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Editorial: What Are We Doing To Protect Women?

What would you do if you found yourself being stalked?

Unfortunately, that’s the terrifying situation one of the radio personalities at 100 Jamz found herself in. Sadly, it’s a situation all too many women find themselves in.

For Erin Reign, it began innocuously enough, with someone watching her Facebook Live posts – along with many other viewers – and leaving comments.

It got worse, however, when some of those comments, left using a fake profile on social media, became threatening. Then, she got a peculiar phone call at work asking her to come outside without explanation – which she wisely refused to do. When she left work for the day, she asked a colleague to accompany her, and there was the stalker, waiting and watching. He returned a few days later, and reportedly had asked people at a nearby health centre how many exits the building had.

Erin did the right thing – she called the police, who spoke to the man, but told her that she should have him bound over to keep the peace but there was nothing else they could do.

“They just let him go. They didn’t do anything,” said Erin.

Being spoken to by the police seems to have done nothing to discourage the man – with him returning a number of times since, and even throwing a rock at a co-worker’s window.

We talk about needing to take violence against women more seriously – but what are we doing to actually stop it?

Last week, a man was in court after he threw a rock into a woman’s window after she refused to have sex with him. His penalty? Having to compensate her for the damage he caused.

Worse, earlier this month in this column we wrote about the heartbreaking killings of Alicia Sawyer and her eight-year-old daughter, Ednique Wallace. Alicia had alerted police that she was in danger – and police went out in search of a suspect, but no one was there to protect Alicia and Ednique when they were killed.

At the start of this month, Police Commissioner Paul Rolle promised a “media blitz” on the issue of domestic violence, which has not as yet been forthcoming.

But what are the practical steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of danger to women – and reduce the fear that so many women have to live with?

If police know a woman is being stalked, especially once police have spoken to someone, what do they do next? Do they revisit the scene regularly afterwards to move along any unwanted presence? Or does it get shrugged off in the hope it comes to nothing?

Sometimes officers can be an unwanted presence themselves, it would seem – in today’s court stories on page seven, a woman appearing at court accused of failing to carry government-issued ID when she was on the beach said she only received the ticket from the officer after she told him she was not interested in dating him.

And can someone, anyone, tell us where a failure to carry a government ID is a criminal offence?

As a culture, and as a nation, we are not doing enough to take women seriously, or to protect them from the worst.

We must take steps to change that – rather than wonder again what could have been done to save someone’s life.

A deal long in the making

A deal long in the making

The long-stalled Shell North America deal to provide a new power plant for New Providence has finally started to move forward again.

In August, we wondered what had happened to this project, which seemed to have disappeared off the radar.

Back in July 2018, it was hailed as a “very imminent” deal that would bring Nassau “out of the dark ages”.

Alas, those dark ages stretched on some time longer. Last year was perhaps the worst we have ever seen the state of the power supply, and while Bahamas Power and Light have done better this year, there are still fairly regular power interruptions – as youngsters trying to learn online only to contend with classes grinding to a halt from a power blip will tell you.

By August this year, that deal was no longer quite so wonderful, it would seem, and a divorce between the two sides looked likelier than a marriage.

So it is refreshing to see that progress has seemingly been made and that construction could start as soon as the start of next year.

Hurdles remain. Approvals need to be given by BPL, the government and Shell officials, and construction is likely to take at least two years, so it’s not a magic wand to solve all our problems right away.

It does seem, though, that these projects get mired in delays far too often – why does it always have to take so long to reach the point of digging the first piece of dirt?

If a deal has finally been done, then for goodness’ sake, let’s get on with it.

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