By LEANDRA ROLLE
WITH the country’s murder rate having already surpassed last year’s count, a leading bishop is urging Bahamians to take a more “non-political, bi-partisan” approach to the crime problem in the country.
Bishop Simeon Hall said the nation needs to be more unified in order to tackle the issue. “I think as a whole society, the police, the court system, the public we all need to conjoin our efforts and send a strong message to the criminal mandate so we could stop this crime. Family after family, on a weekly basis, (are impacted by crime) while we talk and make all kinds of rhetoric that satisfies some.
“No, I think we need to all come together and say enough is enough,” Bishop Simeon Hall told The Tribune yesterday.
“There’s a need to stop politicising crime and stop pointing fingers and there’s an urgent need for a national, bi-partisan approach to remove this nightmare and I believe that that’s where we can move forward.”
The prominent bishop was speaking on the increase of murders this year compared with last year’s figure.
In 2018, police recorded 91 murders for the year, which was a considerable decrease from 122 in 2017.
But, according to The Tribune’s records, the country’s murder 2019 count is already up to 95 with two weeks left until the end of the year. The latest murder victim was 40-year-old mother-of-six Cleo Lockhart, who was shot dead and found in bushes in Nassau Village early Saturday.
Officials have since noted the increase of homicides as a result of police resources being stretched thin in dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.
However, despite this, there are some Bahamians who are still blaming the Minnis administration for the high rate of crime in the capital, noting it as one of government’s many failures in living up to their promises to the Bahamian people.
The Minnis administration has previously said officials want to reduce the number of murders in the country to at least 85 by 2021.
In order to curb the escalating homicides, Bishop Hall is suggesting the country needs to stop “playing the blame game” and instead inspire more fear into the minds of criminals.
“As a society, we’ve done miserably in placing fear in the minds of criminals. Most hardened criminals in our country are not afraid of the police and believe they could beat the court system,” he added.
“And, they are impervious to the best the church has to offer. Pronouncements about success and reduction in crime continue to be punctuated by our nationwide crime culture with a low regard for the value of human life.
“We must match this culture of death with a national approach where the fear of crime by the public will be outdistanced by the fear to commit crime by criminals...We need to send a strong message that if you do the crime, you will do the time. “
While Bishop Hall said he is not an advocate for capital punishment, he told The Tribune that he does believe stronger punishment methods needs to be implemented in the country.
“Nobody is advocating for capital punishment, but whatever is next to capital punishment, I say we need to find the vehicle for persons who are convicted and found guilty of unequivocally taking the a should be put away for life. .. (We also) need a combined effort by all the political parties and other social stakeholders to come up with a crime plan.”