Brute force will not work, warns Hammie
Overhaul the justice system and make better use of the community policing arm of the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF).
Community leader and former parliamentary representative for St Michael South East, Hamilton Lashley, offered those suggestions today as some of the solutions for dealing with the recent upsurge in gun crime.
Contending that brute force would not be the answer to the problem, Lashley told Barbados TODAY: “Until we activate a national social debate these shootings will continue.”
“I am saying that, in terms of dealing with the issue seriously, there is a need for every community to take community practitioners seriously . . . There is a need at this time, particularly in this dread economic time that Barbadians are facing, for us to replicate a system that is very similar to that of the Barbados Defence programme across the island. Under this programme, the boys on the block would go to their respective resource centres where they would continue to develop their cricket and soccer skills and participate in Information Technology programmes,” he added.
Lashley further insisted that the judicial system also needs to be reformed.
“You have a judicial system that when they find a youth with a spliff, they imprison him for three months or six months, depending on the mood of the presiding magistrate. We need now to overhaul our judicial system to have it streamlined . . . We need to get up to date with the modern judicial system in the rest of the world,” he said.
Lashley, who began his public life as a community worker, further suggested that Barbados should introduce a programme similar to the National Skills for Life Programme in Trinidad and Tobago.
“Every youth that loses his life in this country is an indictment on us as a society for not seriously trying to tackle the problems in the communities.
“One of the problems is a lot of people get rich and switch, get rich quickly and criticise. So the youth in Barbados look at these things and where there seems to be no hope the best option for them is the solution of the gun being their first weapon of choice,” he added.
Making reference to the existing Crime Stoppers programme, he said while it played a role in helping people tip off authorities on suspicious or criminal activity it “does not stop crime”.
“The organisation is not about that . . . There is no programme in Crime Stoppers that has an element of really stopping crime.”