The Progressive Liberal Party condemns Tommy Turnquest, the Acting Prime Minister who has admitted the FNM government’s paralysis in dealing with the crime crisis for his ill-conceived and untrue comments reported in The Bahamas Journal today, that magistrates and judges have contributed “greatly” to the country’s crime issues. He went on to say that “liberally they have administered (bail)” and “if we had a system as they do in New York, where judges are elected, many of them would have gotten chased out of town”.
The hard working Judges every day attend Courts that too frequently are not properly equipped. They are ready, willing and able to work. Far too frequently the Attorney General’s office is not ready to proceed. This failure prevents the Judges from carrying out their constitutional duty to effect a swift trial. If there is fault to be laid, it is at the feet of the government, not the Judges. Instead of attacking the Judiciary, the FNM government should be about ensuring that the courts are supplied with the required resources, manpower and equipment to function efficiently. And, by its own yardstick, the FNM has compromised the independence of the Judiciary by failing over the past 2 years to review judicial salaries as is required by the Judges Remuneration and Pensions Act.
Too many criminals have no respect for our justice system — we need to remove their sense of impunity, increase the likelihood they will not just be arrested, but prosecuted, not just prosecuted but sentenced, not just sentenced but sentenced harshly. We must be clear: crime and violence will be punished, and justice will be swift.
We can be a great country, or we can be a crime riddled and violent country, but we cannot be both. We need a tough, no-nonsense response to violent crime when it happens, and we need to work a lot harder to prevent it from happening in the first place.
We need a government prepared to meet this challenge. We do not need cowardly, shameful, counterproductive and baseless attacks from the acting Prime Minister upon our hard working Judges who cannot defend themselves.