Nottage blames judges for crime

Minister of National Security Dr Bernard Nottage.

Minister of National Security Dr Bernard Nottage.


Tribune Staff Reporter


NATIONAL Security Minister Dr Bernard Nottage last night shifted blame to the judiciary for the country’s crime problem, as he blasted judges for failing to impose stiffer penalties and not properly enforcing laws that are on the books.

Speaking in the House of Assembly, Dr Nottage said that some magistrates give lighter sentences to criminals because the accused is someone in society’s “good son”. He said it is hard to believe that some judges live in the same country and still only give criminals “a slap on the wrist” when they appear before them.

His comments came a day after the country marked its 107th homicide for the year. Dr Nottage admitted that violent crime and murders are a problem, but vowed that the government is going to “beat” the issue.

“We (this administration) came here and we made being a member of a gang a crime. And an offence that if found guilty, the offence is a fine of $500,000 and 20 years’ imprisonment...”

Responding to a suggestion from East Grand Bahama MP Peter Turnquest that the government needed to enact tougher crime legislation, Dr Nottage said: “We had an Act, which had a mandatory sentence for possession of an illegal gun of four years mandatory.”

“The judiciary came back and said that was unconstitutional and some judges, in fact, let me be careful how I put it, but there are people who when someone came before them in the court, carrying an illegal gun and ammunition, it was somebody’s ‘good son’, and they could not bring themselves to pass the sentence that was on the books,” Dr Nottage said.

“Then they made us come back here and take it off the books because they said the mandatory sentence was unconstitutional. And then when these people go before the courts with illegal guns, either in possession or using them in a robbery or some shooting, they get a slap on the wrist. Couple of months, Mr Speaker, and then they are back on the streets or be made to pay a small fine or make a donation to a charitable organisation.

“It is difficult to understand how those who adjudicate in the courts can live in the same community in which we live and do not understand the necessity when the members talk about capital punishment,” the Bain and Grants Town MP added.

He added: “One member talked about human smuggling. They say we need severe penalties but when you put them there, they have to be imposed . . . and no politician imposes penalties.

“We used to have a gun court . . . it was discontinued, but the value of a special court like that is you can get cases before the court more quickly before an experienced judge who understands the dynamic and under normal circumstances imposes penalties that are more fitting the crime.”

“That (court was discontinued) in 2012 and the minute it happened we started having this increase in problem,” he added.

The dedicated gun court was established under the previous Ingraham administration but discontinued after the Progressive Liberal Party assumed office in 2012.

Meanwhile, Dr Nottage said the government is “coming back to Parliament very shortly” with new measures to assist in the fight against crime.

“We hope these will assist us in the extraordinary task that we have to reduce and minimise the loss of death of our young people,” Dr Nottage said.

Dr Nottage also said those who repeatedly say the government needs to enforce capital punishment seem to forget rulings from the Privy Council, the country’s highest court of appeal, have made this difficult.


Economist 8 years, 9 months ago

This all goes back to the 70's and 80's when a child was disciplined by a teacher in school the parent ran to the MP, who in some cases was member of cabinet, and the next thing anyone knew was that the teacher was disciplined.

Teachers started to leave the children alone because parents always came to the child's defence with the support of the politicians.

TalRussell 8 years, 9 months ago

My Dear Comrade Banker, you are so stucks in Billboards Top 100 songs in the '70s. Time move on my friend. I see you as a fan of The Bee Gees.

ThisIsOurs 8 years, 9 months ago

Alfred Gray & Son, copyright 2015. (Taylor Swift)

GrassRoot 8 years, 9 months ago

“We (this administration) came here and we made being a member of a gang a crime. And an offence that if found guilty, the offence is a fine of $500,000 and 20 years’ imprisonment...” so technically all members of the PLP need to go to jail, ey?

jackflash 8 years, 9 months ago

At Least he didn't blame the lawyers.......

sheeprunner12 8 years, 9 months ago

Our system is becoming just like the USA ....................... the courts are setting the tone for major social issues (eg. same sex marriage, gun laws, bail, legal drugs etc)

Until the legislators grow some BALLS and deal with basic issues such as capital punishment, legalizing drugs, gender equality etc....... we will remain in the clutches of the crime bosses and the Privy Council

When the Legislature does not take the initiative .......... others have to step up The ball stops with the PM, Cabinet and Parliament ........... don't blame anyone else BJ (SMH)

realfreethinker 8 years, 9 months ago

How the hell he can talk about how bad it got once the gun court was stopped. Wasn't his government that stopped it,and why cant they restart it ?. This man is delusional.

John 8 years, 9 months ago

  1. Jeremiah 17:9 “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?

  2. Mark 7:21-23 For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.”

  3. Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. . . Adam blamed Eve for his sin and when Job was suffering from being attacked from satan from all sides, his wife told him " who is this God you serve that will allow you to go through all this?" she could not fathom the faith of Job, so she told him 'curse your God and die", rather than endure the pain and suffering you are going through. The Bahamas has endured enough of the blame game and the passing of the buck." When David sinned and had a relationship with Besheda he did not deny his sin. He confessed that she was so beautiful that despite all his efforts to resist he could not resist her beauty. Not only adultery but he became an assessor to murder. He didn't ask God to deny him punishment,(and it was severe) but he asked God to restore him to the relationship and the joy he had with God before the sin). He lost much of what he had including death of his family members, but none of that was as valuable of the relationship he lost with God. The Bahamas has fallen in love with sin, murder and violence especially. We call ourselves a Christian nation, but rather than cry out for forgiveness and restoration (with God) we continue to pass the blame. Man alone cannot solve the problems we are going through, and hence the bible admonishes us to "wait on the Lord." Many of our young men, who are being slain, have not seen the inside of a church since they were Christened. Parents: restore to them that joy, don't wait for four or six persons to roll them to the alter for then it may be too late. For God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten son (john 3:16) amen

Zakary 8 years, 9 months ago

  • NATIONAL Security Minister Dr Bernard Nottage last night shifted blame to the judiciary for the country’s crime problem, as he blasted judges for failing to impose stiffer penalties and not properly enforcing laws that are on the books.

Here we go again. Blaming the judiciary is like blaming a truck driver for inefficient work when you only provided him with a car to do the job. He’ll fail regardless of how skilled he is because a car isn't suited for the work at hand.

The problem isn’t the judiciary, it’s the damn judicial system (or our society). We’ve spread our legs, and fornicated into existence a society that are experts at subverting this legal system. I really believe we need to adapt to a different legal model. Everyone knows each other and that has become a big, big, problem.

The first commenter makes a good point. Our problems also stem from many spheres of authority not being respected by higher authorities themselves. If a politician undermines a teacher’s legitimate authority, then that teacher has none at all.

We’ve got too much social justice going on. Maybe it's time to get rid of the jury system for something more relevant to the times?

themessenger 8 years, 9 months ago

Reminiscent of a whiny & petulant child; Nottage is part of a government that can and does move the goal posts at will when it suits their purpose. If you don't like the "improvements" your government made go back to what wasn't broken to begin with. If you want to put some heat under the judiciary start with the AG's office.

MonkeeDoo 8 years, 9 months ago

I think that these articles and comments should be nailed to the doors of the HOA because those turds don't log in here and most don't read the paper either. Better yet, an opposition Member might like to tell the governing party and Members what the people think. Or they could take turns. We are all just preaching to the choir with these comments - all except birdiestrachan, John and Comrade TalRussell.

The_Oracle 8 years, 9 months ago

But, the Judges are political appointees aren't they? appointed by both PLP and FNM. Add some expat Judges who want the nice pension that their own countries do not give them. You expect them to make waves or stand up to their paymaster? AG's office is no different. Pure politicized tool designed to keep politicians out of jail, and not much of anything else. Bernard Nottage and all his cohorts past and present have all created this problem! If true justice were to prevail the argument wouldn't be who else can we all vote for, but that we better find someone to vote for because all PLP's and FNM's past and present are in Fred's constituency as residents!

MonkeeDoo 8 years, 9 months ago


The Turks and Caicos Deputy Police Commissioner was charged with corruption last year in an open and shut case but the JURY acquitted him at his trial. They have the same problem we do except we cant even seem to bring a charge against anyone except a poor schlepper.

TruePeople 8 years, 9 months ago

It's a common character trait in Caribbean nations. Too much corruption and shoulder rubbing

ThisIsOurs 8 years, 9 months ago

Guess he's talking to the AG, Jerome Fitzgerald (twice over, nolle & Lamb) and Alfred Gray

MonkeeDoo 8 years, 9 months ago

I note that Nottage did not level any criticism at the Attorney General nor the Deputy Attorney General whose jobs it is to safeguard evidence collected and bring charges against criminals or suspected criminals. Makes it difficult when the AG is the one under suspicion I guess.

TheMadHatter 8 years, 9 months ago

Mr. Nottage - you say that people FORGET that the Privy Council tie the hands of you guys in fighting crime.

Maybe that is because you fill up the ZNS TV at night with a bunch of STUPID BIRTHDAY MESSAGES and death notices and other CRAP instead of putting real information.

Why not put up in detail the rulings of the Privy Council of which you speak, explain what cases they relate to and how they impeded the implementation of punishment?

PUT THIS ON ZNS TV for a straight 12 hours (even it if interrupts other shows) EVERY SINGLE TIME A MURDER TAKES PLACE.


Stop talking bullshit and do your job. I wish I could have a job to do stupidness like yall all the time and talk nonsense and stand up and say "we are planning to do....." Nobody wants to hear what yall are PLANNING to do. They want to hear what the HELL you have DONE. Of course you can't publish that, because it is Jack Squat. How do you sleep at night?

On a side note, whatever happened to your plans to develop Andros when you and I were in the CDR ?


TheMadHatter 8 years, 9 months ago

With respect, however, Mr. Nottage - and apologies for the harsh words - basically the situation is that people are just SICK and TIRED of you guys appearing to do nothing. Perhaps you are actually doing something - and for that reason I remarked (like we did in the CDR) that you should use ZNS tv and the Parl channel to your advantage to keep the people informed of all the wonderful (if any) things you are doing.

People can see the country is going to hell in a hand-basket and they simply suspect that all of yall have your accounts set up in Caymans and Swiss and you therefore don't have to care.

But you SHOULD care as a Bahamian and try to help others. I know you do on the side to some extent (with ... well let me not say) but I know you do good things - just that more needs to be done.

Please try harder.

Good luck to us all.

sheeprunner12 8 years, 9 months ago

Madhatter ................... BJ is a tired old man (like most of the PLP senior leaders) ........ he will not make the mistake that Perry is making ............ seeking re-election

............ I cry shame of those poor dumb ass Andros people .......... Pindling already shit all over them ........... and now Perry is puking on them .................... sooooooooooo SAD

TruePeople 8 years, 9 months ago

Nottage blames his pants for being on backwards

MonkeeDoo 8 years, 9 months ago

The Appeals Court castigated some former Scotiabank employees yesterday for stealing by reason of employment and pitched their appeal out the window. I guess its different when the owner ( Bahamas Government ) knowingly instructs BOB to lend money to family, friends, and loved ones, that they know will never pay it back. And then they cover it up by instructing NIB to deposit the people's savings to cover the losses, knowing that that will also be lost. Something wrong with this picture !

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