Describing the ongoing gun violence across Barbados as a growing phenomenon, Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of Crime Eucklyn Thompson has said that his constabulary has a secret plan in place designed to arrest this worrying problem.
But ACP Thompson is cautioning Barbadians that the strategy was unlikely to succeed if members of the public did not feed the police with information about what they see and know on crime.
“As Barbadians we have a duty to supply information on criminal activity and therefore, it might be an old cliché, but it is true, we really police this country with the consent of the public. Indeed, to a very large extent, we depend on the public to support us in our work, in our projects as it relates to things that would create some alarm . . . that would create uneasiness and so on,” he told Barbados TODAY this afternoon.
“Yes, the gun violence is cause for concern. But I think the public needs to come forward and give us greater support in helping to wrestle this problem down to the ground,” added the crime chief.
The senior law enforcer said everything must be done by the police and society to ensure the country did not reach a stage where residents felt uncomfortable in their own homes and where prospective visitors were forced to bypass Barbados.
“We can’t disclose our hands to everything as you would know, but we have not gone to sleep. We have been doing our due diligence and we hope through this process we would be able to make some headway, along with those right-thinking Barbadians and with our sister agencies to help to bring this problem to the ground. We don’t want to have a situation where we don’t feel comfortable coming out of our homes,” ACP Thompson stressed.
He said while gun amnesties have not worked in the past and the police force was not currently considering it as an option, the hierarchy was at the same time not ruling out any measure that would assist in their crime-fighting.
As far as the influx of guns into the country through its ports of entry, ACP Thompson said the border security agencies were well aware of the position of the police on this matter.
“I think everybody knows . . . all of our partners know where we stand in relation to the situation of this nature. We are here to work in partnership with our people to ensure that all things pertaining to law enforcement come under control and are dealt with professionally. So once all of the agencies would understand how it impinges on our safety and security, and the safety and security of our people, then I expect people to understand we need to play our part,” he added.
The crime chief insisted that all security agencies on the island needed to share intelligence and information with each other in the fight against crime.
As far as securing the island’s borders were concerned, ACP Thompson told Barbados TODAY it was a matter which police and the Government were examining.
“There is always room for improvement and as we strategize, we will look at things of that nature and see what more can be done to ensure our safety,”
Barbados has been plagued by a spate of shootings during the year, some of which have been fatal. There have also been several seizures of firearms and ammunition over the past nine months.
But in recent weeks there appears to have been a sudden upsurge, where, for example, police were called in to investigate two separate shootings in St Lucy – one fatal – on the same day.
Three men were charged in connection with these offences and are currently on remand at Her Majesty’s Prison, Dodds, St Philip.
Late last month, the residents of New Orleans, The City, were plunged into fear as a result of a shooting rampage in their community. A teenager has since been charged.
In July, one man was shot dead and another injured during a carpark shooting in The City and that same month, another life was snuffed out by the gun and two others wounded at Hope Road, St Lucy.