Forde calls for gun amnesty
Member of Parliament for St Thomas Cynthia Forde today called for a general gun pardon, strategic police searches, and a witness protection system as part of measures to tackle rising crime.
Speaking in the House of Assembly during debate on a Government resolution to borrow $76 million, mainly for building new police stations and repairing old ones, along with construction of other public buildings, Forde said too many young people were dying as a result of gun crimes.
“I call on the Minister for an amnesty of firearms in this country; for a search of vehicles because a lot of the activity in the shooting and the drug transportation happens at night.
“We have to make sure that the police are properly trained so that if the confidence of the public goes into them even further, that they do not in a naive way, not knowing better most of the time I believe, seek to expose those who are giving them the evidence that is critical in helping them to solve their matters.”
The MP said in addition to teaching the police to keep the confidence of citizens, there was need for secure lodging for eyewitness to crimes, away from the communities where these crimes had occurred.
“It is important that safe houses be provided for those persons who are key witnesses so that they don’t get cut off too; so that they can actually give the evidence.”
The St Thomas MP’s concern for security of persons critical to eradicating crime also extended to the welfare of magistrates and judges.
“I cringe when I see the photographs of some of our persons in the judiciary in the newspaper,” she stated, arguing that with modern means of communication people who felt slighted by a judicial ruling could target judicial officers.
According to the resolution, in addition to financing construction of a number of new police stations and a magistrate’s court, the money was being sought to refurbish the Barbados Water Authority headquarters at the Pine and the Elaine Scantlebury Home at Bellplaine.
Forde supported the resolution but made an appeal for her constituency.
“I am suffering as a result of no police station in St Thomas,” she said.