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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."
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.
Scores of children watched as an Augusta Street man was loaded into an ambulance and rushed to the hospital around 1:30 p.m. yesterday, seemingly unfazed by the violence they had just witnessed.
The man, who was wanted by police in connection with several serious crimes, was shot by an officer during a stand-off, police reported.
Director of the Crime Prevention Office Superintendent Stephen Dean told reporters at the scene that the man, known by area residents as “Bear”, pulled a gun on an officer who was attempting to question him.
Dean said police were on patrol in the area when they received information from concerned citizens about two wanted men.
As a result the police stoppe ...
"The first 100 days is going to be important, but it's probably going to be the first thousand days that makes the difference". These are the words of U.S. President Barack Obama concerning anticipated judgement of his initial performance as president. The words in a sense downplay the significance of the decade-long concept of the first "100 days" in office that was pioneered during Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration. The concept itself is used as a benchmark to judge a U.S. president's term in office.
Roosevelt assumed office in what at that time proved to be difficult economic times in the midst of the Great Depression. Roosevelt promised the American people a "New Deal", a policy that promised to deliver the 3Rs: Relief of the unemployed and poor, recovery of the economy to normal levels and reform of the financial system to prevent a repeat depression.
The New Deal policy is similar to the campaign promise that the Progressive Liberal Party promised the voting electorate - a government that "Believes in The Bahamas and puts Bahamians first". The challenges that face the new Christie administration are similar to those faced by the Roosevelt administration. The administration has entered into a precarious fiscal position brought about by the global economic crisis combined with the economic and fiscal policy adopted by the outgoing Ingraham administration.
The Christie administration is aware that it must move fast to tackle the socio-economic position of the country. In this regard, the administration committed itself to the American concept of the first "100 days" in office that will witness the implementation, creation, reintroduction and priority of multiple programs that will address social and economic concerns in an attempt to bring about relief, recovery and reform.
The PLP promised to create a ministry for Grand Bahama that will focus on the economic recovery and the continued growth of that island. It is noteworthy to state that the minister for Grand Bahama has already been appointed albeit the actual ministry and its structure have not been fully constituted. The administration also reintroduced the Ministry of Financial Services to provide undivided attention to an industry that is the second largest contributor to The Bahamas' gross domestic product. As developments in the Eurozone continue to provide uncertainty for the global economy, it is imperative that The Bahamas government maintains open dialogue with industry professionals and adopts a proactive approach in addressing the needs and concerns of the financial services industry - bearing in mind that many of them have their headquarters based in and will be impacted by developments in the Eurozone. The Bahamas must gain a competitive edge in financial services and enact creative and innovative policies that will make it easier and more attractive to do business in The Bahamas. Our product offerings must be expanded and geographical diversification of our clientele is imperative.
The Ministry of Investments will play a significant role in spurring economic activity through both local and foreign direct investments. Specific focus on the repositioning of the Bahamas Development Bank and the creation of an environment for small to medium sized enterprises (SME) to flourish will be crucial in reducing the unemployment rate. Failure to drive the SME sector will result in an increased burden on taxpayers who will pay by way of tax increases to meet revenue shortfalls, increased reliance on the government for employment and increase the government's expenditure on welfare programs.
Tax reform and revisions
The reality of a shrinking government revenue base and expanding expenditure levels can no longer be avoided. It is only fitting therefore that this administration has agreed to confront our taxation system with a view to implementing a more effective regime. However, the government in its review should ensure that the new system is progressive and equitable.
The administration has committed to certain tax adjustments and concessions to spur economic activity in the real estate industry among others. It is anticipated that these rate reductions will do much to provide incentives and relief for the real estate industry. Additionally, the proposed ceiling on real property taxes is expected to be reintroduced following its removal during the previous administration. There is widespread optimism that these initiatives will act as catalysts for increased activity in construction and create employment for Bahamians.
The administration has committed to addressing the issues of crime, education, healthcare and foreclosure prevention. The crime-fighting plan will launch key elements that will focus on child protection laws, reintroduce urban renewal, school-based policing, witness protection, and swift justice while addressing the issue of firearms.
Preparations for economic recovery will be incomplete if the citizenry is not equipped to take advantage of this recovery. During the campaign trail and in its "100 days" pledge, the PLP committed to prioritizing a doubling of the nation's investment in the education and training of Bahamians.
National Health Insurance will also be on the new administration's agenda with special focus on acquiring cancer screening technology for Bahamian women. Considering the alarming rate of women diagnosed with breast cancer in The Bahamas, this is a given. It is unclear, however, where this ranks on the government's list of priorities.
Finally, the much debated but necessary mortgage relief program will require further consultation and compromise before full implementation. However, it is promising to note that the long overdue position on gambling will be addressed as well as increased initiatives for border control to stem illegal activities.
Fiscal reality and delivery
While it is believed that the plans of the Christie administration are ambitious, no one will doubt that they are necessary and more importantly achievable. However, the attainment of these promises will not be an overnight delivery considering the fiscal constraints of the government. Nevertheless, the Bahamian people have been crying for economic and social relief and on May 7, 2012 they elected a government to carry out that mandate.
The administration must move swiftly but cautiously to address the needs of the people. In the midst of fiscal constraints, they must find innovative and creative ways to introduce portions of
their programs while demonstrating to the international community that they are committed to fiscal prudence by containing and servicing the deficit as best as they can.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Perry Christie can take comfort in the words of President John F. Kennedy regarding his first 100 days: "All this will not be finished in the first hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first thousand days, nor in the life of this administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin."
o Arinthia S. Komolafe is an attorney-at-law. Comments can be directed at email@example.com.
The full municipal implementation of the closed circuit television (CCTV) program for New Providence will be complete before the end of the year -- an initiative that the government and police believe will help significantly in the fight against crime.
Head of the Central Division of the Police Force, Superintendent Leon Bethell, said recently that the CCTV initiative is a huge part of the policing plan.
Statistics recently released to The Nassau Guardian revealed that in the first seven months of 2011, crime overall was up by 16 percent compared to the previous year. The numbers show that cases of murder, rape, attempted raped, armed robbery, robbery, housebreaking, stealing, stealing from vehicles and stolen vehicles all increased this year compared to last.
But the police believe that the fully implemented CCTV program will help reduce those statistics.
Minister of National Security Tommy Turnquest told The Guardian recently that his ministry is currently reviewing proposals from the seven companies who submitted bids for the implementation of CCTV.
"Once that's done, we'll then have it reviewed by the government before making a final decision," he said.
Currently there are several mini-pilot CCTV projects, however once the full program is implemented, designated "hot spots and strategic places" around New Providence will be monitored on a 24-hour basis.
The government has allocated $500,000 in this year's budget for the program. While Turnquest could not provide an exact date of expected implementation, he said it will be done fairly soon.
"Definitely before the end of the year," he added.
Mini-CCTV programs are in operation in areas downtown including around the Central Police Station, the Churchill Building, Woodes Rogers Wharf, the East Street South Police Station, and areas in Cable Beach.
"And so now we're talking about tying it all in," Turnquest said, adding that the government met with a consultant out of the U.S. who has been helping with that effort.
The mini-program has resulted in the closure of many cases. When the full system is put in place, the returns are expected to be more significant as it relates to the fight against crime, Turnquest said.
"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. The initiative is the result of a partnership and collaboration between the government and the business community and is indicative of the united front that we must have in the fight against crime," Turnquest said.
With the mini-program already implemented in the Central Division, Supt. Bethell said it allows his officers a wider range of police coverage.
"What we have been doing is manning the CCTVs and directing our patrols based on virtual policing. It impacts our ability to look all along the territory in the central division and directing the officers based on what we see, in terms of what areas need more attention and so on. We can also prevent crime from happening," Bethell said recently.
He added that once the full program is launched it will increase the initiatives of the police in the area of crime prevention.
"That's what we want to strive to do. We want to prevent crime," Bethell said.
A 32-year-old man of Bamboo Street, Golden Gates, was arrested around 4 a.m. yesterday after he was found in possession of containers filled with diesel, police said.Police said the truck driver was discovered with eleven 55-gallon drums filled with diesel.
Police reported that they received information that several men were seen in the area of the Sports Centre stealing fuel.
Superintendent Stephen Dean toldThe Nassau Guardianthe matter was an isolated one.
However, he encouraged members of the public to limit the opportunity for thieves to siphon fuel.
"These are isolated cases, but we always advise to limit the opportunity as a means of prevention," Dean said.
"In cases like this we want to tell people [that if their] vehicles experience mechanical difficulty, whether it is late in the evening or during the day, to remove those vehicles as soon as humanly possible."
Dean added,"People take the chance and leave their vehicles where they have broken down with the intention of returning in the morning.
"People can steal parts off the vehicle, they can[steal]the fuel from them or the vehicle can even be stolen. It can happen anywhere."
Anyone with further information regarding the fuel theft matter is asked to contact police at 911, 919, the Nassau Police Station at 356-5140, 356-5141 or Crime Stoppers at 328-TIPS.
There continues to be considerable angst and heated discussion of the causes and responses to violent crime in a modern Bahamas besieged by high levels of violence and anti-social behavior.
While much of this column focuses on violent crime, at the root we are dealing not with crime per se, but with social decay and various crises of culture.
Much of the crime commentary is trite with endless cliches and vague notions of crime abatement. Philosophically, there are stubborn debates as to whether there are mostly individual or social causes for crime. Of course, the answer is a mixed one depending on a complex of factors and the context.
Some are wedded to a boot camp mentality, while others believe that hectoring and preaching loudly is a serious crime prevention strategy. The Christian Council has dropped the ball on crime. But mostly for reasons other than a lack of prayer and sublimation.
Amidst the regurgitation of what has not and what will not work, there are important efforts such as Urban Renewal (UR). UR has done some good things. Still, as constituted, it is less a strategy and more of a hope on a wing and a prayer.
UR lacks coherence and a clear philosophical and sociological underpinning about crime and its causes. It is more a series of band-aids, whereas more fundamental and structural efforts are required.
Even as governments have rightly allocated more resources to the courts, police and related measures, still underfunded are broader-scale social interventions, which have been shown to reduce crime in the medium and longer terms.
The most successful social intervention programs involve intense efforts to redirect, mitigate or change the habits and mindsets of those who may be disposed to criminal conduct because of various circumstances.
Many of those who are inalterably criminally-minded will not be deterred except by good policing and/or incarceration. But there are many others whose lives have been transformed by initiatives not yet seriously tried in The Bahamas.
During the last general election, then Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham spoke often of new ideas his government intended to implement in terms of social intervention.
These included: The Bahamas Youth Corps, the Summer School for Boys, a revamped high school community service-learning program, a program based on the successful Afro Reggae youth initiative in Brazil, the Youth Development Centre, among others.
Collectively, such initiatives are considerably more comprehensive and far-reaching than the current iteration of UR. What these programs have in common is helping to directly address the habits and behavior of those who commit the overwhelming majority of crime: young men.
Social and cultural change, for good or ill, concern habits and patterns of behavior which flow from value-sets. Gang members and members of the Boy Scouts both have sets of values, rites of passage, rituals, group leaders and norms, shared objectives and an esprit de corps.
So what makes for the differences between a potential boy scout and the member of a criminal gang? Clearly, a number of things, a number of which will be explored in successive columns.
For now: We are creatures of habit, and at the heart of our culture of violent crime are various crises of culture, fueling, reinforcing and arming mostly young men in a conveyor belt of successive cohorts ready to take up the drug trade, gang membership and weapons for many years to come.
Cultural habits and practices showcase the lived values of a given society. The mouthing of values is not the same as adhering to them. While we adhere to the concept of monogamy in law and in Christian rituals, sociologically, we are a de facto polygamous society.
While clerics will judge the morality of such a discrepancy between words and practices, the sociologist is more interested in understanding the social realities and habits involved in such a gap, or chasm, depending on the society.
There are positive and negative social mores and norms, the study and analyses of which are critical in areas ranging from public health to marketing products to addressing criminal behavior.
To better understand the sociology as well as the social psychology of crime in the modern Bahamas is to appreciate our social habits and cultural patterns. Also, there are certain relatively recent crises of culture helping to fuel violent crime.
These crises include the emergence of the drug and gangland culture of the 1970s and 1980s, and the inception of social promotion in the government-operated school system in the 70s. More on both in subsequent columns.
Human habits are a complex matter, rooted as they are in the collaboration of biology and moral imagination. Twelve-Step programs speak to this collaboration and what it takes to arrest addictions and reform habits. Virtues and vices are essentially habits.
We are creatures of habit.
During the recent CARIFTA Games, a number of complimentary ticketholders were placed in seats for which others had paid. An overabundance of complimentary tickets was given out. Some ushers faced the dilemma of reseating those occupying reserved seats.
Quite a number of those asked to move, refused to do so. They were belligerent and unyielding. Even when asked to move by a police officer, they refused. Imagine the attitude if such individuals were occupying a seat for which they had paid good money.
In our behavior in public spaces and public gatherings, we often exhibit a culture of entitlement and slackness sometimes accompanied by rudeness and disrespect for authority.
One cannot imagine what happened at the new national stadium that day occurring in a country such as Japan or even in The Bahamas when the Q.E. II Sports Centre first opened.
Consider the foul mouths and vulgar cursing by many school kids in public with easy references to the genitalia of another's mother, and language many adults would never utter. Whereof were such habits formed?
Consider also the shameless ease with which some Bahamians invade the private spaces of others, take advantage of courtesies not meant for them or intrude at private events to which they have not been invited.
For decades many straw vendors refused to pay certain fees, contributing to the Straw Market becoming run down and derelict, while gleefully selling counterfeit goods, even while clinging to a Bible. Why such poor public habits?
And yet, why do we have the habit of one of the highest voter turnouts during a general election? More so, Bahamians are generally not cigarette smokers. Why do most Bahamians seem to observe the signs for handicapped parking? Why are we eager to help others by faithfully buying cook-out and raffle tickets?
Before seatbelt laws were passed at home, Bahamians generally buckled up when overseas. Once the laws were finally enforced, there was an extraordinary increase of the number of motorists buckling up; many of the very same people reticent to wear seatbelts prior to enforcement. Why the quick change of habit?
In addressing social decay and a certain culture of criminality, it is necessary that we better understand the culture of slackness and entitlement that has been encouraged by many leaders over the past several decades.
It is a form of cultural decay that has reinforced incivility, a breakdown of the most basic values of social life and mutual respect, and a slew of bad habits contributing to criminal enterprise itself or an acceptance of such conduct.
Even as we seek to reverse or mitigate the poor habits and patterns of behavior among those who may commit violent crime, we look to ourselves, our cultural patterns and our habits as both explanation and as a means of addressing our social decline.
o firstname.lastname@example.org, www.bahamapundit.com.
By DANA SMITH
THREE men are in police custody less than 24 hours after police held a news conference urging the public to assist in their capture.
On Wednesday during a press briefing at the National Crime Prevention Office at Police Headquarters, police had re-issued Wanted Bulletins for six men in connection with five separate murder investigations.
Elandro Emmerson Missick, Desmond Wilson, and Deangelo Wilson, were all named in Wednesday's briefing as wanted by police. As of yesterday afternoon police confirmed that all three were in custody in connection with two separate murders.
Police identified the three as "Most Wanted Murder Suspects."
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham last night called for a new era of national volunteerism and announced that the government will make $1 million available immediately to initiate social programs in urban areas in New Providence and Grand Bahama.
"There is no denying the role played by young males in the crime scourge of our nation," said Ingraham, during a national address on crime.
"These males are predominantly from the urban areas of the country, most particularly Nassau and to a lesser degree, Freeport. We cannot bury our heads in the sand about this reality."
Ingraham advised that the programs will be developed and executed in conjunction with social partners such as the church, civic groups and sporting groups.
He said the funds for these new programs are in addition to the resources that are already budgeted for various urban renewal and youth development programs.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Development will spearhead this effort together with the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, the prime minister said.
He said the expectation is that the programs will be up and running by as early as December.
Ingraham stressed that even with its best efforts, the government alone will not be able to fully address the crime scourge.
"We need as many of you who care about our nation to enlist in this fight," Ingraham said.
He announced that the government will launch a National Volunteers Register on November 1.
"The register will enable you to sign up to be available to volunteer your time for mentoring our young men and women; assisting in community centers with afterschool programs; outreaches to urban neighborhoods to encourage parental and child involvement in school activities; to work with existing youth organizations in their programs, and a host of social activities that can positively impact upon our society," Ingraham said.
Volunteers will be able to register online or at various designated government offices.
"Our aim is to enlist hundreds if not thousands of volunteers," the prime minister said.
"This effort will also be spearheaded by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture together with the Ministry of Labour and Social Development."
Ingraham said one of the social dimensions to fighting crime is social intervention which can play an essential role in deterring crime, stopping first offenders from re-offending and rehabilitating some criminals.
"Accordingly, my government will continue to work with and strengthen partnerships with civil society generally. We will collaborate with churches, civic groups and the business community to fund and manage targeted social intervention programs to confront anti-social and criminal behavior among various groups," he said.
"In our shared fight against crime, there is an urgent need for more community service and mentoring and greater corporate citizenship and philanthropic efforts inclusive of helping to fund and sustain various youth and young adult programs as well as crime prevention and offender rehabilitation programs."
The government is targeting four principal areas: Community service programs in all public schools with an enhanced service-learning, ethics and character development component; community and youth development programs geared towards providing young people with positive and alternative life experiences and skills while discouraging anti-social behavior; and effective and creative alternative sentencing for juvenile offenders.
"Towards this end, the minister of education has been charged with implementing a new and more comprehensive community service-learning program for all government schools," Ingraham said.
"This is with a view to helping more young people develop a sense of belonging in our community and deeper sense of responsibility for its well-being while better respecting themselves and others."
NATIONAL ADDRESS ON CRIME AT A GLANCE
In his national address on crime last night, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said, "The crisis of culture and community manifested in an unprecedented level of criminality requires us to deal with essentials invisible to the eye like values, attitudes, social trust and mutual respect."
Ingraham also made a number of announcements regarding the government's new approach to addressing the high level of violent crime in the country.
o Customs to increase random searches at ports
o Stronger gun penalties
o Stronger drug penalties
o Two new gun courts
o 30-day period to turn in illegal firearms
o Expansion of CCTV program
o Police to get two mobile command centers
o Specialist consultants to train police
o Three years set as reasonable time to hold suspect
o Magistrates must put in writing reasons for granting bail
o Legislation for non-disclosure of witness identities in some cases
o Death penalty to be retained as punishment for certain murders
o Life to be defined as the remainder of a convict's natural life
o Additional judges
o $1 million for social intervention programs
o National Volunteers Register to be launched Nov. 1, 2011
o Establishment of Outward Bound Program for at-risk youth and first offenders
THE man credited with breaking the back of New York City’s criminal underworld has been invited to advise Bahamian police as the government steps up its zero tolerance campaign against all forms of criminality.
William Bratton, now chairman of New York-based risk consultancy Kroll, served as police commissioner under Mayor Rudolph Giuliani from 1994-96.
Employing the “broken windows” theory that tackling petty crime can prevent its escalation to more serious criminal behaviour, he was known for being tough on gangs and getting law-abiding citizens involved in crime prevention.
Under his jurisdiction in New York, officers clamped down on people for graffiti, ju ...