Greenslade comments defended by Munroe

Wayne Munroe

Wayne Munroe


Tribune Staff Reporter


ATTORNEY Wayne Munroe defended Police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade’s recent response to the country’s murder rate, saying the top officer understands better than politicians the need to avoid emotional policy responses that prove counterproductive in the long run.

“The prime minister might say it’s like the Wild West and people might say one murder is one too many, but the truth is those are simply emotional responses,” Mr Munroe, a member of the PLP, told The Tribune.

“It happens that serious crime is trending down generally and murder is trending up for reasons that probably relate to an internal war in one of our street gangs, based on my understanding.

“The commissioner says there’s no crisis. He’s a law enforcement professional. He understands the issue. When the PLP returned security of tenure to the police commissioner, that was the best decision that could’ve been made. No one can tell him what to do, not Perry, not Nottage. Someone on Facebook keeps posting this thing with (Senator) Keith Bell saying the commissioner should go if he doesn’t follow the government’s agenda.

“Well, the commissioner doesn’t have to follow the government’s crime agenda. He’s demonstrated by that one comment from the junior minister of national security that yes, indeed he is being independent.”

For Mr Munroe, QC, some of the tough-on-crime ideas advocated for by Bahamians as a way to reduce the murder rate exacerbates the crime problem instead.

“When you approach the issue emotionally, you talk about remanding people to prison,” the attorney said. “People start saying we have to be tough on this, tough on that. They start to say people shouldn’t get bail. We now have an Act passed that the chief justice said should be repealed, one where, for lots of petty things, magistrates can’t give you bail - you have to go to the Supreme Court to get bail and in the meantime you remanded to prison for two, three weeks to be at the mercies of the fellas in prison who will treat you very good to try and recruit you.

“That provision of the Bail Act says for certain offences in the third schedule of the Criminal Procedure Code, the magistrate cannot grant you bail. “Things like threats of death and little, petty offences. It’s over reaction. Right now, for instance, people complain that you can get bail for firearm possession, but if one person in your newsroom has a gun, all of you will get charged.

“If it’s ten of you in there, all of you will be charged because they don’t know whose gun it is. All of you will be remanded and if you listen to what people say, none of you should get bail until the trial is over. If four people in a car and there’s one gun, everybody gets remanded,” he explained.

“What people don’t realise is that’s how you end up going from having 400 shooters to having 800 shooters. Impressionable young men are remanded to a place where hardened criminals are there waiting for them, recruiting them. When you go there, the hardened criminals say they’ll protect you so you don’t get raped. They say they’d get you provisions, food and drinks, and so when you get back on the street you have a degree of loyalty to them because they helped you in prison. That’s what I’ve watched happen from 1980 to today. Her Majesty’s Prison is a recruiting institution. Silly people say we should send more people to that school in the east but they should stop being emotional - stop being hysterical and address the issues. If you are 15, 16, 17, 18 and you decided your ambition is to kill people, there’s probably little we could do for you. But what we can do is stop other people from joining you and ensure that your company won’t grow.”

Mr Munroe acknowledged that his views about bail differ from that of Commissioner Greenslade, who has frequently cited bail granted to people accused of committing serious crimes as key to the murder rate.

Earlier this week, Commissioner Greenslade and Mr Christie appeared divided in their views about what the unprecedented spate of murders so early in the year means for the country.

Commissioner Greenslade said we are “not in a crisis,” but Mr Christie said “it’s like the Wild West.”

On Wednesday, National Security Minister Dr Bernard Nottage announced steps that law enforcement will immediately begin taking to address the concerns.

Among other things, Dr Nottage said there will be an increase in foot patrols in inner cities and crime hot spots. He said there will be aggressive stop and searches of suspicious persons and suspicious vehicles through all policing divisions. He said there will be purposeful lock-downs of communities and crime hot spots where large teams of law enforcement officers execute search warrants, arrest warrants and search for illegal drugs, firearms and stolen vehicles. He also said the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) will launch joint operations.


Honestman 7 years, 4 months ago

Munro suggests that "serious crime is trending down generally". That is complete BS. The Bahamian people are not fooled by that statement. Bahamians have never been more concerned for their person and their property than they are today. No-one seriously believes that serious crime is under control and trending downwards. I blame the government for not sorting out the administration of justice. The court system is a joke and many victims of crime are simply not reporting crimes because they know the system will not provide them with justice and will not protect them if they have to testify.

viewersmatters 7 years, 4 months ago

Munroe only happy because more crimes more suspects being charge and the demand for lawyers are higher than ever in the history of the Bahamas, get rid of all the lawyers and maybe we'll see a Government serious about crime.

realfreethinker 7 years, 4 months ago

Little Tommy Tucker singing for his supper

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