Boast we all gun-runners sans borders?

Yes, we have advised against public panicking in this matter of increased gun-related crime and armed gang conflicts. But the counsel must not be misconstrued to be synonymous with advocacy of indifference and inertia. We have strongly suggested the practice of vigilance –– and with it ought to come cooperation with our police.

Surely, vigilance at all levels is key. That’s why we remain flummoxed by Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite’s very recent admission that the Freundel Stuart administration was somewhat in the dark about the extent of the influx of firearms and burgeoning gun problem, and by his taking some comfort in its not only being a Barbados challenge, but that of other Caribbean countries too.

Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs  Adriel Brathwaite
Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs Adriel Brathwaite

The Attorney General would bury his head in the notion that given “the large number of islands” in the region and the ease with which people could travel through our regional borders, containment or curtailment of gun-trafficking would be nigh impractical. According to him, none of the Caribbean states has the capacity to man all of its borders.

Mr Brathwaite nonetheless informed us that 60 per cent of the firearms infiltrating the Caribbean were from North America, in particular the United States, and the remaining 40 per cent from South America. Information got, even though the knowledge of the quantity of illegal guns existed only upon discovery at crime scenes and their confiscation.

“You really don’t know if you are winning the battle, because it is difficult to assess how many [firearms] are coming into the region,” our Attorney General stated.

And his nebulous concept of a solution would be to continue training border security, examining the weaknesses in the security “apparatus” and pushing education of young people –– from school level –– particularly in the application of conflict resolution and mediation.

The Attorney General is not unknown for thought meandering on matters pertaining to crime, security and national safety. We recall Mr Brathwaite making a strong case for the assimilation of former convicts into the society at large –– specifically back into the family from whence he came, and into the general workforce. He was particularly pained by the alleged homelessness
of these ex-offenders.

Too often, he argued a few years back, these former inmates, after leaving Her Majesty Prisons Dodds, were faced with having no proper shelter because their families and friends would rather not have them around; or, if they would, the ex-offenders would have as a condition to find themselves a job –– which would naturally be somewhat challenging.

Mr Brathwaite appeared to circumvent the fact that having a criminal record –– particularly a serious one –– was a deterrent to securing a job; the fact that as much as we might philosophize about former prisoners deserving a second chance, and even a third, the reception of ex-convicts into the general workplace would not be automatic. Yet our Attorney General would have these poor former prisoners believe that it should be –– or actually was. They were being sold the concept that it was their right.

These comforts will not come merely because the Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs wishes they would.

Mr Brathwaite sought comfort himself in his expressed link between the “failures” throughout the education system and young people ending up in the criminal justice system. Ironically, the said education system the Minister of Home Affairs would thrash produced the vast majority of educated, non-criminal, law-abiding citizens  –– including Mr Brathwaite himself –– we like to boast of in this country.

Perhaps, our Attorney General has had a rethink of his gentility towards the criminal-minded, in light of his Government’s nigh helplessness against the gun-runners and gangsters.

In Parliament just this week he was minded to say that “some of us need to take a firm stand” against the growing gun violence in our island. He even advised that fellow MPs with knowledge of elements involved in gun-related crimes should see how they could get these villains out of the habit. Again,
he was unclear on how.

We look forward though to the study on local gangs forthcoming in the next few months –– and his take on it.

Just maybe it will present us with the wherewithal to lead our youth away from this uncomfortable past-time of gun crime, and reduce the agony of us all –– and of our nigh helpless and confessing Attorney General to boot.

Let’s not panic, please!

5 Responses to Boast we all gun-runners sans borders?

  1. Tony Webster August 14, 2015 at 11:08 am

    Madam Editor: Firdtly, touche…and thanks be to you.
    Secondly, I confess: I have to review my image of yourgoodself: I have never hitherto met a champion sumo-wrestler…hiding in plain sight behind an editorial desk…and wid such a disarming smile and engaging personality!

    I swear, I promise, to behave myself in future. Just promise in return not to break any of my bones if I might accidentally mash de crease in future.
    Q.E.D. (That which is promised and shall be done)

  2. jrsmith August 14, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    May someone ,remind the (Attorney General)he is there to lawfully deploy, his skills lawfully, to and for the island of Barbados and its people. There is always this issue with the regional excuse, when nothing is being done or seems to be done.
    To the AG, if you cannot do your job ,resign get your fingers out and get on with it. why not and when last have the BDF arrest a senior criminal in Barbados, its always the minos,not the big ups , are they being protected.

  3. Overtaxed Bajan August 14, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    Instead of dealing with the criminals and stopping the illegal guns, the police have been systematically harassing the legitimate gun owners in this island.
    Someone told me recently that the law in Barbados is really only for the law abiding. If an ordinary citizen makes a mistake then they will throw the book at him. While the lawless are allowed to do as they please. Drugs, illegal dumping, praedial larceny are rampant and yet nothing is ever done about it. Maybe as a token some of the minions are brought before the courts but the real criminals remain untouched.

  4. cecil P August 19, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    may be we can try this when these criminals get catch with a gun or use it to kill someone my first question to him or her will be where did u get the gun from. along with the sentence they would have to give the police the info on who supply them with the gun if the police don’t get that information they would stay in jail until they come up with it. it could be a long time they stay in jail. it would be up to them .I would never let them out and the A .G I just don’t know why they don’t kick his smart ass out and get someone who can do the damn job .he is smiling what is there to smile about people are getting kill people are scared and he is smiling do the A.G think it’s funny ? I don’t think so

  5. Alex 3 August 26, 2015 at 11:36 am

    If there is one thing that will surely kill the economy of Barbados it will be guns which are driven by drugs.
    You clean up the drugs and the majority of guns will abate.
    That is not to say that you don’t go after the guns.
    The penalties for gun possession, drug possession and traffiking in Barbados are just not sufficient.
    If you get caught with a gun 5yr at hard labour on first offense 8 yr if you have ammo. Second offence? 10 yr. Third offense? Life.
    Same withd drugs. Similar harsh penalties with loss of property.
    The slap on the wrist penalties I see coming out of the courts are not a deterent.


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