Complacency setting in on crime, says Atherley

Bishop Joseph Atherley

The crime situation in Barbados has gotten out of hand and urgent action needs to be taken before it gets any worse.

That is the view of leader of the Alliance Party for Progress (APP), Reverend Joseph Atherley, who has accused Government and law enforcement of being “complacent” in their efforts to stem the flow of illegal firearms entering the country.

His comments have come following today’s shooting death of Romain Mayers.

Mayers, of Greens, St George, was gunned down at Fairview Heights in the same parish in the wee hours of this morning.

He is the fifth person to be murdered in a month. Barbados has recorded 12 murders so far this year.

“The murders were happening once a week but it feels like its once a day now. It is really sad and I will repeat the comments I have made several times in that we need to be able and I’m sure we are in a position to determine how these guns are getting into Barbados and who is bringing them,” Atherley maintained during an interview with Barbados TODAY.

“There is nobody who can tell me that law enforcement in Barbados is not aware of where these guns are coming in and who are the perpetrators in terms of the import of firearms. I can’t believe that our law enforcement agencies would not know that. I would rather believe that their hands are tied…We are being very complacent as a country about this.”

Atherley suggested that most of the killings were tied to drugs and gangs.

“On the ground we have to do something about bringing an end to some of the conflicting situations that are as a result of these gun crimes. Certainly some of them are related to drugs, perhaps the majority of them, drugs and gangs.

“Who are the people responsible for bringing large quantities of drugs into Barbados? Do you think a fella from Richmond or from Station Hill has the capacity to import x amount of kilos of drugs into Barbados? No, no, not at all,” Atherley contended.

“It cannot be beyond us to determine these things so we have to attack the crime from these perspectives.”

He suggested that a holistic approach be taken in trying to improve the crime situation on the island.

The high cost of living and an increase in poverty were determining factors in the crime spike, he noted.

“We have to look at some of the economic issues that induce poverty and we have to get into some remedial action that brings people back from that track of a life of crime,” Atherley said.

“We have to reinforce our efforts at rehabilitation, we have to reinforce our efforts at being proactive about the crime situation and stopping it before some of our young people get into that type of mindset, into that type of culture. We have to deal with social programmes at the level of the school, involving the church and other social entities and at the level of the family. Family poverty in Barbados is a serious thing…so we have to track this at all ends.” (RB)

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