The Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite made clear yesterday in the Estimates Debates that he has full confidence in the police and the Defence Force in handling Barbados’ crime situation.
Speaking on the issue of the shooting of two visitors in the City recently, Brathwaite told the House of Assembly that as the issue had been raised by Opposition Leader, Mia Mottley, “I can say to her and to members on her side, that on this side via the Minister of Health and the Minister of Tourism that we ensured that these individuals received the best possible care available in Barbados. It is to my knowledge that the perpetrator was arrested yesterday afternoon.
“I say this because for us to have good governance and to continue with our way of life as a community, there are two institutions that we must continue to give the kind of support that we are giving … one being the Royal Barbados Police Force and the other being the Defence Force of Barbados, because they have the responsibility of protecting our democracy as we know it.”
He added: “Indeed we have had some issues … with respect to crime and in particular crime linked to the cash-for-gold trade. Again yesterday you heard form the … Leader of the Opposition that we were slow in amending the legislation to tackle the issue of the cash-for-gold trade and that is far from the truth.
“We did move with alacrity to have the legislation modernised and what you have seen over the last couple of weeks are two or three arrests as a result of the modernisation of the legislation.”
The St. Philip South MP said while there have been issues with robberies of persons which had escalated, there was no need to panic because the legal forces were monitoring the situation.
“We, and I mean the officials at the ministry, myself, the Royal Barbados Police Force, are monitoring this situation and I have already arranged a meeting with the Acting Comptroller of Customs because this is not something we can address by ourselves, we need all actors involved… I have already said to the Commissioner of Police, if necessary we will search all bags leaving this country like we did post-9/11.
“I am actually not as concerned about the legitimate dealers as I am about the individuals who are taking ill-gotten jewellery out of this country and selling it when we go to other parts of the world. I am more concerned about them.”
He said the legitimate gold and scrap metal dealers were working with law enforcement to help eliminate the criminal element associated with the commodities.
“We are aware of the situation. We are monitoring the situation, but we do not believe that it has reached proportions where we need to set off alarm bells like is being suggested by some quarters.” (LB)