While a local security company has not had any response from Government on a proposal to introduce DNA tagging and anklets for offenders to Barbados, it is reaping success elsewhere in the region and beyond.
Ryan Clarke of Comprehensive Security Solutions told Barbados TODAY that the ankle tracking bracelets are now in use in Puerto Rico, Argentina and Panama, with discussions ongoing in three Caribbean countries for the same.
“The company, Phoenix Global Technologies, they made us the regional executives for [the ankle bracelets] and after several attempts here and we really weren’t getting any kind of positive response, we just started to communicate across the line and we got a couple of hits. So we sent forward the information to them and they responded.
“The three countries are going good and we expanded the services, not the ankle bracelets alone, but we’ve incorporated domestic violence. There is another device that the victim will have. Once the aggressor comes in close proximity to the victim, it automatically sends an alert, so that it gives the law enforcement time to be proactive, because it could be a situation where they happen to be in the same place or the aggressor could be following the victim to cause more harm,” he explained.
“We found out too, from talking with these other countries and I guess it’s international too, why these persons don’t want to become witnesses. So this cuts out that aspect because the witness feels more protected because they are being monitored too and help is not too far away,” Clarke stated.
Without identifying which country, the director said at least one had ordered 1,000 of the ankle trackers, noting that the system was designed in such a way that they could monitor online from right here in Barbados.
Additionally, he said: “There are also four other countries that we are going to soon do launches in — Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador and Slovakia — and all of these, or rather some of these countries that we have started in already, we have made the projections that depending on the volume of people that we remove from the judicial system, some countries will save up to $10 million and $20 million a year.
“It is expensive to keep people incarcerated. It is not that you just let out anyone, but it is expensive to keep people in. Some countries project that they could save in the first year up to $10 million. If that was Barbados it would be like $30 [million].”
It was good knowing that they were reaping success, Clarke noted, even if it was outside of Barbados. There was also one Caribbean country, he said, with which they were making some headway with negotiations, although they were talking with three currently.
Beyond the ankle units, he added that they were also looking to use the DNA tracking on items in one jurisdiction.
The DNA element, he said, was something they were also working on with Digicel, to introduce in coming months.
“We are supposed to be partnering with Digicel to provide the DNA marking services throughout the whole Caribbean. So Digicel in the next couple of months you may see us do a launch with them and then they will be selling the DNA from their retail stores. It will start with Barbados,” said Clarke, adding that one of the meetings he had set up with another Caribbean country was to discuss this option. (LB)