As part of stepped up efforts to combat crime, the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) is preparing to spend a quarter of a million dollars on the installation of new closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV) at Carlisle Bay, The City and along sections of this island’s west coast.
The revelation has come from Chairman of the Tourism Development Corporation’s (TDC) Projects Committee Mark Thompson, who spoke to Barbados TODAY on the sidelines of this week’s TDC annual general meeting.
“We have just approved funding to the police force for CCTV cameras in the Carlisle Bay area and also on the west coast, around the Holetown area. That is really an extension of what has been done along the south coast and in Bridgetown,” Thompson explained.
“The police have noted that they have seen a reduction in crime in locations with these cameras and hence they would want to up the ante and now spread it across the west coast and the Carlisle Bay area,” he added.
So far this year there have been 27 murders here, 21 of them gun related, with Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite promising during last month’s third quarterly general meeting of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) at the Hilton Barbados Resort that the Freundel Stuart administration would be introducing a series of measures to keep the criminals in check and help Barbadians feel safe again.
Among these, the installation of cameras at all ports of entry, through which Acting Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith has said multiple times the illegal guns enter the country.
Before a gathering that included Griffith, Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy and hotel executives, Brathwaite also said Government was “moving aggressively” to scan all containers entering the Bridgetown Port.
In an attempt to further wrestle the crime situation, the Attorney General, who is also the minister of Home Affairs, said Government intended to allow police officers additional powers to carry out searches. He has also promised that anti-gang and other domestic pieces of legislation will be brought before Parliament in the coming weeks in the feverish quest by the authorities to get a handle on crime.
In this context, Thompson said the BHTA was supporting the CCTV venture, which will see to the installation of “30 or so” cameras within the area designated as the island’s main tourism belt.
When contacted, Acting Assistant Commissioner for Territorial Policing William Yearwood confirmed that CCTV funding had been approved, but could not put a timeframe on the installations.
Yearwood, who was generally hesitant to speak about the Force’s plans, suggested that it would not be wise to give potential criminals too much information.
However, he acknowledged that the electronic eyes had already greatly assisted the Force with their criminal investigations, adding that he would welcome the introduction of CCTV cameras in residential communities where police were currently experiencing challenges.
In total, the TDC has financed over 20 projects this year to the tune of over a million dollars. Thompson said outside of the CCTV initiative, funding for other projects totalled $900,000.
“It was slanted in the direction of [tourism] marketing . . . 62 per cent, versus 38 per cent for product,” he explained, while suggesting that this was likely to change next year.
This year the TDC assisted with the staging of the World Flower Arranging show held in Barbados in June, the inaugural Barbados Dive Festival 2017, Run Barbados and the Barbados Open Water Swim.
“On the product side we gave some money to the [Barbados] National Trust to upgrade Morgan Lewis mill. We also worked on the windows to the sea over on the Enterprise area. We are currently working on the lamps in Bridgetown and we continue to work on putting up and beautifying the highways with the palms,” he added.
The TDC spokesman also said the agency was responsible for the return of the Barbados Hockey Festival through its funding of a new AstroTurf at the Wildey, St Michael. It also financed the recent upgrade of the National Conservation Commission’s beach facilities over the course of the past year.