As Barbadians prepares for the busy Christmas period, and with five robberies in less than a week at various businesses, President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) Ezra Prescod is calling on business owners and customers to be more vigilant.
In addition, the BCCI will be meeting next week with members of the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) in an attempt to request increased police presence in some shopping areas and come up with strategies to combat crime during the season.
“The Chamber and its Bridgetown members are having a consultative meeting with the Royal Barbados Police Force next week, the aim of which is for us to get more uniformed officers on the commercial streets,” Prescod told Barbados TODAY in an interview this afternoon.
“With respect to the approaching holiday season, it is customary practice that the business sector normally remits this request to the Royal Barbados Police Force anyway; to reinforce the presence in Bridgetown and certainly in the other shopping locations so that [business operators] and customers do feel comfortable. This has been the practice over the last couple of years. There is no reason for it not to continue,” explained Prescod.
Over the past week there has been an alarming number of violent robberies across the country.
Last Thursday 50-year-old bread vendor Hayden Mayers was gunned down as he was selling his pastries from his van in Mansion Road, Bank Hall.
On Friday morning there was a break-in at Cave Shepherd, Sunset Crest, which was followed by a robbery of two employees of their personal effects and a sum of money at RB’s Rotisserie in Clapham Court Mall.
A few hours later police were called out to another robbery at Kim’s Bar in Flat Rock, St George, where gunmen had made off with mobile phones, jewelry and money from five people.
Yesterday afternoon the Zephirin’s Bakery along Tudor Bridge, St Michael was robbed by at least one gunman, who made off with bottles of alcoholic beverages.
Commenting on the recent spate of robberies the BCCI president told Barbados TODAY the chamber would continue to support the RBPF in their efforts to combat criminal activities. Pointing out that this could be done through the installation of closed circuit television units (CCTV).
“I think the Royal Barbados Police Force is doing its best to bring this thing under control,” he added.
Pointing out that some level of “lawless behaviour” was likely in any society, Prescod said the situation in Barbados called for residents to once again become their brother’s keepers.
“There is a certain fiduciary responsibility that exists in Barbadian society from years gone by where everyone was their brother’s keeper. We need to get back to that and certainly understand what is happening around us and be more vigilant and proactive in terms of guarding our own properties so as to reduce incidents of these things happening, whether it is in Bridgetown or outside of Bridgetown,” said Prescod.
“The closed circuit television and burglar alarms and so forth, those things need to be invested in. We cannot be too comfortable,” he added.
At the same time, Acting Police Public Relations Officer Michael Blackman today issued a reminder to employers and employees to be more observant of their surrounding and implement appropriate security enhancing measures.
In a brief note this afternoon, the Acting Station Sergeant encouraged shoppers and business operators to “be alert at all times”.
“You should look out for suspicious persons or vehicles around your businesses especially at the opening and closing times [such as] persons wearing inappropriate clothing for the weather such as heavy coats, hoodies, dark shades, scarfs around their faces and neck,” he advised.
“You should [also] consider installing video cameras or alarm systems, and where you already have such equipment installed, try testing them at this time to ensure they are in good working order,” said Blackman.