In the Tribune of Wednesday, November 18, 2009, the Editor of The Tribune took issue with the assertions of Me and the Progressive Liberal Party’s assertions that the Free National Movement’s “remodeling” of the PLP’s Urban Renewal Programme launched under the administration of the leadership of the Hon. Perry G. Christie is to be blamed for the escalating crime rate.
In an attempt to justify the position that the Urban Renewal Programme under the Christie administration had no profound effect on crime, the Editor produced and sought to rely on police statistics for the years 2001 through 2006.
Further, in the Tribune of today’s date, the Editor went further to state that since the beginning of mankind, there has been criminal activity and that “the warning bell tolls for all of us” of which, not even the PLP’s treasured Urban Renewal Programme is “no one antidote for its cure”. The Editor expressed that one only need look at the Tribune files to see when crime began to mushroom.
It is blatantly clear that apart from the Editor’s obvious bias, she is totally oblivious to what the real issue is today. Madam Editor, the issue is this: What initiative(s) has been introduced by the governing FNM Government since May 2007 to reduce and control crime and the fear of crime in our Bahamian society now?
The PLP contends that Urban Renewal was structured in such comprehensive form that it addressed not only crime, but all the criminogenic circumstances which inevitably led to crime. The attempt to undermine the effectiveness of the Programme by the FNM Government has resulted and is continuing to result in anarchy and chaos in our society today. To add, the FNM Government has sought to hide the truth by not painting the full picture in their use of statistics.
First, the FNM has used police crime statistics in a very limited way beginning with the year 2001 and stopping at 2006. In order to obtain a comprehensive look, one should review the statistics commencing when the FNM took office in 1992 through 2002. But even if one was not minded to go that far back, at least a comparison should be made of the PLP’s five year term in comparison to the FNM’s last five year term.
Moreover, one must look at what occurred during the PLP and the Urban Renewal era (2002 to 2007) and at least compare it with what has happened thus far under the FNM Government (i.e. 2007 to the present) to draw any conclusion. To do otherwise and make such bold statements that Urban Renewal was ineffective is a clear indication of biasness and incompleteness. Take for instance the homicide rate.
The FNM and the Editor expressed that in 2001 under the FNM, there were 43 murders. They neglected to mention that in 2000, a record breaking 74 murders were committed. The decline in 2001 in murders were attributed to the aggressive, round-the-clock, zero tolerance operations that the Police launched to bring crime under some degree of control. However, the ‘dusk to dawn’ operations could not be sustained as the operations took a tremendous toll on the human resource of the Police Force.
In 2002 with the ushering in of the PLP Government came the sustainable and comprehensive Urban Renewal Programme. The PLP maintains that in all areas where Urban Renewal was initiated, crime and the fear of crime was reduced. There was also a decline in the overall crime rate.
For completeness, here are the statistics from 1999 to 2009 of the major crime categories:
From the above, one must conclude:
(1) From the cancellation of Urban Renewal and the election of the FNM in 2007, there has been a quantum leap in crime in that in excess of 600 more major crimes were committed in the above categories alone;
(2) A review of the individual categories really reflect the extent of crime under the FNM Government and their inability to address the problem; and
(3) The homicide rate (i.e. the murder and manslaughter categories) reveal that the homicide rate is actually higher than is actually being expressed (particularly under the FNM Government); and
(4) There is a strong possibility that had Urban Renewal remain, crime levels would have been more manageable.
Many may question why the PLP has made extensive use of crime statistics and why the FNM Government is endeavoring to discredit the statistics produced by the PLP. It should be emphasized that the PLP recognize that statistics are crucial as they provide the greatest source of both qualitative and quantitative data (scientific proof of what really is the case).
I emphasize again that the FNM Government is clueless on how to address this crime problem.
I invite all print and television media and all Bahamians to challenge the Government in the interest of national security to do the following:
(1) Reintroduce Urban Renewal as it was established under the PLP government;
(2) Release ALL the crime statistics from 2007 to 2009 in order that the Bahamian community can truly begin to analyze the extent of the problem and offer input; and
(3) Revisit the “Swift Justice” initiative to counter the significant backlog of cases.
It is appropriate that this release is concluded with the words of the Tribune’s Editor:
“We have to return to our basic value system of honesty, decency and fairplay…”