Government is being advised by a prominent community practitioner to search for the “underground markets” that are supplying the youth with illegal firearms.
In light of Barbados recording nine murders thus far for 2019, four of which were gun-related, and over a dozen shootings, former Member of Parliament Hamilton Lashley is contending that poor people do not have the significant sums of money needed to bring guns into the country.
“It is no secret that poor people can’t buy a gun that costs $10,000 or costs thousands of dollars. What they should be doing is tracking down the source that provides the guns and put them in the hands of the young people across this country.
“Them 16, 17-year-olds can’t really go and buy no guns just like that. We got to deal with the suppliers of the guns in Barbados. We also have to look at the creative ingenuity of some of our people, because some of them too can assemble a gun right here in Barbados,” he said.
Lashley argued that while there have been calls from Barbadians across all walks of life for greater efforts to be made to get the guns off the streets, he believed that until “we decide that we are going to go to the source and deal with the source” the guns would remain on the streets.
“There are too many guns in Barbados. You feel all of them young people does just go and take them up. Somebody does be supplying them. We have to look at that underground market that selling guns to this country. We talking all the time but we don’t want to go to the sources,” he said.
The former Minister of Social Transformation who said that while he expected the current spate of crime to come to a temporary halt, as has happened in the past, he held the view that there needed to be a multi-sectoral approach to tackling the present crime situation.
In fact, Lashley said there was a need for an urgent national consultation to discuss the implementation of serious action-oriented programmes within communities to act as catalysts for change, stressing that there were too many idle young people getting involved in negative activities, including turning to a life of crime.
He also indicated that the Royal Barbados Police Force’s efforts to fight crime must be sustained with assistance from community practitioners and the real leaders within communities whom the young people look up to.
“At the moment, it seems like there is a beginning of a calm to the situation because of the work of the Royal Barbados Police Force. But it is going to take more than that, because this might be a temporary resolution at the moment, so it seems.
“But in order for us to sustain an effort like this in Barbados, all hands must be on deck. But more specifically, I am of the opinion that there needs to be good proactive approaches within the communities across Barbados, with special emphasis on the housing areas,” he said.
Lashley also said that there should be more focus on the community policing aspect of the police force. He suggested that the church had left much to be desired in terms of helping with the situation.
“It cannot be the church looking to save souls without going into the communities and developing programmes for the youth. It is not just about bringing souls into the church because Jesus didn’t behave that way,” he said.