Search results for : crime prevention

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News Article

November 22, 2011
BCCEC rolls out outreach program to small businesses

The chairman of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) plans to improve the organization's outreach to small businesses in an effort to make the sector feel more valued and less isolated in these challenging financial times.
Winston Rolle told Guardian Business the first meeting is scheduled for next Wednesday at St. Angus Church.
"We're trying to reach out and have dialogue with them," he added. "There is a perception that the BCCEC is not about small businesses. The Chamber is trying to combat that and get a better sense of what their needs are and examine ways to get them more engaged in the process."
Noting that many attempts have been made to establish their own association, Rolle threw cold water on the idea of separating from the BCCEC and insisted his organization is capable of championing the interests of this all-important sector of the economy. Next week's outreach program will be the first of many meetings with stakeholders to create a greater sense of community."There have been a number of attempts to start a small business association, but the reality is small businesses by themselves in that manner is not practical," he felt. "The fee structure, for example, for a small business association would end up being such that they couldn't afford it."
Rolle also pointed out that separating from BCCEC would mean smaller operations will lose networking and mentorship opportunities.
During the first meeting next week, he expects crime prevention to be top fo the agenda for many entrepreneurs, especially coming into the Christmas season.
Meanwhile, the new outreach program is expected to complement the pending introduction of small business legislation still to be tabled by the government. Partially funded by Compete Caribbean, a $40 million program jointly supported by several organizations, including the Inter-American Development Bank, the initiative for small business in The Bahamas should establish the framework to encourage growth, according to Rolle.
BCCEC, he said, actually submitted the full proposal and now "we are waiting for the wheels of government to turn so it can get tabled".
The small-to-medium-sized business act will serve as a one-stop shop for stakeholders. Essential to the program, Rolle added, will be the ability to solicit more funding for the sector. He told Guardian Business there were a umber of success models being looked at for the process.
The outreach is expected to provide a head-start in terms of understanding their needs and pay dividends once the legislation comes to ass.
"It's part of my mandate," Rolle said. "We want to reach out to them and see what we can do to help."

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News Article

October 05, 2011
The crime address and the way forward - Part 1

National addresses by leaders are significant. They indicate that the topic being addressed is of national significance. They also indicate that the state is placing its full weight behind solving the problem under consideration.
No sensible person disagrees that we have a crime problem in The Bahamas. There have been four murder records in five years. The total murder count this year will be considerably larger than last year's record count. There are also problems with robberies and break-ins.  Bahamians, especially residents of New Providence, do not feel safe in their paradise anymore.
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham's address on crime Monday night was comprehensive.  He brought forward new initiatives on the response and prevention sides of the issue of crime.  We will first address the response side.
Ingraham announced an amnesty period for illegal weapons to be turned in, tougher penalties for people found guilty of gun crimes, and the addition of two courts at the Magistrates' Court level for gun and drug crimes.  Magistrates will now have the power to sentence convicts to a maximum of seven years in prison rather than the five years currently allowed.
An additional criminal court at the Supreme Court level will be active by January, the prime minister said, along with a remand court at Her Majesty's Prison.  This new court will reduce the frequency of the bussing of prisoners to the downtown area.  This is welcomed and a relief.  The change will reduce serious risk to innocent people.
Legislation is also foreshadowed to clarify the sentencing of murder convicts.  Based on Ingraham's remarks, there will be three degrees of murder.  One will be death eligible; one subject to a full life sentence in jail; and the other to sentences between 30 and 60 years.
We have gone on record with our opposition to the death penalty.  Aside from that sentence, we agree that designations are needed for categories of murder.
These initiatives, and others already underway or just announced by the government, are useful.  However, more could have been said about the state of the Office of the Attorney General.
While the prime minister said more investigation training is on the way for police, prosecutors at the Office of the Attorney General still present cases in the Supreme Court.  It is true that police investigators have to up their performances.  The state prosecution office needs to do the same.
We are not convinced that the Office of the Attorney General and its personnel and structure are up to the task of efficiently and successfully prosecuting matters in a timely fashion.
This office somehow escapes public scrutiny.  Commissioners of police and ministers of national security should play their parts and lead.  However, attorneys general and directors of public prosecution are equally involved in the justice system.  Both the AG and his DPP must be more public and demonstrate to the country that they too are feeling pressure and are reforming their area of responsibility.
If our police put together good cases and our prosecutors bring them forward quickly, there would be no issue of bail.
We also think the government should clear the courts and its prosecution register of old cases that cannot be successfully or reasonably prosecuted.  This is a difficult task, as it will require informing victims and their families that there will be no trial and punishment via the courts for vile offenses committed.  Orders of no prosecution should be issued for all of these cases.
Years of failure to manage the criminal justice system properly have led us here.  The Office of the Attorney General's time should not be wasted chasing past failure.  We must work to ensure that the state prosecution service is feared.
If it is feared, many offenders would plead guilty to crimes committed when charged because they fear trial and a higher sentence.
"We are confronted by criminals - a criminal class of older seasoned offenders as well as a crop of bloody-minded juvenile offenders and thugs who seem to believe that they can evade the rule of law with little or no regard for life and other people's property," said Ingraham.
"For some, life is cheap; our common welfare is of no value.  I share your anguish and anger whether you or a family member or neighbor has been a victim of crime.  This vicious assault of crime affects us all.  It destroys lives and damages livelihoods."
We are at a crossroad.  If the level of crime and violence in our country rises further, we will become an unstable state and more of our citizens will consider living elsewhere.
We do not think the measures the government announced on the response side to crime will solve the problem, but we do think they will help counter the dangerous and violent trends that have emerged. We applaud the initiatives and hope that they will be effectively implemented.

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News Article

December 19, 2011
POLICE MOVE TO REASSURE BAHAMIANS

By DANA SMITH

dsmith@tribunemedia.net

POLICE are seeking to "reassure" Bahamians this holiday season, acknowledging that instances of crime, especially robbery, are on the rise this time of year.

Yesterday afternoon, as part of a new crime prevention initiative, officers visited businesses and passed out fliers with information on robberies.

While out on the tour, officers even managed to arrest a man for a "confrontation" with a store security guard.

"During the Christmas time, it is anticipated that's when crime will escalate," Supt Stephen Dean of the Crime Prevention Office told the press.

He explained that police want to "remove the opportunity...

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News Article
Government Introduces Freedom of Information Bill - Crime Bills Tabled
October 05, 2011
Government Introduces Freedom of Information Bill - Crime Bills Tabled

The following is a Communication by Rt. Hon. Hubert A. Ingraham, Prime Minister on the Anti-Crime Legislation Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill.

Mr. Speaker:

I wish to advise of the tabling for First Reading, a number of Bills.

Mr. Speaker:

Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill

Amendments proposed to the Criminal Procedure Code will when enacted:...

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News Article

September 26, 2012
Crime vs. Loss Knowing the Difference

In a modern society,
there is no other issue I believe that is more significant than that of
protecting our assets. Daily most of us are all focused on acquiring
wealth for a better lifestyle and maintaining our freedom, thus it is
only natural that the next logical step would be to protect what we have
obtained. But what have we obtained? It is exactly the people and
things which are valuable to us, that in one way or another, dictate
what and who we are. The debate now is not whether we have misplaced our
values, but rather to what extent are we prepared to go to keep what is
precious to us. That 'extent' is asset protection, that 'extent' is
loss prevention, which we collectively call security or whatever we
choose to call it. Simply put, it is keeping what you have safe and
secure...

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News Article

October 04, 2011
PLP: PM's crime address too little too late

In a swift response to Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham's national address on crime, the Progressive Liberal Party said in a statement last night that while some of the plans announced are "perfectly reasonable" and will find support from the PLP, taken as a whole "they are woefully inadequate, far too little, far too late".
"Most perplexing was the tone adopted by the prime minister as if he had just taken office, rather than having presided over the dramatic escalation in crime over the last four years," the PLP said.
"Is he just now discovering that witnesses need protection, that crime prevention programs must be properly funded and that the severity of the crisis demands engaged leadership?"
The PLP said it believes The Bahamas deserves a government focused on fighting crime all the time, not just at election time.
"The prime minister was vague when he needed to be specific, weak when he needed to be strong, and offered watered-down proposals when fully-funded efforts are needed," the statement said.
The PLP pointed to Ingraham's announcement that the government will immediately allocate $1 million for urban social intervention programs.
"Let's put that number in perspective," the party said.
"The FNM government spent $5.8 million on the Miss Universe Pageant -- but with an entire generation at risk, he offers $1 million?  Almost six times more on Miss Universe alone rather than putting young Bahamians first."
The statement added, "After raising taxes during tough times, which made the recession worse, after delaying projects for political reasons, resulting in lost jobs, and after failing to put Bahamians first at the bargaining table, the prime minister offers Bahamians a lecture.
"It's time for a government that believes Bahamians are the answer, not the problem."
The PLP said its approach is tougher, and more holistic.
"The PLP believes an holistic approach is necessary to fight crime: prevention, prosecution, punishment and rehabilitation," the statement said.
It added, "On the matter of increased sentences for firearm possession, we have proposed that the possession of high-powered weapons should be tried in the Supreme Court, allowing greater sentencing power than the approach suggested by the prime minister.
Ingraham said last night that after November 4, anyone convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm or ammunition will, upon conviction, be imprisoned for a minimum of four years.
"I highlight the fact that the power of magistrates to impose sentences is being increased from five to seven years and that conviction on drug and gun related offenses may attract the maximum sentence of seven years," Ingraham said.
The PLP noted that the government intends to establish three years as a reasonable period to hold a person without trying him or her.
"The overall effect of the PLP's Safe Bahamas plan is that murders will be tried within 12 months," the statement said.
"Under the Swift Justice initiative, the PLP was able to conduct a preliminary inquiry and subsequent murder trial within 12 months.  We did it before and we will do it again."
The statement added: "The PLP believes that we must be able to intervene directly into the cycle of revenge killings, with specially-trained violence breakers.
"Not a word from the prime minister on combating this vicious cycle.  The FNM apparently disagrees.  The PLP has proposed increased funding for drug rehabilitation, safe havens created by the police in conjunction with the clergy, saturation patrols in crime hot spots, and increased surveillance of repeat offenders.  Nothing from the FNM on these matters -- silence."
The PLP claimed that it is the only party with the expertise and the will to see a fully-implemented urban renewal program.

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News Article

December 01, 2011
After the bell rings

First published June 23, 2008
Crime has many faces and is committed by men, women and children of every class, race and ethnicity.   When we say that we want to "tackle crime", however, we don't mean the culture of lying, bribery, white collar t'iefin' and political kleptomania, but instead we mean "violent crime".   I propose that we must go beyond recruiting more policemen, purchasing more police cars and bulletproof vests, and even beyond the imagined happy day when we start hangin' 'em high.  Yes, violent crimes are brazenly being committed right before our eyes, and it is infuriating, but the solution to all criminal activity begins even closer to home with our children.
We are not the only ones fighting this battle.  Here in the Caribbean, in Europe and certainly in North America, strategies are being offered on how to deal with troubled youth.  From parenting classes to early childhood intervention, the options are out there, and in combination, I believe they can make a great difference.
On this occasion, however, I want to zero in on just one possible piece to the puzzle and that is after-school programs.
The proactive approach is to develop a long-term strategy of crime prevention which involves more than increased surveillance in commercial districts and hot spot neighborhoods.  It involves investing in those who are inordinately represented among the prison population: young people from vulnerable homes and crime-ridden neighborhoods.  In short, we must, as a nation, commit as never before to after-school programs for young people.  This isn't a novel idea.  This is something that has been recommended in various formats, settings and documents around the world.  In 1990, the United Nations passed a resolution called the Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency or the Riyadh Guidelines.  A key point of that document reads:  "The prevention of juvenile delinquency is an essential part of crime prevention in society.  By engaging in lawful, socially useful activities and adopting a humanistic orientation towards society and outlook on life, young persons can develop non-criminogenic attitudes."
Effective programs don't just make sure someone is keeping an eye on "dese rude chirren".  They engage them wholesomely, build their self-esteem, ground their self-confidence in positive rather than negative things, give them opportunities for training and careers, address their educational deficiencies, attempt to correct their behavioral problems and most of all, make them feel loved, wanted, valued and respected.
 
Solutions
According to the American organization, www.fightcrime.org, "the hours from 2 to 6  p.m. on school days are the 'prime time for juvenile crime'.  [In America]...On a regular basis, 14 million children and teens are left unsupervised by adults after the school day ends.  Studies show that after school is the peak time for teens to commit crime, be a victim of crime, be in or cause a car crash and smoke, drink or use drugs.  Quality, constructive and highly supervised programs can cut
 
crime immediately and convert afterschool hours into safe learning time.  One high-quality program found that boys left out of the program averaged six times more crimes than teens in the program.  A study of Boys & Girls Clubs showed that housing projects without the clubs had 50 percent more vandalism and 37 percent worse drug activity than projects with the clubs."
Many teachers are engaged in clubs and coaching in our schools, but let's face it, this is not enough.   It isn't reaching the students most in need of constructive afterschool activities.  The average boy or girl who joins a club out of sheer personal interest is not the kid we are aiming for.  One of the reasons for this may be that the typical groups (Anchor Club, Junior Achievers, Gentlemen's Club, etc.) are designed for the overachiever, not the underachiever.   Carl Bethel, in his recent budget report, conceded that even his ministry's 10-week pilot afterschool program did not reach the targeted at-risk groups, despite having approximately 1200 participants.  Sporting groups do better at attracting atypical students, however discipline problems usually make it difficult for some of these very same kids to stay on the team, and hence they are once again left idle and unattended to.  Furthermore, our schools are already working with extremely limited resources.  So to whom should we look?   Why not draw upon our churches, businesses, the government, and even private citizens?
We know that in the 2007-2008 budget, members of Parliament were to each be given $100,000 for constituency allowances, once their plans were approved by the minister of finance.  Currently only a little more than half of the MPs actually accessed their funds.  Already, some are boasting of the forthcoming paving of roads and repairing of parks, but given the state of affairs in the nation, why do the same old thing and expect different results?  That's been referred to as insanity.  So what if we don't pave a single road this year?  Shouldn't every constituency have a community center by now?  Shouldn't those centers have staff trained to work with at-risk youth through programs in arts, academics, vocational studies, core skills, etc.?  The National Task Force on Youth Development advocated this over a decade ago.  Shouldn't every MP, not just the odd few, be in partnerships with constituents, churches and businesses to help with this massive task?
 
Changes are needed
There is no easy way out on this topic.  Kids can be tough work, especially those who are surviving in dysfunctional homes, struggling with disabilities or disorders that have gone undiagnosed, or battling with issues of morals, class and values generated by popular culture.  However, we should liken them to an investment, similar to other investments that we devote our money and time to.  We need to properly train, educate, support, encourage and yes, finance those who are willing and able to work overtime with our children.  No one bats an eye when we toss approximately $12 million into tourism for advertising alone.  That's an investment we believe will pay off.
Perhaps we're too short-sighted.  Perhaps all we see are "kids"; loud, abrasive, disrespectful and painfully inconvenient problems plaguing our society.  Children are always someone else's problem.   The catch is, unlike any other investment we'll make, you can't just throw money at them and expect everything to come up roses.  They require so much more than parks, playgrounds, or even food and clothes.  Folks, we are looking at young men and women without a discernible future.  Young men and women, who, being ill-equipped to inherit will nonetheless wrest this country from our bare hands.  Whether they can steer, build, manage and preserve it will be a testimony about us, not them.
 
o Ian Strachan is Associate Professor of English at The College of The Bahamas. You can write him at strachantalk@gmail.com.

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News Article

July 30, 2012
BOB's camp donation to impact 2,000 lives

More than 2,000 young people attending the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) Summer Youth Camps will dine on the generosity of Bank of The Bahamas. The donation - gifts cards for lunches and snacks from Phil's Food Services - was made during a recent presentation at BOB's head office with representatives of all nine RBPF summer youth camps throughout New Providence.
"We're extremely grateful to have the support of Bank of The Bahamas, especially since the program has been extended from four weeks to six weeks this year," said camp coordinator Inspector Chrislyn Skippings. "Our goal this year is to provide positive activities in keeping with our POLICE 2012 policing plan and the bank's donation will help sustain the programs we're currently implementing for the children."
This is the third year BOB has supported the summer youth camps, which help students gain respect for themselves and others through well-structured activities which demonstrate the rewards of hard work and dedication. This year's sessions in neighborhoods throughout New Providence kicked off on July 2 with a march to Police Headquarters, where more than 2,000 participants were divided into their various camps, based primarily on the police division in which they live. Each camp location averages 220 participants and operates from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays.
Free for all participants, the RBPF Summer Youth Camp is open to boys and girls between the ages of 8 to 17 and focuses on spiritual, cultural, educational, sports and community development. Participants attend field trips, enjoy art and crafts, sports and community outreach and learn about Bahamian history, the environment, first aid, crime prevention, gang violence and conflict resolution.
The summer camp's rich history began in 1993 when Police Commissioner Bonamy and Superintendent Allerdyce Strachan gave birth to the concept of cops helping kids and communities.
The RBPF will host a talent extravaganza at the Performing Arts Center on August 3, to showcase what the participants have learned throughout the summer. The camp concludes on August 10.
"We are very proud to support the Royal Bahamas Police Force summer youth camps once again and for the first time to support all nine divisions," said Vaughn Delaney, BOB's deputy managing director. "These camps provide healthy, wholesome activities with good role models for thousands of young people, many of whom may have been idle with little to do this summer. We know too that a lot of volunteer time goes into this effort and it is all in keeping with the bank's commitment to assist where we can to support national development through supporting youth, education and law enforcement in creating and maintaining a real sense of community."
According to Inspector Chrislyn Skippings, the bank's contribution is making an important difference.
"For some of these young people, the meal they get at camp is their only hot meal of the day. In fact, we had a call one day from a mom who said her child could not make it to camp that day, but she asked if it would it be possible to pick up her food. We don't realize how much this means to many people and we are really grateful to Bank of The Bahamas."

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News Article

September 22, 2011
Lodge master murdered

Marvin Kerr, a 40-year-old boat captain, prominent masonic lodge member, and father of three, was killed in his driveway Tuesday night, six weeks after an unknown assailant shot him in the stomach outside his home.
Kerr was the owner of Kerr-2-Sea Ferry & Charter Service and the Worshipful Master of St. James Number One Masonic Lodge on Kemp Road.
Police said around 10 p.m. Kerr parked his car in his driveway on Taurus Court in Ideal Estates, off Soldier Road, and was about to enter his home when an unidentified man shot him multiple times. Kerr reportedly died immediately.
Dozens of family members, friends and lodge members gathered in and around Kerr's home as cries of despair filled the air.
At the scene, Kerr's sister, Cynthia Meadows, said he had just returned home from watching a movie with his wife when he was killed.
"He was recovering from his injuries.  He just went back to work for the first time today (Tuesday)," said Meadows.
"[He] and his wife...they pulled up and came out of the car.  When they came out of the car, the fellow apparently was already in here waiting on him to come, and shot him.  But that's what happened the first time [he got shot].
"Whoever it was, was here waiting on him also.  I don't know what to say."
The first time Kerr was shot was during the early morning hours of August 11.
Police said he was standing outside his house when a man with a handgun approached and shot him.
It is unclear if police identified a motive or a suspect in that first incident.
Kerr was the younger brother of Ken Kerr, CEO of prominent financial services firm Providence Advisors Limited.
He said Marvin Kerr was one of five brothers and part of a very large, tight-knit family.
Kerr stood awestruck amongst his surviving brothers behind police tape Tuesday night as officers processed the scene of the younger brother's murder several hundred yards away.
After police allowed the family into the yard, Kerr was among those praying with Bishop Walter Hanschell and his wife Mina Lee who came to the scene to counsel them.
As Kerr stood on the porch of his brother's home while family members comforted each other inside, he was reluctant to speak, but he said it was important for people to know that his brother was a good man, who will be missed.
"This is a difficult time for us.  We're in shock and we're still not yet grasping what has happened.  He was a good kid [and a] great boat captain," said Kerr as he cried.
"We're all close.  There are plenty of us and we're all close.  This is a difficult time for all of us."
Director of the Royal Bahamas Police Force National Crime Prevention Office Superintendent Stephen Dean said Tuesday night that police had no leads and were looking for the public's assistance in bringing those responsible to justice.
He said that police would not let murderers go unpunished.
"We want to say to the criminals: Police will find you.  We will bring you into custody, wherever you might be.  We want to say to family members who know of these criminals sleeping in their homes, please turn them in.
"This is no time to cloak any family members.  The police will also prosecute you too for harboring [suspects] which is a very serious offense."
Kerr's death pushed this year's record murder count to 102.

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News Article

May 30, 2012
Minnis supports hanging

Leader of the Free National Movement (FNM) Dr. Hubert Minnis said yesterday he supports capital punishment.
Minnis said he has made that position known on many occasions. He repeated it while a guest on the Guardian Radio talk show Darold Miller Live.
"In the FNM we believe in prevention, dealing with issues that are there," Minnis said.
"I do believe in hanging, but at the same time one has to go through the legal process which makes it very, very difficult."

The death penalty has not been carried out in The Bahamas since David Mitchell was executed in 2000.
Last June, the Privy Council quashed the death sentence of murder convict Maxo Tido, who was sentenced more than five years ago for the 2002 murder of 16-year-old Donnell Conover. Her skull was crushed and her body burnt, according to the evidence presented in the case.
But the Privy Council, while recognizing that it was a dreadful and appalling murder, said it did not fall into the category of worst of the worst, and therefore the death penalty ought not apply.
Tido was the first person sentenced to death in The Bahamas since the Privy Council ruled in 2006 that the mandatory death sentence in The Bahamas was unconstitutional.
Amendments made to the Criminal Procedure Code late last year as a part of a package of anti-crime bills, set out circumstances under which the death penalty would be mandatory.
The death penalty would be mandatory for anyone convicted of killing a member of the following organizations: The Royal Bahamas Police Force, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, the Department of Customs, the Department of Immigration, the judiciary and the prison services system.
The death penalty would also be mandatory if a person is convicted of murdering someone in the commission of a robbery, rape, kidnapping or act of terrorism.
However, murder convicts still have the right to appeal to the Privy Council.
The package of bills was passed after the murder count skyrocketed last year, eventually reaching a record 127.
Minnis said while he supports hanging he believes in prevention.
"I am a strong proponent of communication and discussion with the churches and other organizations so that we can work together, strengthen families etc.," Minnis said.
"We know that conflict resolution is a problem so we need to deal with that."
The Bahamas hanged 50 men since 1929, according to records kept at Her Majesty's Prison. Five of them were hanged under the Ingraham administrations prior to 2002; 13 were hanged under the 25-year rule of the Pindling government; and the remainder were executed between 1929 and 1967.
Prime Minister Perry Christie in his last term renewed his commitment to the death penalty, although it was never carried out during his administration.
Then attorney general Alfred Sears had said that the pending Forrester and Bowe case, which led to the landmark 2006 ruling, had prevented the Christie administration from carrying out capital punishment.
That ruling meant that all the men who were under the sentence of death at the time had to be re-sentenced.

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