The top brass of the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) is taking a second look at the island’s ports of entry to prevent them from being used as gateways for illegal guns to enter the country.
Acknowledging that Barbados does not manufacture firearms, Deputy Commissioner of Police Erwin Boyce said the Force will be intensifying its collaboration with its border security partners to try to rid the streets of these weapons.
“We work with our partners…stakeholders in border security to ensure that the borders have the kind of resilience to prevent contraband activities, and we are actually engaging in that kind of activity as we speak,” Boyce told Barbados TODAY.
“But obviously, we also have to deal with what is in the island at this time. So, that is why we create these policing strategies to rid the island of illicit or illegal firearms and at the same time we strengthen our border security mechanism to ensure that the borders are protected,” he added.
Boyce said that so far this year, police officers have removed 21 illegal guns from the streets of Barbados compared to more than 40 for the same period in 2020.
Asked to respond to claims by some people that the law enforcement officers seemed only to be arresting the “small fish” and not the “big ones”, the Deputy Commissioner of Police said that “investigation is a process”.
“We are driven in more recent times by development of intelligence-led operations….and it is not about catching big fish or small fish; it is about creating the kind of platform that would allow us to be effective in meeting the policing mandate,” Boyce stated.
“That is, if you offend the law, we put you before the court…but if you are a ‘small fry’ and you offend the law, you have the opportunity to go before the court. If you are a ‘big fry’, and again if you offend the law, we put you before the court,” the senior cop declared.
“But what is paramount in this discussion is that we ensure there is a level of fairness and a level of intelligence in whatever we do.”
In April 2019, Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith today blamed what he said was corruption at the island’s ports of entry for the lack of success in stemming the weapons flow.
And he called on the good border security officials to give up the bad ones to the police.
“If you have a few people among you who are corrupt, then you have to be prepared to give them up. I say that to my officers. We are not going to sleep in bed with officers who we know are corrupt. We will do everything in our power to get rid of them,” he warned.
The top cop has previously said the weapons on the streets were entering the country through the Bridgetown Port and Grantley Adams International Airport and blamed a lack of cooperation by certain border security officials for the failure of the RBPF to make the necessary arrests.