|Darville: Role of civil society programs crucial in illegal drugs fight|
Royston Jones Jr.
Guardian Staff Reporter
Published: Jun 28, 2012
While legislative, law enforcement and social intervention is at the forefront of the fight against crime, the role of civic society programs is increasingly crucial to reducing the bloodshed perpetrated within the country, and redirecting young people toward non-violent, drug free lifestyles, according to Joseph Darville, co-chairman of the Bahamas National Drug Council.
“It’s not just about interdiction. It’s not just about incarceration or the passing of new laws or regulations,” said Darville during an OPBAT (Operation Bahamas, Turks and Caicos) demonstration for the winners of the first ‘Youth Expression’ competition, at the Royal Bahamas Defence Force’s Coral Harbour Base yesterday.
“It’s also a matter of dealing with our people. Once our people are trained sufficiently and know how to deal with these situations, then we are going to have the type of peaceful and well-established communities where are young people can develop,” he said.
“We have a very serious problem in our nation, especially with respect to how we are going to protect our children and produce safe environments for them in the future. Today you have people who are dying from the use of drugs, from the guns associated with the proliferation of drugs and the transshipment of drugs.”
Law enforcement officials have been challenged in regards to reducing the demand and cutting off the supply of narcotics. The recent discovery of an estimated $40 million of marijuana plants during a joint operation involving law enforcement officials and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Unit in Grand Bahama, underscores the persistence of drug proliferation in The Bahamas, Darville pointed out. He said that the collaborative drug interdiction effort has been successful, but additional community support would prove more effective.
Director of Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in The Bahamas Davis Lea said the primary focus has been limiting drug trafficking through the more than 200,000 miles of Bahamian waters, but a holistic approach is key. He said part of the approach has to be increased efforts in working with young people. He said this would in turn address the deep-seeded by products of the narcotics industry, which include social deviance and crime.
“We are constantly working with the Bahamian government; both the Ministry of National Security and the Bahamas National Drug Council, to see what new pilot programs and additional initiatives we can start involving civil society,” he said.
Jea added that the U.S. Embassy intends to propose new tactical initiatives to the Bahamian government which it believes will significantly help in that regard.