EDITOR, The Tribune
There have now been six murders in the first six days of 2021. All of these murders have involved illegal handguns. Yet little outrage was expressed in the media or elsewhere when a magistrate last week sentenced a man to a mere 13 years imprisonment for the possession of an illegal firearm, even though he offered the damning explanation that he had the gun for the purpose of selling it!
I have long argued that the judiciary and magistracy are among the most failed institutions in this country, a situation that is aggravated by their tendency to arrogate to themselves a sense of being above the criticism of the society they continue to disserve. It is my opinion that this latest example speaks to a magistrate who should be removed from the bench immediately.
With their lax sentencing for gun possession, magistrates and judges continue to normalise behaviours that are destroying our society. In this they are assisted by low quality politicians, who seem to bow to judicial lobbying out of a misplaced sense of colonial deference (maybe it’s the wigs and pageantry), even at the cost of safeguarding the society they were elected to protect.
Hubert Ingraham agreed to remove statutory minimum sentences for gun possession after being so lobbied and the result has been the continued easy availability of guns that daily undermines the viability of Bahamian society.
Meanwhile, the present government has incredibly sought to take credit for a dip in murders for 2020, despite that being a year of unprecedented lockdowns and curfews that also drastically reduced every other kind of extra-mural activity, from dental visits to weddings. Why should shooting people be any different?
Typically, rather than address such simple (and egregious) issues like people getting 13 months for carrying around high powered, illegal weapons and trying to sell them, this government chooses to dazzle us with the latest technological gimmicks that will at most give a high-tech edge to the interminable wars between badly trained police and highly armed criminals that our judiciary and politicians do precious little to address at the root.
January 6, 2021