Prime Minister Mia Mottley tonight made the grim admission that the current level of gun-related crime is “bad”.
But she gave the assurance that Government is doing everything in its power to arrest escalating gun crime which she acknowledged is of greatest concern to Barbadians.
Mottley said in Parliament: “It is a scourge we will not ignore or we will not tolerate and we have already begun taking steps to counter it,” Prime Minister Mia Mottley said this evening in Parliament during the Budgetary Proposals 2019.
“We will do all in our power because many of the people who are getting themselves in trouble are between the ages of 15 and 25.
“We know this problem is as deep as it is broad and there is no single or no magical solution. We have to both boost law enforcement and deal with our society at one and the same time.”
Government has set a goal of trying to “save” over 600 families over the next five years, the Prime Minister said.
She declared: “Parish by parish by parish, we must set ourselves the mission over the next five years of saving at least 30 families per parish with the exception of the more populous ones like St Michael, St Philip, St James and Christ Church, where we must save at least 100 families.
“Because if we can do that in the next five years I tell you this will be a better country for us to live in.”
She said Government had turned its attention to helping young people, particularly those who left school before completing their studies or had been expelled.
The Prime Minister announced that she has asked the Minister of Education to prepare a list of all the students who have been sent out of school at 15 and just turning 16, when compulsory schooling ends.
Mottley said: “We cannot leave them out there to flounder. These are our children, these are our sons, these are our daughters and we have to find ways of correcting them if they are going down the wrong path. We have to give them the hope that tomorrow can be a better day.”
Mottley revealed that she had also asked the social service agencies to be given a list of those youngsters who may need help.
The Prime Minister contended that those young people who limed on the block still understood there was a need for order.
Mottley declared: “If they understand order among themselves, you mean we can’t make them understand order in the country too?
“Barbados must be a safe place for all
Mottley said police would also be given the best resources to help in the fight against crime, including the use of aerial surveillance tools.