Leader of the United Progressive Party (UPP) Lynette Eastmond is charging that Government needs to do more to find the causes of gun violence in Barbados.
“We have to try and look and see what the underlying causes are for the rise in crime in Barbados. I think that is what we have to do. We have to look at the causes and as a nation we have to decide how we wish to live. There are some Barbadians who would have said for decades that ‘Barbados would become a place where people would run around shooting people’ and therefore it has come to pass,” Eastmond told Barbados TODAY.
Her comments come on the heels of the shooting death of 42-year-old Daryl Harris who was shot and killed yesterday morning at his Barbarees Hill, St Michael residence bringing gun-associated deaths by guns to three so far for the year.
The UPP leader said that Barbados has to decide what kind of nation it wants to be.
“Are we going to be a peaceful non-violent country, or are we always going to be winking at things that are making it more unsafe for people to just walk around. There is the possibility of walking into Bridgetown and getting shot. It was not like that before, we do not have to live like that,” she said, adding that gun violence in Barbados is a societal problem which cannot be solved solely by an increase in legislation.
“We probably have more murders than some developed countries. So, I think we have to look at what the underlying cause is and the underlying cause is not going to be found by implementing more legislation. We are just looking at the symptoms of what is a real severe underlying problem in the country.
“I think we need to do the difficult things. We have become a people who want to do the easy things. It is easy to lock up people, it is easy to hang them I guess. It is easy if you have possession of a gun you lock away that person for 25 years. But where do they get that gun from because we do not manufacture them here,” Eastmond said.
The practicing attorney and former government minister said Barbadians needed to put an end to the persons who were enabling others to commit gun crimes and the government needed to go after those ‘further up the food chain’.
In fact, Eastmond echoed the comments of Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith who last year charged that there was intelligence that indicated that guns were entering the island through ports of call.
The UPP leader said there should be a shift of port workers at the ports of entry every six months to discourage corrupt practices.
“When you have people working in sensitive areas as a matter of policy you should shift them around. If you implement it as a policy no one would feel as though you are attacking them. They find a way of circulating people so that they do not become entrenched and persons begin to know them,” she said.
Eastmond also charged said that persons working in all areas including lawyers, doctors and the police had become “slack” and desperately needed to improve.
“We are not following the highest standards anymore. In Barbados from top to bottom, from east to west, everybody needs to improve the delivery of service. We have become slack, everybody,” she charged.