PRIME Minister Phillip “Brave” Davis.
By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
PRIME Minister Phillip “Brave” Davis said his administration is concerned about the nation’s escalating murder rate, but is hopeful that their crime fighting initiatives will start “bearing fruit” soon.
Mr Davis commented on the nation’s rising murder toll on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of the Great Harbour Cay airport on Friday.
He told reporters that the murder count, which was 126 for the year up to press time according to this newspaper’s records, was simply unacceptable.
“We are all concerned about the murder rate and the level of homicide in our country is unacceptable,” Mr Davis said. “We are putting in place initiatives to curb it and hopefully those initiatives will be bearing fruit in short order.”
Asked for more details on crime prevention strategies, Mr Davis outlined several initiatives implemented by his administration to stamp out gun violence.
However, he did not speak to them in depth.
“We have a disruptive plan, which I can’t go into any details of. We have a saturation patrol plan. We have a violent breakers plan and we intend to engage and just those three I will speak to right now,” he continued.
“But we do have a plan that is now being implemented to arrest the murder rate we have.”
Mr Davis also addressed instances of alleged offenders being murdered while out on bail, describing this as a major part of the problem.
This comes as court officials continue their efforts to get firearm trials completed within 21 days after arraignments.
“Part of the challenge is, unfortunately, that most of the persons who are being extinguished in our country are persons who have had brushes with the law and being allowed to be out on bail,” the prime minister also said.
“And that is the challenge. Had they not been given bail, would we have this rate? You answer that question. If that’s where the target has been — and there’s no excuse for that and I’m not excusing that because any life means a lot to me and should mean a lot to you regardless of that person’s proclivity — but we have to have an answer for the retaliatory and revengeful killings that’s happening in our society.”
There have been a series of murders recorded in the country in recent months, with fears mounting that 2022 will be a record-breaking year for murders.
The country’s highest murder count was in 2015. That year, there were 146 killings on record.
Last year, there were 119 killings recorded; 73 in 2020; 95 in 2019; 91 in 2018 and 122 in 2017.
The Free National Movement has repeatedly criticised the Davis administration’s response to crime, saying the government has no workable plan to deal with the vexing issue.
However, the Davis administration has since pushed back against this characterisation, arguing that countries worldwide are also facing similar issues.
“All we need to do is look to the south of us in the Turks and Caicos. Look to the north of us in the US, look at Jamaica, in Trinidad. Look, in every country it’s a phenomenon that the world is facing,” National Security Minister Wayne Munroe said last month.