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SUPER SQUAD TO TARGET THE GUNS: New Commissioner plans special unit to lead killings offensive

POLICE Commissioner Clayton Fernander speaking yesterday. Photos: Moise Amisial

POLICE Commissioner Clayton Fernander speaking yesterday. Photos: Moise Amisial

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net

NEWLY appointed Police Commissioner Clayton Fernander has announced several anti-crime strategies to tackle gun violence in the country, including the establishment of a special anti-gang and firearms unit.

During the official handover ceremony at police headquarters yesterday, Commissioner Fernander also promised to review gun-related legislation to levy tougher penalties for people found with illegal weapons.

His comments come as the country faces a rash of homicides in recent days, with 75 murders recorded so far for the year. Just last week, some eight people were killed.

About 41 of the victims were suspects out on bail for pending murder cases, according to police officials.

Noting the loss of one life as one too many, Mr Fernander vowed to take bold actions in the fight against crime, adding that officials are now reviewing its intelligence unit to restructure their approach to the issue.

 For his part, Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis acknowledged the crime problem, telling those gathered that tougher police measures could not alone bring resolution. He said a propoer response is also conflict resolution, prevention, intervention, punishment, and rehabilitation.

 “In recent times, the Bahamian public has become incensed by the loss of so many of our young men with the resurgence and proliferation of illegal firearms and gang related violence in our communities,” the new police chief said yesterday.

 “To stem these criminal activities, we moved swiftly to establish Operation Ceasefire for immediate impact for immediate impact under the mantle of flooding our streets with strategic saturated patrols, particularly in hotspot areas, targeting and disrupting prolific gang members.”

 He added: “Today, I can say to you that Operation Ceasefire is in full effect, and it has been yielding successful results by removing drugs, firearms and ammunition off of our streets.

 “Effective today’s date, Operation Ceasefire shall function as a separate unit under the name Ceasefire Unit to stem the activities of prolific offenders. As the weeks and months unfold, our bold response to crime will become more evident and impactful.”

 He also announced the establishment of a special anti-gang and firearms unit “with immediate effect” in response to recent spate of murders.

 He said the specialised unit will be situated at the RBPF’s headquarters.

“It will operate as a standalone unit for a more focused approach to disrupt criminal activities involving firearms and ammunition,” the commissioner noted.

“Simultaneously, a request will be made to have a court dedicated to fast tracking illegal firearms and ammunition cases for swift justice. Our research, statistics and intelligence is telling us that firearms are used in the commission of the most serious crimes recorded, and therefore we must act swiftly to seal all avenues of this moral decay in our society by removing these offenders.

“In that vein, we want to review the laws to add tougher penalties in cases where persons are found in possession of an illegal weapon and the use of a weapon in the commission of an offence. Tough times call for tough measures”

He also spoke about a specific police task force that was created to focus on gun trafficking, saying the group had their first meeting last month.

Other initiatives, he added, includes planned monthly meetings with all law enforcement heads “with a view of exchanging ideas” and coming up with solutions to deal with the escalating crime rate and the implementation of a stand-alone domestic violence unit.

The unit will include the department of social services, religious leaders and private entities, according to Commissioner Fernander.

He also pledged to improve policing relations with the community.

“We are in the process of reviewing our community relations initiative to merge the tasks and responsibilities of our National Neighborhood Watch Council Program and the Urban Renewal Program to operate under one umbrella. We will be focusing on crime prevention initiatives, and we want everyone involved to be effective, including community leaders, religious leaders, and private entities,” he said.

For his part, former commissioner Paul Rolle said he came into the post with his integrity intact, and he left the post with that integrity remaining.

Comments

sheeprunner12 2 years ago

Did he say how much "free" money he got from the Treasury?

bahamianson 2 years ago

Going after the guns, again? Is that your plan? Need another plan.Dont see how you are going to do something different than your teacher . If someone teachers you all they know , the only thing you can teach is all the teacher taught you. If the teacher failed the test, the students will definitely fail the same test . You need someone or something new to intervene. We need foreign ideas to assist.

KapunkleUp 2 years ago

Translation - The new task force will do nothing except have meetings and ask people to point out "the bad guy".

temptedbythefruitofanother 2 years ago

Well I don’t know about y’all, but I feel safer already knowing that the “Super Squad” is on top of things!

JohnDoes 2 years ago

They aren't solving the problem with creating more 'units'. Remember the 'Rapid Strike' police gangsters that pulled their guns on innocent persons in traffic? We need to enhance the yearn for young people to do constructive things in their lives by creating opportunities for persons to actually become something beneficial to our society. Schools are in disrepair, education system is outdated, the 'University' is just a new name for COB. We can't rely on tourism alone as it is just one market, we have to create more industries for persons to aspire to get involved with. Same strokes, same paint, same canvas, same paint brush is not fixing or helping anything. The internet alone tramples our education system and everything else. We have a chain of islands with so much potential that are just not being utilized, they are reserved just for foreigners to buy/lease, and thats when they create the markets that we could've made ourselves if we just had the mental capacity and ingenuity to understand this instead of waiting on hand-outs all the time or for 'someone' to give us a job and pay us like crap.

Godson 2 years ago

AMEN!!! You are right!

xtreme2x 2 years ago

Same ole, Same ole...Bahamas need a police commisioner with the know on how to change the mind set of people (youth). Problem in the Bahamas is young people. No gang can exist without young people.

If they do not have the knowledge. be wise enough to know where to obtain it. But to come here with the same brut force and dumbness, thinking that will change the youth and gangs.

It will not. The young people and gang members already know what to expect from the police. (either beaten to a pulp, or killed).Time has shown already brut force strategy is not working.

Know some history of the new police commisioner, with this new power and the backing of the court. lots of innocent folks will be brutalized and taken before the courts and get a ploice record. mainly because they do not have the resources to protect themselves. my view. Now let time tell.

M0J0 2 years ago

A commissioner cannot change the mind of young people. Bahamians always looking for some gov. official to do they job. Problem starts at home, you cannot expect someone else to come in and fix your problems.

xtreme2x 2 years ago

yes that is your minute thinking...changing the mind involve the community...your reply should have been. "how is he suppose to do that" But you are a tipical Bahick.

xtreme2x 2 years ago

THE GANG MEMBERS ARE DOING IT...BUT NOT THE COMMISSIONER...LOL WHAT A JOKE

M0J0 2 years ago

Too many kids left home alone, too many young people having kids and expecting their elderly parents to raise them. We have strayed far away from the way of bringing up kids following the trends of the world. The police only can do so much.

xtreme2x 2 years ago

The police only can do so much. SO IS THE PARENTS.

Sickened 2 years ago

The gangs are the problem. And most Bahamian kids need the gangs because of the strength and 'support' they get from them. Broken societies have big gang cultures and once gangs have grown this big in society it is all but impossible to get rid of them.

John 2 years ago

Which gangs are you referring to? The ones who weaponized rap music I bet

John 2 years ago

When China find diplomats doing things that are contrary to the well being of its citizens or contrary to the best interest of the country, they is execute them. Is The Bahamas even willing to expell diplomats involved in wrong doing in this country.. like weapons smuggling. Not to mention murder. . . ‘ For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of ..’

tribanon 2 years ago

For his part, former commissioner Paul Rolle said he came into the post with his integrity intact, and he left the post with that integrity remaining.

And lest Rolle should ever forget: He came into the post when crime was high and left the post when crime was much higher.

As for his successor Fernander, the people have only cruel and corrupt Davis to blame for picking the most rotten apple of the entire bunch.

TalRussell 2 years ago

There's certainly reason point to mental issues or why else are world crime monitoring agency are saying that the colony's constabulary is quick to shoot members popoulaces' by playing by their own rules ... supported by first action is to  loosen  a 'super hit squad' in a colony ranked among the top 10 Countries with the Highest Rate of Police Killings (per 10 million residents — U.S. ranks 33rd) ... First must *announce how the new Commish plans to *slay the toxic mental dragon.― Yes?

tribanon 2 years ago

Are you asking Fernander to slay Davis? LOL

John 2 years ago

The problem is when police have to get involved ( in a matter) it is almost already too late. And how does authorities go into a situation where the culture is not only to bear arms, but to use them in a deadly manner. What is the driving force behind these murders? Are the gangs as great a factor as they are said to be or are they mostly gangs of loosely organized people that have more reputation than power? Does police intelligence show that any or a number of the recent killings are connected or connected to gangs? How many persons have been apprehended and charged with the recent murders? How does government intend to speed up the court process for murders? Besides the appointment of ‘violence interruptors’. What other plans does government have for communities prone to gun violence? What efforts will be directed to finding out how guns are entering in the country and who is responsible? What is the relationship between high unemployment and deadly crime and what plans does government have to ease unemployment?

TalRussell 2 years ago

It might help with clarity for The Colony's Security Minister, or his suspected have been well compensated pre being the choices for Commish and Deputy Commish the Constabulary confirm/deny ''that the private popoulaces' licensed legal gun possession rate of households with guns is currently growing in daily numbers even at much higher rate than is the new born babies replacement rate per day to our sister womans.'' It is said be just under 98,700  private ownership guns registered at the addresses The Colony's civilian households.. ... Why is it that Japan, a country of 127 million people and yearly gun deaths rarely totaling more than 10, is one such country ...Our own constabulary kills by gun more than all deaths by gun in Japan ... so announcing on the first minutes on the job will appoint some 'super gun squad is mental** ― Yes?

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