A “more brazen” criminal element that feels “more powerful than the police” has infiltrated the Barbadian society and is tearing it apart, according to former Attorney General and Opposition legislator Dale Marshall.
Speaking at a Barbados Labour Party (BLP) meeting at the party’s headquarters on Roebuck Street Sunday night, Marshall accused the governing Democratic Labour Party (DLP) of demoralizing the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) by tearing down the structures that were put in place by the previous BLP administration. As a result, he said, the ability of the Force to do its job was weakened and criminals had become bolder.
“I am worried that we are living in a country where the criminal element is so fearless when it comes to police, they feel that they could walk into our communities and shoot up people . . . they don’t even wear masks.
“We have a criminal element in Barbados now that is bolder and more brazen than at any other time in our history. When you have the criminal element feeling more powerful that the law enforcement authorities – because in some instances they appear to be better armed than the law enforcement – then our country is falling apart,” the Member of Parliament for St Joseph charged.
Marshall told the BLP St Michael South Central branch meeting the “ill-advised” decisions to remove the top cop and delay promotions were contributing to a rise in crime. And he said the DLP must accept responsibility.
“The Government came in and they decided they’re going to get rid of everything that we do, because everything that we touch was tainted. It was the most ill-advised set of decisions that they made, and among those decisions was the decapitation of the Royal Barbados Police Force.
“I firmly believe that this surge in criminal activity is due in some measure to the fact that the criminal elements recognizes that there is some instability in the Royal Barbados Police Force.”
Reflecting on news of promotions in the police force last week, the former Attorney General said: “I laugh at the farce last week. Fourteen people get promotion, but you have over 200 people in limbo.”
He took issue with the assertions from Acting Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith that illegal firearms were entering the country through the ports of entry, “as if there is nothing that he could do about it”.
Marshall said the DLP administration had dismantled a memorandum of understanding established by the past BLP administration between the police and the Customs department to deal with issues of firearms coming in through the ports.
“And it worked,” he contended.
“How does an administration feel satisfied when all of the structures that were put in place to safeguard our communities, children, they went in and systematically take them apart like they peeling an orange?” he asked.
“The police ought to be able to march down to Customs and do its job in consort with the Customs authorities,” Marshall added.