Editorial: A Process That Brings Answers

EARLIER this year, we raised grave concerns over an incident of alleged police brutality in Eleuthera.

Three people claimed they were tortured by police on the island – with the methods including being bound and beaten, a fish bag put over their heads, hot sauce poured into the eye and even being waterboarded.

The three people were innocent – and were released – but the alleged torture had taken place more than a year before, a year in which they heard nothing from police about their complaint, a year which concluded in them being told they were out of time for their complaint to be dealt with, even though they made it in good time.

Just as horrific as the allegations themselves was the lack of seriousness their complaint – of being tortured by police officers – was taken.

We welcome, therefore, the swiftness with which action has been taken in another incident.

Earlier this month, two women – Dejah Laing and Aaliyah Bain – accused a police officer of punching them in the face while they were travelling home from the Rolleville Homecoming Festival and Regatta in Exuma.

Pictures of Ms Laing’s gashed eyelid circulated widely on social media – and she claimed that the officer had punched her five times in the face.

A formal procedure has now begun to bring disciplinary charges against the accused officer. It would be wrong to comment on the details of that process – after all, what we seek is justice in these cases, and that requires both sides of the story to be heard fairly.

What we do welcome, however, is that the process has ­begun in a timely manner. It has, in short, been taken seriously.

This works both ways – it allows the alleged victim to know the complaint is being dealt with properly, and if the officer is proven innocent, he doesn’t have an allegation hanging over him for a prolonged time. We get answers – and that’s what’s needed when allegations of brutality are made.

These are just two cases, but they show the good and the bad of the police process of dealing with such allegations. We hope this latest case is the way such cases will be dealt with in future.

Individual offences are down to the officers concerned – but how those allegations are handled reflects on the force itself. Let us hope such quick action helps to ensure the force’s good name.

New life for downtown

The signing of a $250m deal to manage the Nassau Cruise Port yesterday is hopefully the start of a rejuvenation of the waterfront area in downtown Nassau.

If all goes to plan, the 25-year agreement will lead to a new terminal, a waterfront park, a harbour village, a new inner harbour, an amphitheatre, a Junkanoo museum and more – much more.

The downtown area has long needed to be shaken up. The area has become rundown – from buildings that need sprucing up to alleyways stuffed with trash, and a general lack of care that has become more obvious by the way successive administrations have ignored it.

This hopefully stops now. We also hope that this can spark other businesses to breathe new life into the area.

Can we look forward to a downtown area that will be regarded as the jewel of the region – both for visitors to the island and for locals who have long deserved better? We sincerely hope so.


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