Crime fighting strategy for Bahamas coming soon

NASSAU — The Bahamas government will reveal in the next 30 to 60 days which recommendations made by members of the public on crime will be incorporated into its crime fighting strategy, Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage has pledged.

The crime forum held at St. Joseph’s Community Centre on Boyd Road was designed to garner “practical initiatives” that could assist in reducing crime.

“I gave a commitment that within 30 to 60 days, nearer 30 than 60, we will give some indication as to the things that we are incorporating,” Nottage told reporters following the forum.

“We are going to continue to have these forums throughout New Providence, Grand Bahama and possibly Abaco because I am satisfied, after performing this job for just over a year, that we are not going to have the degree of success that we need unless we can engage people.”

Dozens of people at the forum expressed concerns about unemployment and illegal immigration fuelling crime, but fewer people had solutions to those problems.

Recommendations ranged from strengthening and re-training the police force; expanding the powers of the commissioner of police; developing a national crime plan; expanding closed-circuit television and implementing a sexual offenders registrar.

The forum took an emotional turn when a member of the disabled community claimed he was treated poorly by police officers, whom he said were not trained to handle the disabled.

Wentwood Sears, 40, a self-employed vendor, said the disabled in The Bahamas are forgotten.

“They (police officers) told me the person I need to talk to is upstairs,” he said.

“I asked them to help me. They asked me my complaint. I told them and they laughed at me because of my condition.

“We as disabled people want to be independent. I asked them, could they let the person come down and they told me no.”

Police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade agreed that officers need more training on handling the disabled and promised to implement classes immediately.

Former Bahamas Christian Council‚President Bishop Simeon Hall asked for the government to put politics aside and develop a national crime plan with the other political parties, that successive governments can subscribe to.

“I think all political parties should show some maturity, all come together and come up with a national plan on crime so that it does not change with different parties and different ministers,” said Hall, who chaired the crime commission under the Ingraham administration.

Eric Fox, executive director of Teen Challenge Bahamas, called for students to have mandatory classes about personal health, sex, drugs and crime. (Nassau Guardian)

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