Attorney-at-law David Comissiong today charged that Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite has done little or nothing over the past eight years that the ruling Democratic Labour Party has been in office to address the root causes of crime.
Comissiong therefore suggested that Brathwaite, who took over as Government’s chief legal advisor in October 2010, “should be called upon to resign from office”.
He was reacting to the latest comments made by the Attorney General amid worrying gun violence in the country.
Addressing a St James South constituency branch meeting of his ruling Democratic Labour Party [DLP] Sunday evening in Wanstead, St James, Brathwaite was adamant that politicians were not to blame for the rising crime.
Instead, the Attorney General pointed to a failure of the educational system and family values, which he said were “creating the problems that we are having now”.
The Cabinet Minister responsible for law and order further suggested that rather than blame him for not doing enough to tackle crime, people should better spend their time asking themselves what they can do to help.
“It is unfortunate that we spend so much time asking the Attorney General, why he doesn’t hang people? . . . . Why he doesn’t increase the penalties, as opposed to what can we do as a society, what are we doing wrong down there at the basic level that allows us to produce the type of individuals that we are producing today?”
However, Comissiong, who is a social activist and president of the People’s Empowerment Party (PPP), questioned whether the Attorney General had only now become aware of the root causes of the crime.
Brathwaite also suggested that the answer to the scourge was not to be found in either hanging or increasing jail time for perpetrators, but in finding a way of saving more of the youths from deviant behaviour.
Brathwaite, who is the Government’s principal legal advisor, also told his audience at the DLP meeting that he would not be commenting on the level of crime in Barbados, because he was tired of that message. He noted that students, who perform poorly throughout school, usually end up in criminal behaviour, adding that many of the inmates at HMP Dodds had passed through secondary school and could hardly read or write.
Brathwaite also expressed concern that teachers at the junior school would have been aware of the learning problems being experienced by these young people, but had chosen to focus on the high achievers.
“. . . there is an attitude today that the way to help the child is to ignore him and deal with the others; but all you are doing is ignoring a problem that is festering,” he warned.
“So what we really need at this juncture, is an acceleration of our educational reform so that we can save more of these young people . . . put them into programmes where you can identify what they are best at,” the Attorney General suggested.