PLP STATEMENT: The Bahamas now “boasts” a record number of murders totaling some 148 since 2009 and 299 murders since 2007! The record will show that for this relatively small country, 78 murders were committed in 2007; 73 were committed in 2008; 85 were committed in 2009 and 63 murders were committed year to date 2010. Needless to say, this carnage in our streets is totally unacceptable.
In the Nassau Guardian of Thursday, June 17, 2010, Minister Turnquest confirmed what the PLP had been saying all along:
“…continuing unacceptable levels of crime endanger our economic and social well-being and our standing as a country and a people”.
The PLP admonishes the National Security Minister that a description of this vexing problem and its baneful effects on Bahamian society doth not a solution make.
Crime and the fear of crime infest every area of Bahamian society. Law abiding citizens are not safe and do not feel safe on the streets nor in their homes. There is too much crime and too much fear of crime. The FNM must bear some responsibility for this horrific state of affairs.
It is the responsibility of the government to provide for the safety of all persons within The Bahamas. The FNM continues to show criminals that it does not take crime and the fear of crime seriously.
In 2007, the FNM stopped and cancelled the Swift Justice initiative. The FNM has directed that Swift Justice must not be reinstated. While every government has the legal right to change public policies, a government does not have the right to do so to the national detriment. There is no tangible evidence of a comparable replacement policy to the Swift Justice Initiative.
While law abiding Bahamians suffer, the FNM refuses to reinstate what they call a PLP program. Under the Swift Justice initiative, all stakeholders in the criminal justice system were working together and criminals were getting the message that they would be swiftly caught, prosecuted and punished. The Swift Justice initiative commenced under the PLP was working. For 6 months (2 sessions) trials proceeded as planned. No criminal matter was dropped off the calendar for reasons within the control of the prosecution. Now that the FNM has cancelled Swift Justice initiative, the criminal justice system has reverted to matters not coming on for trial even though they have been set down for trial. They are not coming on for trial for reasons within the control of the government, such as, witnesses are not turning up for trial and evidence is not available for trial.
The FNM also stopped the plans left in place by the PLP for the electronic tracking of people out on bail. Now there are increasing numbers of people accused of murder committing more murders while out on bail! There is no means to track their movements. Criminals are successfully manipulating and exploiting apparent weaknesses in the criminal justice system to the national detriment. Many corrective measures are within the control of the government.
The Attorney General has not yet set down for trial those persons charged with the recent breaking and entering of several government buildings. This sends the wrong message to criminals. These persons who broke into the buildings connected with the nation’s national security should have been tried by now as a matter of urgency and priority. They have been arrested. Breaking into those buildings is so serious that they should be tried immediately.
Swift prosecutions and executing swift justice would send the right message to criminals that law abiding Bahamians have had enough and their shenanigans will not be tolerated.