Prime Minister Mia Mottley is urging Barbadians to give the Government and police time to deal with the worrisome crime situation on the island which she says needs societal support.
“This is a battle that is going to require the entire cooperation and effort of the majority of Barbadians, and not in a week, or a month or even a year. It is going to have to be sustained, because whether we like it or not guns don’t walk and talk on their own, do they?”
Mottley said even though several initiatives had already been implemented and others were in the works, they would not produce results overnight.
Last month the Prime Minister revealed that additional courts and judges would be added to help reduce the backlog of criminal cases.
Additionally, she said amendments to the Firearms Act, hiring much-needed police and community officers and the appointment of Corey Lane as Minister of State in the Attorney General’s Office with responsibility for Crime Prevention, were all aimed at arresting the crime situation.
However, speaking during a press conference at the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) on Tuesday evening shortly after returning from overseas travel, the Prime Minister said the measures would not provide a quick fix.
“I put arrangements in place, with respect to changes both at the ministerial level and initiatives that we discussed with the police service and I will take a briefing from them as to what they started to implement. But, they will take time to implement the measures that have only been announced two and a half weeks ago and therefore we need the country also to recognize that this is not the battle of any one group; not the police or the Government or civil society alone.
“…At the end of the day the first thing we need to do is to be able to reduce the flow of guns, get what guns we have here and to start to deal with the mindset of those who believe it is ok to kill somebody,” Mottley said.
The Prime Minister stressed that while steps had been taken to address the problem, Government would not instruct police on how to do their job.
She said Commissioner of Police Richard Boyce was in full control of the Barbados Police Service’s operations.
Mottley disclosed that Boyce had cut his leave short to return to the office from yesterday.
“I become expansive on matters to deal with alternatives on the ground socially because I can do so expansively. On operational matters that is a matter for the Commissioner of Police,” Mottley said.
“…It will be a dangerous thing in this country when a Prime Minister or a minister in charge of the police can direct police on operational matters. On operational matters we leave it to them. Having said that, all of us will expect the police to be fully, fully engaged and doing their job.”