Attorney General Adriel Braithwaite today warned that his Government may be forced to make further Budget cuts in areas such as health and education, while assuring that the island’s national security would not be compromised.
Addressing the launch of the Citizen Security Facilities Project, under which $67 million has been set aside for the building of new police stations and the upgrade of others, Brathwaite argued that the world had become a more dangerous place in recent years.
“The threat to our way of life today is greater now than it has ever been in our history. We are under threat of organized, trafficking of illegal drugs and guns, gangs, cyber security, financial crimes, human trafficking, smuggling and natural disasters,” he said.
“Based on the threats that Barbados faces, money would have to be diverted from our traditional areas, such as health and education, to fight crime and maintain security in Barbados,” he added.
The Attorney General further cautioned, “Barbados will never be the Barbados of 1975, of 1985, of 1995 or 2005 anymore. This is the reality we are faced with internally and externally, threats unprecedented in our history. Given what is happening regionally and globally we cannot assume that it cannot happen here in Barbados. Our economy is too fragile for us to take any chances.
“Under these circumstances, I make no apology if I signal we have to allocate more resources to fight crime and enhance security in our country,” he added.
Earlier, the Attorney General, who has responsibility for the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF), described police officers as “special people”, pointing out that they were willing to put their lives on the line 24 hours a day and seven days a week for persons they did not know.
Brathwaite also denied claims of a recent cut in the RBPF budget, explaining that while Government could not provide some “big ticket items” due to harsh economic times, the general day-to-day items were never touched.
“We said we could not compromise our security. As a Government we recognize the importance of the RBPF to the security of the island,” he said.
The Attorney General also contended that over the past few years crime on the island had not really risen, but acknowledged that the current level of gun violence was a cause for concern among law enforcement officers.