NATIONAL Security Minister Marvin Dames.
By EARYEL BOWLEG
Tribune Staff Reporter
WITH six people already dead just days into the new year, National Security Minister Marvin Dames conceded there will be “occasions like this when you have a spike” in killings.
Mr Dames also warned that there was no quick solution to stop the violence and that the country would have to wait for medium and long-term programmes to take effect to halt the killings.
Mr Dames also told reporters he thinks there is some truth to speculation that the rash of murders are gang-related, while others have been the result of domestic disputes.
His comments came days after he highlighted a 22 percent drop in murders in 2020 compared with the previous year. However, during most of 2020, New Providence – where the vast majority of the country’s violence occurs – was under curfews and movement restrictions.
Since December 30, 11 people have been murdered.
“I think that there’s some truth to some of it,” Mr Dames told reporters when asked about speculation that many of the recent killings were gang-related.
.“Few of them were domestic as well. I think that there’s some truth to it. I mean listen, this is something that we’ve been contending with for a bit. We have a problem with young men who have associated themselves with gangs – the police are fully aware – who are hell bent on creating problems, but I have (every confidence) that the police will deal with it and will deal with it in concert with laws of the land. I have (every confidence) in the police.”
Two men were found dead on Pitt Road last December. Assistant Commissioner of Police Solomon Cash told reporters on the scene it was suspected that one of the victims was involved in gang activities and small drug peddling.
At the scene of a murder this week in Montel Heights, police press liaison officer ASP Audley Peters explained that although there is some speculation “these incidents may be gang-related”, yet “we have not fully confirmed those assertions”.
When asked about his concerns over the number of killings at the start of 2021, the minister said, “You’re gonna have occasions like this when you have a spike.
“I continue to say we’re not there yet. As a government, we would’ve taken a multi-pronged approach to this issue of crime… We’re working with other agencies and other initiatives. We understand that there are no short term fixes to the problems that we face.
“What you see throughout our communities, as I continue to say, is a manifestation of decades of neglect. We ain’t gonna solve it overnight, and so while we continue to work to bring the numbers down we recognise that there are other things that we must do and are doing…”
He highlighted things such as working with young people on programmes, improving the quality of life in communities and improving education standards for young people so that at the end of the day they are capable and can get jobs.
Mr Dames also said an area that needs to be addressed in the community is domestic violence.
He said he had a meeting with the new executive board of the National Neighbourhood Watch Council and that will be the focus of their new platform for 2021 – working with families to reduce incidents of domestic violence. He mentioned it was a key focus for the police on their agenda moving forward.
He added: “It’s always sad when someone is shot, someone loses their life, but we recognise that you know this is a work in progress and we have to continue to work towards reducing the numbers.
“There’s a whole lot of things we’re doing, but we understand that while we’re doing them now they’re long-term. The fix is long-term – medium and long-term. In the short-term, we’re getting things done, but we recognise some of these things will take root in the medium and long term and so you’re gonna see from time-to-time periods where you have incidents of crime…. You may have a day you may have a murder. Tomorrow you may have another murder.
“The police are learning from those experiences in terms of, you know, how do you adjust your enforcement strategies and how do you improve your strategies. It’s a very dynamic business.”