Minister of National Security and Immigration the Hon. Tommy Turnquest brings the keynote address at the official opening of the Royal Bahamas Police Reserve Conference 2007 at the Police Conference Centre, Nassau. (Photo by: Patrick Hanna)
By: Matt Maura
NASSAU, Bahamas – Minister of National Security and Immigration the Hon. Tommy Turnquest says there are more reasons for optimism over pessimism in the fight against crime and criminality in the country.
Mr. Turnquest laid out several steps of a plan he said can help lead to a reduction in the level of crime. They include, among other measures, adopting “comprehensive, coherent, holistic and multi-disciplinary strategies” in addition to developing rational and effective countermeasures in a number of areas.
Addressing the opening session of the 2nd Annual International Police Auxiliary/Reserve Officers’ Conference at the Police Conference Centre, East Street, Mr. Turnquest explained that the strategy will move the focus “firmly on the solution to problems so as to take us forward in initiatives for crime prevention and criminal justice.”
“We can fight crime by establishing partnerships among the full range of stakeholders including Government, the churches, the community, non-governmental and private voluntary organizations, civil society, the business community and neighbourhood associations,” Mr. Turnquest said.
“We can fight crime by reaching out to those people most at risk including young people, and particularly young men, and seek to inculcate in those who need it, the values and traditions on which their societies and countries are built.”
Mr. Turnquest stressed that in dealing with youth, we may be well advised to keep in mind the adage that where values, traditions and discipline fall away, permissiveness takes their place.
“We can further fight crime by providing positive and productive alternatives to crime and criminality and incentives for all of our citizens to contribute to the essential task of nation building. All told there is hope for pessimism in our fight against crime and criminality,” he added.
Minister Turnquest pointed out that crime problems cannot be solved by sending more people, usually young men, to prison or by installing burglar bars and security screens while increasing the number of gated communities.
He said while Government will take decisive action in the war on crime, the Government cannot act in isolation.
“There are many self-evident ways in which to effectively counter crime and criminality,” Mr. Turnquest said. “We cannot use yesterday’s strategies, policies, or mechanisms to confront today’s myriad manifestation of crime and criminality.”
Hosted by the Royal Bahamas Police Reserve Force and the Reserve Officers Association, the five-day conference will explore and take decisions on effective approaches to policing that may be applied to mutual advantage.
Topics to be discussed include school violence – causes and solutions, ethical behaviour, the police in society, leadership and decision-making, generation dynamics, societal changes and human trafficking.
Minister Turnquest commended the Auxiliary/Reserve Officers for their contributions in safeguarding regional and global countries. He said the conference affords them the opportunity to resolve common problems in a world “that is rapidly becoming the proverbial global village.”
“You are a diverse Force coming from different countries and different professions, but bonded by dedication to duty, friendship, mutual interest and respect,” Mr. Turnquest said.
“Your patriotism is a source of inspiration for all and we thank you, as volunteers, for bringing your skills, talents and insights to policing,” Mr. Turnquest added.