) Maybe time to revamp the training program at the police college if it hasn't already been done? The whole thought of policing has to be super updated. Officer graduating out of training should be ready for the streets and given his service weapon, paired with a seasoned policeman, and put in a patrol car instead of flooding downtown with police in ceremonial uniforms. Put traffic wardens instead to direct traffic and give tickets on Bay..Win win more civilian jobs.

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Itellya 2 years, 5 months ago

(h) is there a need for a whole " traffic divison"? or should that be every patrol vehicles business to investigates accident. Could still keep some cycle officers for special escorts and traffic surveillance and the part that deals with serious accidents. That should add more to the streets...I don't know but just saying.

(I) All for an air wing area but why not with a helicopter instead of a plane to patrol from the air. It works in other countries very well.

(j) revamp the K9 unit and use them more on actual patrols to search for those who "fled on foot". put more K9 Unit patrols vehicles each shift

(k) Seriously beef up CCTV and those to really monitor it fulltime. Police cant be everywhere but where they fall short CCTV should pick up the slack. Put elevated sky watch or mobile patrol tower stations in hotspots manned by an officer or two.

(L) beef up the reserves. Sweeten the pot so to speak. Volunteerism in this area may not be working in this day and time. Revamp it make it a part-time job with FULL medical coverage and pay more, properly account for the hours they work and train them properly, put them in a patrol car.

(M) Is there a computer generated study of hotspot statistics?

(N) Police should be a well paying profession because of all they put on the line. Compensate them well for the job they do, give them the up-to-date equipment they need. Some of my cop friends say they have to hustle uniforms. Provide all of them with regular and up-to-date training, training, and more training.

Just some suggestions but then you hear the words, "we're not ready for that", "that's a US thing", "that will never happen", "this is the Bahamas",.....All it amounts to is a venting session. Im just a simple fellow who watches TV.

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