Attorney General Dale Marshall has vented his frustrations on the issue of bail being granted to persons accused of murder who secure release and then commit other heinous crimes.
“We have a problem with bail,” he declared to the House of Assembly this evening as the Chamber continued debate on the Appropriations Bill 2019.
“The fact is the individual who was arrested yesterday is already on bail for a murder charge and there are several other individuals in this country who are out on bail for murder charges and go on to be charged for other homicides. There are individuals who are on bail for firearms who are given bail and come out and engage in the same kind of activity,” he said.
But he pledged that “115 bad boys” in a 300,000 population will not be allowed to terrorize the country.
“Is it right that a few hoodlums can walk around with guns so that they could terrorize a population of 300,000? The mathematics of it cannot work. It can’t work! As long as I have breath, strength and the support of my colleagues it cannot happen,” he stressed.
Noting that the brazen nature of yesterday’s violent death of 33-year-old Damien Trotman in a crowded food court at Sheraton Centre has captured the attention of Barbadians, he said. “A lot of Barbadians were not taking gun violence seriously until yesterday.”
Marshall told the members of the Lower House, Government cannot deal with the issues plaguing the society alone but rather needed the assistance of the public and especially those who are enabling young criminals including family members who “know what they are doing” but who lack the courage to come forward.
“ . . . because it happened in Sheraton where people are shopping and dining and so on, people are waking up. No! they should have woken up years ago when this problem started. That is another inconvenient truth.
The Attorney General offered his sympathies to those left behind after gun violence but charged they are people in the community who are enabling young people to commit crime for financial gain.
“I am very sympathetic and believe that the life of one person taken by crime is a life too many. I don’t make any judgment that the man who was shot and killed yesterday was somebody who is well known to the law. Everybody has an opportunity to redeem themself. Should that young man had lived he could have gone on to turn his life around and to be a good father and a good husband and to be a credit to our society.
“There are people in our community who want to shelter these ‘bad boys’ sometimes because it represents a source of revenue; sometimes because it represents a false sense of security. But still, they are wailing and crying when these individuals suffer demise through criminal activity. If
you want to save the life of your loved one, get them out of that lifestyle,” he pleaded to the applause of his fellow parliamentarians.
He said some of the gun crimes in Barbados were reported by the Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith to be a form of reprisals.
“What does that tell us about the Barbados we have today? We have to remove the rose-coloured glasses as the Commissioner said yesterday. Because one person gets shot his comrades want to go after the persons who shot him, and it goes on and on. These people do not give a damn about the effect that it is having on our economy,” he said.
The Attorney General sounded a stern warning to the criminals in light of improvements to the judicial system which will shorten the time to adjudication of criminal matters.
“There are people in our system who believe that they can do as they please and that they can walk up and down in our country and shoot and rob and steal and make mock sport at the lives of Barbadians because they feel the day of reckoning is far off and it would never come.
“Let me give them this promise that the days when court cases in the criminal jurisdiction would take years before they come off will shortly be at an end. We are putting the judges in place to ensure that files will move swiftly. We are giving the Director of Public Prosecutors the additional staff that she needs and additional lawyers as well and we are ensuring that our judicial system is up to the task of dealing with our criminal element,” he said.