Butler-Turner ‘almost sorry’ for Nottage on crime
ROYSTON JONES JR.
Guardian Staff Reporter
Published: Jan 30, 2016
Long Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner said yesterday that she almost felt sorry for Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage as he pleaded for bipartisan support on crime in Parliament on Wednesday.
Butler-Turner pointed out that the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) has repeatedly politicized crime.
She said Nottage has leveled repeated attacks on the Ingraham administration’s record on crime while he was an opposition member.
“I think any right-thinking person realizes that every stakeholder that has a love of this country has to be involved in the fight against crime,” Butler-Turner said.
“But they once again deluded and misled... the Bahamian people by stating that this crime problem is an FNM problem.
“It is good to see not just Dr. Nottage, but even the prime minister and other ministers of this administration, pleading with the public to not make this a political football.
“Unfortunately, that horse has already bolted out the gate and the signs and memories are there, where they literally went and publicized that we were an abysmal failure because of the out of control crime.”
As Nottage laid out the government’s plan to tackle crime through the introduction of a “citizen security and justice program” that would include the introduction of a “revolutionary” parole system, he said he believes that if the opposition works with the governing party, they could, “in a very short period of time, restore the semblance to civility that we need to relieve our citizens of the fear of crime”.
“I beg your support and I think that the country needs unity in this matter,” he said.
Ahead of the 2012 general election, the PLP erected billboard across New Providence, which read, "Under the FNM government 490-plus murders.”
Since May 2012, when the PLP was elected, 469 murders have been recorded in The Bahamas.
Between May 7 and December 31, 2012, there were 70 murders.
In 2013, there were 119 murders.
In 2014, there were 123 murders.
In 2015, there were 149 murders and 8 murders have been recoded this year.
While Nottage did not provide any statistics for 2015, he highlighted the spike in violence in recent years.
Nottage said tackling crime is not an easy problem.
“I am sure that they are hoping 2015 never happened,” Butler-Turner said.
“And, of course, we as Bahamians are not cheering on that, that happened.
“But, the fact remains, we were telling them all along that crime is not an issue that should be politicized.
“They used it as a mechanism to get the Bahamian people to believe that we were the problem for crime.”
Last November, Police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade said he was not surprised that the murder count is climbing.
He said without policy and legislative changes, criminals would operate without fear of repercussions.
Prime Minister Perry Christie and Nottage have yet to outline what the government’s new crime-fighting plan entails.
However, Christie said last October that the commissioner would introduce new crime strategies that would, among other things, impact freedom of movement.
The commissioner was expected to reveal the new crime strategy this month.