There’s hope


 Two senior jurists have advised the Attorney General to go beyond calling out the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) if he wants to successfully arrest the growing epidemic of gun violence that has left more than a dozen people dead so far this year and some communities in fear.

Bermuda Supreme Court judge Carlisle Greaves, who served as a magistrate in Barbados before migrating to the British Overseas Territory in 1997, today insisted that only a multi-faceted approach could stem the rising tide of gun violence.

Meantime, a top local judicial officer who spoke to Barbados TODAY on the condition of anonymity, further suggested that fixing the justice system was imperative if authorities planned to aggressively go after the perpetrators of these crimes.

Of the 23 murders recorded so far this year, 19 of them were committed by gunmen.

The proposed soldier-police collaboration was announced last weekend by Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite as he warned that if the rise in gun-related crime was left unchecked, it would result in further deterioration in national security and public safety.

“The Barbados Defence Force will be called upon to support the Royal Barbados Police Force in ensuring public safety. You, the men and women of the Force, must stand ready to answer such a call to cull this scourge, this menace to our society,” he said at the BDF’s 38th anniversary parade at St Ann’s Fort.

But appearing as a guest on the Down to Brass Tacks call-in programme on Starcom Network earlier today, Greaves contended there was no single cure and a mix of remedies was required.

“There is no one way that you can solve the problem. The problem with criminality as a whole [is that it] always did and continues to require multi-faceted approaches,” he said.

“We are going to always have the criminal elements in our society. What we have to do is have measures that would help to substantially reduce the level of criminality we have in a society,” the judge added.

Greaves said he had seen that approach work in Bermuda which was invaded by the gun culture in 2008 and there was a spate of “tit-for-tat murders”.

“The judiciary played its role, the police played their role, the churches played their role with some pastors who came out and formed organizations that helped to bring some peace between the gangs. There were other groups that focused on things like economic enfranchisement and all of these different organizations helped to address the situation,” Greaves said.

He said that was despite the situation looking hopeless at one stage, with people being brazenly gunned down “every day, every week, every month”.

“You had situations where two men on a motorbike shot down a man who was flying a kite on Good Friday
. . . on a school playing field with his children. People who attended funerals were shot at. People attending cricket and football matches got shot at. People living in the urban areas could not attend a football match in the rural areas because somebody would get shot,” Greaves recalled.

A similar holistic approach was advanced by a senior member of the country’s judiciary who said the proposal to call out the BDF would not arrest the situation because it was like “meeting fire with fire” while there was a breakdown in the social fabric.

“There is a need for action rather than just reaction,” the official said. “If you go out there you will alienate a group of people. There is always some glamour in rebelling, so when you get police and soldiers, you are going to get militant youths.”

He added that it was not enough to talk about searches and raids and involving soldiers in the fight against crime without strengthening the judicial system so that accused people can be tried expeditiously.

Against that background, he argued for a complete paradigm shift in fighting crime, starting with the justice system.

“There is no business approach to the management of the judicial system. They know about law but they don’t know about business . . . . . There is no business management to this thing. That’s what is needed here.”

Magistrates and judges, the judicial official explained, go on holiday, sometimes for up to two months and “nobody replaces them and . . . court cases are held in abeyance” until the magistrate or the judge returns to work.

“That is crazy. That is elementary.”

As for punishment of crime, in particular murder, he said calls for the return of the hangman would not be effective unless there was a change in legislation to provide for a “graduation of sentencing” for different “degrees of murder”.

“When you say all murderers should be hanged that is where you will get the divide in the public. So there is need for that mandatory issue in our law to be taken out. If you do that, you will not run afoul of the conventions because they don’t say that you cannot hang your citizens, but that once it is mandatory it runs into conflict with them.”

In any event, he said, while the death penalty remains on the statute books, no one has been hanged since 1984, because “no one politician seems to want to take that responsibility on his [or] her shoulder.

“It is a sort of guilt trip that they don’t want to feel . . . they are swayed by public opinion,” the officer said.

However, he expressed confidence that if hangings were to resume, along with programmes to address the decline in values and morals and the “manifestation of the whole breakdown of different systems”, authorities would begin to see a decline in gun violence.

“It is not going to happen overnight but it needs to be just more than talk. There is a need for action rather than just reaction to stop this vigilante approach of settling disputes which is taking place in the country,” he said.

Source: (FW/NC)

12 Responses to There’s hope

  1. rasta wain August 26, 2017 at 4:50 am

    Accommodation of the 2 BARBADOSES, I have commented on the potential shortcoming of the combined forces and the potential of toxic actions and reactions ,as long as there is military involvement in law enforcement there’s the potential for rebellion. I also advocated for reform in the judiciary and the laws . My comments are held in limbo pending approval,and then disappears.Yet the same principles that is proposed here,was rejected , one can safely say, it’s not what is said,but who’s saying it. The press should be accountable and accessible to all.

  2. Pearletta August 26, 2017 at 6:45 am

    We are too reactionary and we put a plaster on a bone fracture. We need to be holistic. We do not only need to deal with the shootings, we need to get to the sources and deal with them. Firstly we need to do what the magistrate suggested to some extent but we must be careful since army personnel are trained to shoot and their training is different to that of the police. We need to stem the tide of guns and ammunition arriving in this island. For consideration is the provision of properly equipped community centres which are accessible to even persons who work since they will be open until 20:00 pm or so. These community centres will be multifunctional they will be used for education for recreation for socialising for short talks. The centres would help to keep younger persons off the block so that they would not be severely exposed to the older ones on the block. Many houses are overcrowded and the block is a hang out place to get away from the narrow confines of a house. Where are the gangs located ? In neighbourhoods with many overcrowded houses. We need to cultivate these young minds and also show them that they can progress . Progress not in the sense which most people think of success but show them yes that they can make money but also show them that by changing their attitudes they can be more productive and HAPPY. In order for this to happen the youngsters much be set a good example by us older ones. If they see that we get through via dishonest actions and they perceive that they are being disadvantaged or neglected they will retaliate. We as a community all of us are responsible for the block culture and all hands must be on deck to solve the problem. Gangs provide a place of supposed love, acceptance , understanding and
    comaradarie all of which should be had at home. We also need parental training. Interesting educational programs which reinforce in a fun way what is taught at school need to be shown on our television station and broadcast on our radio stations. We also need to broadcast programs which uplift our race the African race We are innovators but all this has been hidden from us and we look up to the other races and try to be like them, we need to be proud people and have faith and confidence in ourselves . We need to embrace our selves in totality and stop emulating the hairstyles of the Caucasian. We much value life since when we take a life we cannot replace it like we can replace a broken plate.I forgot the churches , they also have their part to play and also the schools . This has been long so I will stop here since I have to go to work.
    This is my two cents worth and I hope that these thoughts are taken seriously. Looking forward to a gradual improvement.

  3. Veroniva Boyce
    Veroniva Boyce August 26, 2017 at 7:53 am

    There’s definitely hope of more Long Talk! Only those not concerned will kick up pure dust, it’s going to affect their extra income. Greed before the safety of the law abiding Citizens. The quicker the BDF is on the streets the better. After all the Tax Payers pay for both Forces Keep. Let the RBPF get on their normal daily duties.

  4. jennifer August 26, 2017 at 8:20 am

    We keep talking about rebellion as though this is a bad thing. A lot of this outrage which we are seeing is all repercussions from our own devices. Maybe rebellion is exactly what is needed in this place. For years these politicians played both sides of the coin keeping the elites who hold minority position holding the majority in wealth position while suppressing the majority and keeping them disenfranchised and in servitude. They have lacked the promotion of wealth in the majority and have used inefficient education and religious systems to help bauchan the progress of black people and a school system which does not spiritually or mentally cater to the upliftment of this people to any sort of financial INDEPENDENCE. Maybe then lessons will be learned and REAL measures put into place.

  5. Milli Watt August 26, 2017 at 9:45 am

    while i don’t have a problem with the multiple approach this matter has gone to far. There is a need for a response that shakes this system to the core, send a message and make clear who running things in this place. Then the talking can resume by the TALKERS. but for now I want action and if it means……………then so be ut.

  6. Alvin Cummins August 26, 2017 at 10:14 am

    If Barbados can come from where it was to where it is today, then there cannot be any negative directed criticism of what is taking place. There is nothing positive in a rebellion of the type the youth are talking about or even thinking about. Violence can never be positive and the repercussions are always negative and costly. We have to keep going forward, and violence and rebellion takes us back. What each individual has to do is plan positively for his/her own advanc3ement. The same education system you are knocking have produced world class people; in all spheres. Our athletes have achieved world class marks. Our scientists artists and artistes have reached world wide acclaim in whatever field; Kamau Brathwaite, Rihanna, Eddie GrantGabby, The Merrimen, Cardinal Warde; a world class Physicist, Allan Emptage (Who developed the world’s first search engine) Paul Steinbok; a world class paediatric Neurosurgeon, etc. etc. They were all educated under our education system. In every field we have established ourselves. Financial Independence that you are talking about does not come quickly; unless through crime; with its accompanying penalties. Remember that when you talk about crime you are talking of taking something from some who would have worked hard to get what they have, and which you covet and want to take away from them. Correct spiritual orientation should teach you that it is wrong to take away something that is not yours. This belief that there are elites and that the majority ere being held in subservience is a myth. Take the telephone book and look at the number of businesses that are listed in the yellow pages and try to divide them into white owned and black owned, which are owned by the wealthy and which are no, and I guarantee that you cannot do it successfully.
    The same politicians you vilify are from among is. They are us.
    Each one is a human being like each of us and they ar3e no more guilty than you or those like you. I maintain that what you are talking about is all perception and comes out of rumour and innuendo. Think for yourself and do not be brwsinwashed, and/or take up someone else’s “firerage.”

    • jennifer August 26, 2017 at 4:03 pm

      Tell that to the lot who enslave and broke up a whole nation of people to make them their subjects TO PUSH their agenda’s in MEDICINE, JUDICIARY, MERCANTILE INDUSTRIES, Church garbage, etc. What we need is our education to cater to the needs of our people and produce medicines for our people, not using someone’s elses medicines to destroy their organs. We need our own black written research and books and black education. I guess you will agree that the the NFL and the NBA players should never have their own stadiums and keep the money among their people. Our athletes have received world class marks from whom and who’s system. They are nothing more than world class under the thumb of the oppressor for pittance. The scientist in the same boat – we still lather in diabetes and HTN taking the oppressor drugs as a melanated people.
      Integration was a killer for this people and its systems. If you are not a sheep you are seen as an extremest. And I know which one you are, baa baa. Fall into your enemy’s shoes and walk in them not find your own shoes. stupessss

  7. jrsmith August 26, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Lots of people come on the soap box media with an attitude that the gun violence and the rise in crime started months ago in barbados ,this all built up decades ago ………………If us bajans is going to be honest with ourselves , the idea of using the defence force is the only real idea this government would have tried , since in office ……… All we get from the government is talk talk but nothing is done or seems to done , this is election talk , at this rate by the time something is done ,we will see 3×20 shootings deaths ……………………….
    But so long its black on black the politicians ,you can see them shrouding they shoulders , as to what they would say anything would be justified………
    If certain people in barbados want the shootings stop it will happen …………………………………………BUT………………

    • jennifer August 26, 2017 at 4:12 pm

      jrsmith – well said. We do not even understand as a people that we are in a war which started several years ago. We are that ignorant. The education system caters our people to be SERVANTS ONLY nothing more. Which ever way you look at it. The accolades and honors make no damn difference, this is like the receiving of a reward like the Pavlov dog experiment, you still do not own any warships, cruise ships, planes, container shipping ships, corporations, car companies, oil wells, Clothing companies etc. The politicians – same thing, only fronting with basic, minimal, channeled power. YOU ONLY PLAY ON THEIR STAGE. IT WAS ALL BY DESIGN take the blind folds off.

    • Balfast August 26, 2017 at 10:08 pm

      You are so right JRS. About 30+ years ago while walking at the Fairchild Street end of the then open planned Fairchild Street bus stand, I saw an individual running towards me , followed by two explosions. He was shot and collapsed in the Independence car park.
      We then did not pay much attention to this, as it would never , in quiet and peaceful Barbados become widespread.
      Subsequently there were numerous other such incidents. The picture was being painted right before our very eyes, one brush stroke at a time.

  8. fedup August 26, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    Duh still got a cat’ o’ nine tails? Couple lashes and yuh would see how some uh dem bad boys would settle down.

  9. jrsmith August 27, 2017 at 5:53 am

    @,Jennifer , hail, hail, your (4:12) good shot excuse the pun,, The tag ,……..there is hope , but hope of what , whats to happen or whats to come……………….Our people keep stepping away from pointing fingers at the politicians and shouting the odds , because the politicians have our people scared and frighten to be seen or heard openly criticizing the said politicians the people who was voted into power to keep and look after the welfare of our people in the best way possible………………
    Companies fail when there is bad management so do governments , but if the wrong people is continuously being elected then you cannot expect nothing but failure …………
    Our people is scared to put into practice the change we require , the chance we need , to remove from office a bunch of aggressive , bad attitude , rude people who tell lies and disrespect our people in any and every way they can and gets away with it……….
    BAJANS ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, stop stepping over the major problem we have to deal with ,the problem putting our politicians in they place , we cannot say to our young people, behave you all selves when they see the type of people who was voted for, as a massive failure the same people we cannot trust ,to put things right in barbados……
    My take, a piece of legislation namely so the …. (Accountability Act 2017 ) …..which give the voters the automatic rights , to have any (MP) they vote for remove from office if they not capable or measure to the way they should work for the people ………..We shouldn’t have to wait 5 years , for a general election to remove the big lump of failure call a government , which has a nothing done tag on its back…………..
    Please give to our young people justice and dont impose this type of government any longer on them , they are our future all our yesterdays has passed , lets look to the future……………………


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