Reasonable police action
Published: May 06, 2013
The Royal Bahamas Police Force has a responsibility to keep the peace and ensure that those who break the law are arrested and prosecuted. It should not apologize for satisfying its mandate.
On Thursday night police conducted operations in Nassau Village and Pinewood Gardens, arresting dozens of young men for questioning. The NB12 cameras were there as police made arrests. Some of the residents complained that police were being excessive. Officers were not.
The street gang culture in New Providence has led to much of the violence we have witnessed over the past few years. Murder records in The Bahamas have become common. Certain communities consider their gang bosses more their leaders than the prime minister of this country.
A leading objective of the government must be to retard the expansion of these gangs, which are evolving into organized crime operations. Police should never apologize for making arrests based on good intelligence or reasonable suspicion that a crime has occurred.
The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) was elected a year ago with the hope that it would work to reduce the crime rate. Discussing his government’s efforts in this regard yesterday just before its one-year anniversary, Prime Minister Perry Christie said they are doing better on this issue and another vexing one, unemployment.
“With respect to firstly crime, unemployment, we are very aggressively addressing them and we have indicated we have seen improvements in both areas,” he said.
“Statistics show improvements in both areas. We know there is still a lot to do, so we are doubling up our efforts with respect to both crime and unemployment.”
Statistics released by Commissioner Ellison Greenslade last month show that crime decreased by 13 percent between January 1 and April 14, 2013 compared to the same period in 2012. There were 3,492 crimes reported during this period last year compared to 3,025 reported this year. The rate of unemployment nationally dropped from 14.7 percent to 14 percent, according to the latest labor force survey released by the Department of Statistics in February. However, there has been a wave of gang-related killings and shootings since the commissioner’s release of those crime figures.
Political parties should not court organized crime groups during elections. Organized crime bosses should not be feared or revered by police or prosecutors. Their increased power in The Bahamas represents a threat to the peace. A pressing concern for this administration should be breaking these organizations. Doing so would reduce our crime rate. Doing so would bring more order to our communities.
These groups are no longer ‘bad boys’ doing minor crimes. These organizations now use murder and intimidation regularly to advance their business interests. The state still has enough power to break these groups if their presence is perceived as a priority threat. If we wait too long and allow them to become more powerful, our fate may be more like that of Jamaica, Columbia and Mexico.