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EDITORIAL: Questions over violence interrupters

THE Minister of National Security must think we are fools.

Wayne Munroe tells us that Carlos Reid and Rodney Moncur have never been contracted as violence interrupters – despite it having been announced as such by the Office of the Prime Minister.

Indeed, the Prime Minister himself has commented previously on the role of Mr Moncur in particular, without having dismissed the suggestion that he was a violence interrupter.

Let us recap the sequence of events.

This all began in April 2022 when former Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis raised several questions about the issue in the House of Assembly. He asked the government to confirm the appointment of Rodney Moncur as a consultant.

It was in response to questions raised in Parliament that the director of communications in the Office of the Prime Minister, Latrae Rahming, confirmed the appointment.

At the time, he said: “The Ministry of National Security has engaged former (opposition) Senator Rodney Moncur as a consultant on crime … We have said that violence interrupters were a key component in solving the issue. We are using community leaders in our approach.”

He added: “There (are) a number of people who are violence disruptors. This is a key and new initiative the government is rolling out as part of our programme and so I think that in solving crime from a community level you have to use individuals from the community.”

When the story first emerged, there was concern over whether Mr Moncur – who has been a controversial figure at times with his views on birth control, gender equality and more – was a fit choice for such an appointment. But there seemed little suggestion then – with an official announcement by the government following questions in Parliament – that there was no such appointment at all.

Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis was asked directly about Mr Moncur’s appointment – and whether there was a conflict of interest at all with Mr Moncur having often had Mr Munroe as a guest on his talk show.

He dismissed that suggestion, but went on to say that Mr Moncur was “someone that could help in the fight that we are in against violent crimes”. He did not reject the statement – given by his own office – that Mr Moncur was a violence interrupter.

Mr Munroe did note on that occasion that Mr Moncur was not a consultant but an independent contractor, while adding “… since nobody has sight of his contract I don’t know how you criticise something that you don’t know the details of”.

There were even further questions raised, with the Shadow Minister for National Security, Shanendon Cartwright, raising further questions – and saying that the government had to explain what qualified Mr Moncur for his role.

Then even last week, Mr Reid was saying that the violence interrupter initiative had yet to be rolled out – despite him having submitted the proposal and being hopeful that it would begin soon. He certainly seemed to think he was involved in such a scheme.

And then Mr Munroe denies any of that existed. He said that the government wouldn’t hire someone as a violence interrupter because that would identify the person and make them a target. And he went on to say that neither Mr Moncur nor Mr Reid fitted the classic description of a violence interrupter.

But that’s not what the Prime Minister’s office said. That’s not the impression that was given in response to questions raised in Parliament. That’s not something that the Prime Minister dismissed when he had the opportunity – and why would he, when his own office announced it. That’s not something that one of the participants seemed to be under the impression of. And it’s not something that was clarified in response to concerns raised by the Opposition.

Mr Munroe has had plenty of chances to clarify this – and if it was not true when the Prime Minister’s office announced it, he should have done so then and there.

For the better part of two years, we have had no reason to doubt what was announced by the government – and now Mr Munroe says none of that was correct.

Are we to believe him, or are we to believe the Prime Minister and his staff?

Is he contradicting the Prime Minister’s office?

And in all of that, we are no closer to knowing how much has been paid to such individuals and what have they delivered for that payment.

Right now, we do not even know who is correct. That needs to be resolved – and swiftly. Has the Bahamian public been misled? And if so, by whom?

Comments

moncurcool 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Of course the minister thinks the Bahamian people are fools.

This is the same guy on the political stage in 2017 who took his finger and told the Bahamian people to kiss his a**.

And then 4 years later these same people he told to kiss his a** elected him.

So of course he believes Bahamians are fools and will not critically think about what he say.

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ThisIsOurs 3 months, 2 weeks ago

"The Ministry of National Security has engaged former (opposition) Senator Rodney Moncur as a consultant on crime … We have said that violence interrupters were a key component in solving the issue. We are using community leaders in our approach.”

The answer is in the statement above, there was never a program called "Violence Interrupters".

Rodney was engaged as a consultant on crime, in his consultancy role, he was included in a group that were described as "violence interrupters". As said "consultant" he was clearly expected to have an impact on crime as he had roots in the community.

Again the govt practices the art of deception with the notion that the program that isnt working hasnt started. The truth is the program that "is", that did contract Rodney and Mr Reid either hasnt worked as planned or has proven ineffective and the Minister of National Security has yet to tell us to date exactly what they have been contracted to do, the cost and how many other people are receiving salaries for mysterious work with no results and no reporting.

The govt continues to shoot itself in the foot. A part of the solution is definitely to involve capable people in community outreach programs, but not this shady nonsense that's going on to give supporters salaries. Under this wishy washy scheme with no parameters they could give all their campaign generals, some of whom are said to be gang leaders, salaries to literally do nothing.

They need to stop playing around. These violence interrupters need clear guidelines on what they're supposed to be doing and if it's not working use the money for something else or find people irrespective of party lines with intentions other than collecting a salary for doing nothing

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sheeprunner12 3 months, 2 weeks ago

The going salary for most Government "consultants" is $60,000 .......... like a Minister of State.

So, if we have scores of consultants in various Ministries (like Reid & Moncur) employed, what are the 30 Ministers, Ministers of State, and Parliamentary Secretaries doing?????

This is some crazy shit going on under the New Day PLP ........ a GussieMae Cabinet of do-nothingness.

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