Bahamas steps up war on crime
The country is improving its criminal justice system and putting new programmes in place to address crime.
NASSAU, Bahamas, Wednesday August 10, 2011 – Improvements to the country’s Criminal Justice System and the implementation of additional social and educational programmes are among the measures being designed to address crime and criminality within The Bahamas, Minister of National Security, Tommy Turnquest has told a regional gathering.
Addressing the first Regional Community-Based Policing Conference, which opened yesterday, Turnquest said the two measures, when combined with the many crime-fighting initiatives already undertaken by the Government of The Bahamas and its law enforcement and national security agencies, will significantly impact crime and criminality locally.
“The Government of The Bahamas recognizes that there must be several complimentary approaches and multiple interventions with which to address crime and criminality,” he said.
“We recognize that the Government is mandated to take the lead in the fight against crime and violence and that is something we have done and will continue to do, but we also recognize that all of our partners have an integral role to play in stemming the tide.”
Turnquest said The Bahamas has implemented a number of crime-fighting strategies “and proven methods using updated technology” to address crime and criminality including the use of Electronic Monitoring, CCTV and the establishment of a Remand Court as part of its “arsenal of crime-fighting initiatives”.
Scheduled to be completed by September, 2011, the Remand Court is being constructed “in close proximity to her Majesty’s Prison” so that police and prison officials “can be more usefully and effectively assigned”.
The implementation of several mini-pilot Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) projects, the National Security Minister said, has fared so well that officials are now in the process of implementing a “full municipal CCTV Project for New Providence”.
“The CCTV network is to be more than a crime prevention tool. It is expected to also act as a deterrent to criminals and would-be criminals,” he said.
“The electronic monitoring of those persons on bail, has been very successful in monitoring the whereabouts of persons accused of crime and in providing a level of protection for victims where court orders restrain them from coming into contact with the victim.”
The National Security Minister said once improvements to the criminal justice system come on stream, they will help bolster the crime-fighting initiatives, thereby producing even greater results in the war on crime and criminality.
Turnquest said the three-day Regional Conference is being held at an opportune time, as it will provide participants with the opportunity to share best practices with regards to community-based policing and other matters.
Regional officials say the conference “serves as a valuable resource for our region as its outcomes will determine the activities, initiatives and institutions that are to be supported and strengthened”.
Law enforcement and national security officials from 19 regional countries are in New Providence attending the conference, which wraps up Thursday afternoon.
Sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the conference is also expected to develop the “mechanisms and concrete plans that are to be implemented to achieve the objectives of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI)”.
The CSBI is a partnership between the United States Government, the Caribbean Community and the Dominican Republic and promotes cooperation and collaboration among regional countries to effectively address the challenges posed by crime in regional countries.