Time to undo the mess we all allowed

Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith and the members of the Royal Barbados Force have a huge task on their hands with respect to the current gun-related violence. Fortunately, theirs is not an insurmountable undertaking. Indeed, we believe Mr Griffith would be the first to assure Barbadians and visitors to the island that there is no need for hysteria or panic.

We are faced with a situation that should not be politicized, even though there is an element of politics to be dealt with. Many people are pointing to Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite and the police force and beseeching them to solve the problem. But that is the wrong approach. The prevalence of gun-related violence and illegal drug activity is not their problem alone to solve. This is a problem for every law-abiding citizen who has the interest of Barbados at heart and we must all contribute to the solution.

So insignificant is Barbados’ size that this island could fit into some of the smaller states of most North American, African, Asian and European countries. This ought to make Barbados easier to police. The question is: Is Barbados being properly and proactively policed? We believe the Royal Barbados Police Force does a good job of policing the island. The success rate of bringing felons to justice is comparable to, and in many cases, better than countries with greater technical resources and significantly greater manpower. However, more proactive interventions seem to be required and John Public and Government must play a major part in this area.

It is inconceivable that in such a small nation with police officers and/or their families and friends residing in every community in Barbados, that information is not always forthcoming to the Force on gun runners, drug dealers, murderers, money launderers and other miscreants.

What is quite troubling is that some degree of criminality thrives in Barbados seemingly unhindered. We ask the question – how can individuals peddle drugs in Barbados, accumulate great monetary wealth and property, have no visible or known means of income, and remain untouched in a country where there is the rule of law? How is this being monitored not only by the Force, but also by an agency such as the Barbados Revenue Authority? How is Barbados’ Financial Intelligence Unit functioning with respect to drug dealers in Barbados ‘washing’ their ill-gotten gains through legitimate commercial enterprises such as restaurants, taxis, stores and other investments? Is intelligence being collected and if it is, what is being done with it?

We have previously heard Mr Griffith’s take on Grantley Adams International Airport and the Bridgetown Port and the intelligence gathered that suggests guns enter the island through these points. He clearly is not satisfied with the level of security there, even as Government fails to show leadership on the installation of cameras at the Bridgetown Port and the National Union of Public Workers seemingly buries its head in the sand on the issue. But we would also like Mr Griffith to indicate whether he is satisfied with the border security at locations such as Port St Charles and Port Ferdinand. Does he have any similar concerns about these locations?

We are advised that the Resident Beat programme introduced in Barbados in the 1980s is now not as vibrant as it was then, if it at all exists anymore. This was a programme that reaped much success two to three decades ago in terms of building community support for the police as well as gathering important intelligence on matters that could lead to the interdiction of persons involved in serious criminality. What has become of that initiative?

And what about uniform and plainclothes foot patrols in communities across the island? This was a feature of policing in the 1970s, 1980s and the 1990s. Today both diurnal and nocturnal foot patrols in our villages have basically become a 2000s anachronism. Again, it is somewhat perplexing that in such a tiny dot of a country where law enforcement officers, inclusive of court marshals, are to be found living among us from St Lucy to St Michael and St James to St John, that persons are bailed, never return to court, yet walk the streets and continue their criminal enterprise. Then, some are wanted by one court but bailed by another, and it goes on and on.

The deployment of resources is another area that needs to be examined in the fight against crime. The Royal Barbados Police Force has a complement of more than 2 000 and calls have been made for an increase. But do we need more police officers or better deployment?

The Juvenile Liaison Scheme and the Barbados Youth Service play excellent interventionist roles with our young people. Yet, one is under-staffed and the other under-funded and without a home. Surely, it is better to stop young people from turning to guns than waiting to appeal to them to put their weapons down.

But, let us first start by exposing the gunman and drug dealer that lives next door.

12 Responses to Time to undo the mess we all allowed

  1. John Everatt August 10, 2017 at 12:04 am

    I comment here as in another section of the media this privilege seems to have been stopped. Barbados is a small dot in the ocean as the author has mentioned but this may be the problem with citizens reporting criminal activity. You see, in a small society it can be determined who has ratted on who. That being said, there is also the distrust of the population of the police. Even though they say that any information is confidential the fear is that there may also be the police person who lets the criminal know who ratted on them. It is just a small society thing and that has people refusing to disclose what they know.

  2. Cheryl Alleyne-Brooks
    Cheryl Alleyne-Brooks August 10, 2017 at 12:59 am

    Wow, perfect article.

  3. Tony Webster August 10, 2017 at 3:45 am

    Brilliant Ed. piece: a well-deserved slap of reality to those of us who think this is an issue which belongs to “someone else”!
    There are indeed stark choices for each “patriotic” Bajan: a veneer of action…glorified official “concerns”…coupled with interminable hand-wringing, will just confirm that these hills and fields really now belong to the gun-men…and their dons. Even those of us with brains on permanent vacation, need only glance at the mess in Jamaica, and Trinidad.

    For God’s sake,…and for our children’s sake ….let’s use Crimestoppers…and “Sting” tactics, to fullest. Yes, starting today.

  4. Carl August 10, 2017 at 7:05 am

    I endorse the sentiments expressed in the article. It is a problem to be solved by all of us playing our part as we live in the communities where these persons live and very often know who they are. We need therefore to act as responsible, civic minded individuals and stand against such persons and their heinous acts. It has nothing to do with liking the police, being a snitch or any other selfish reason. It’s all about peserving a safe, peaceful environment in which we live and to which visitors come to support our economy.

  5. Andrew Simpson August 10, 2017 at 7:36 am

    Both discipline and discipling are paramount, top down and bottom up if prosperity is to be attained.
    A modern system of governance, based on widespread participation of citizens in a new ideology called Environomics, that leverages technology, encourages righteous behaviors and penalizes undesirable practices, to rebalance and harmonize our society, is long overdue.
    A group of qualified patriots need to unify, in the design and development of a compelling alternative to the antiquated Westminster system of geographical constituency based parliamentary representation, which has been causing the accumulation of unsustainable debt for decades. A more appropriate, sectoral approach, including National confirmation of fewer candidates for the various important management positions on an annual basis would yield transparency and accountability. Good governance calls for greater effectiveness and efficiency, a balanced operating budget and the incorporation of public services to attract debt to equity arrangements.

  6. Troy August 10, 2017 at 7:47 am

    It’s time to get to the root of the problem. Going after the guys on the streets who have the guns is liken to cutting branches and leaves off a tree. The tree will grow back, because the roots run deep. It’s not hard to imagine who the root(s) are in this scenario….Let’s use common sense here….can those guys on the block afford to bring in containers under the guise of genuine commerce and do they have resources to pay certain people to turn a blind eye? These businessmen have friends in high places …..those who have sworn to govern and protect the citizens of this country.This problem of guns and drugs will never go away if we.don’t cut down the tree and dig up the roots.

    • John Everatt August 10, 2017 at 10:06 am

      This is so true. The tree needs to be cut down and the roots dug out of the ground to make any real change.

  7. Biscuits August 10, 2017 at 10:55 am

    Well said. Families…be it mothers, absent fathers, misguided girlfriends…need to assume some responsibility for this situation as well.
    Many are well aware of the nefarious activities some of our young men are part of, but turn a blind eye because of the perceived financial benefits. In a society where one’s worth is increasingly measured by the value of your material possessions, it is not surprising that things have taken a turn for the worst.
    “It takes a village to rsise a child”…
    WE all need to step up to the plate!

  8. F.A.Rudder August 10, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    A well written piece on national security and a methodical description of the Barbados I once knew. Island constables entered villages at unregulated times of day and patrolled through urban footpaths at night during the eighties and nineties.

  9. Carlisle Norville August 10, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    you guys & gals, know de story bout de police Commissioner that use to park his fancy car in a certain police out station & off load guns & whiskey( or you think dat is a Joke) for years & years now people @ the top of certaing bagan organization benn living the GOOD lifehere is one for you before i go ( i once worked @ the Barbados Flight kitchen as a Senior Brinks guard ,A very polite & handsome supervisor came to me, & ask me to check all the vehicles when they are leaving the compound on evenings, because large amounts of beef was missing. i did that for a while & one evening i decided, that when he got to me @ the check out point, i would ask him to open his car trunk, when i stopped him he looked surprised & ask me what was the matter, i ordered him to open his car trunk, & yes he was the culprit, in the back of his spacious car trunk sheets of news paper were spread, & the whole half of a slaughtered cow was in his trunk( the next day i was assigned to the u.s. Embassy, so here in barbados people strive for top posts, to get the benifits of that post ,my point all of Barbados currupt.

  10. Tony Waterman August 10, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    @John Everatt!!! Quite True, many Years ago, my Friend Semper Boyce had his Joiner Tools Stolen, the Police came to the Shop and Investigated, but could find no Suspect(s) Mr.Boyce Found out who the Culprit was and reported it to the Police, who Arrested the Suspect, and promptly told him who had given him up, he was Bailed, and Promptly Returned to the Shop and SHOT Mr.Boyce Dead, so!!! How does one get Police Officers TRAINED NOT to devulge this type of Information to anyone.This is why they are not getting any support from the Average Joe, It’s called self Preservation.

    “Time to undo the mess we all allowed”

    Let’s Start with Rescinding our Signature of that Treaty we signed with The Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which FORBIDS us from
    hanging anyone.
    Trinidad and Tobago originally signed the Convention on 28 May 1991 but suspended its ratification on 26 May 1998 (effective 26 May 1999) over the death penalty issue.we can do the same if our Politicians have the Balls to do so.

    After That we can/Should start Modernising our Archaic Criminal Laws, and bringing all our Laws in General into the 21st century.

    Statements like that of the Former C.O.P under whose watch some of this Creeping Gun Crime came,is not helpful, he should be in Camera with the Ag.C.O P. to help solve the Problem.
    as far as i can Remember, he was once trying to Raze Orleans and Chapman Street to the Ground, but got no support from the politicians.that’s how bad he saw it during his tenure.
    unless something DRASTIC is done NOW, it will get WORSE.

  11. Donild Trimp August 12, 2017 at 11:20 am

    Start deporting all the illegals from Barbados.

    Every Policeman in Barbados knows where the wannabe copy cat gangsters live..

    The problem for Barbados is that the place is so small that the Policemen live in some of the same areas as the gangsters.

    Every Barbadian worth his or her salt knows how the guns are entering Barbados. Why is it the authorities cannot do anything?

    Draw your own conclusions because anybody with common sense would know why?

    Barbados is in trouble, serious trouble.


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