Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has declared that Barbados’ judicial system must move in a direction where jail time and fines are reserved for those who commit criminal acts.
She said such an approach was needed to replace the current practice of fining and confining for every regulatory breach.
“There must be other ways for us to ensure that people can pay their penalties without necessarily depriving them and, by extension, their families of a source of living in order to be able to sustain them as they go forward.
“There are too many projects needed to be done in a modern Barbados that the activities and hours from those who have defiled the country and those who have breached the social capital of the country in ways that are clearly patent, we can find for you to give back and to help us sustain and build the social capital of this nation,” Prime Minister Mottley said as she delivered the feature address at the opening and renaming ceremony of the Old Supreme Court Complex, Coleridge Street, The City, St Michael, in honour of former Attorney General and Parliamentarian Sir Henry Forde and former Chief Justice Sir David Simmon, on Friday evening.
She declared that those prepared to destroy the social capital of the country should also be required to repair it.
“Sir David as a former Attorney General would have done a significant amount of work in ensuring that we started the journey of penal reform by introducing things such as community service and different penalties that, hitherto, would not have been available to magistrates and judges in this country. But we must now go further…,” Mottley said.
Adding that Barbados has too much to defend and build, the Prime Minister also said the notion of individuals being on bail for multiple murders is unacceptable, which led Government to put the necessary resources in place to ensure the expeditious conduct of criminal trials.
Similarly, Mottley said her administration has also boosted the resources of the Barbados Police Service and will continue to do so.
She said there is a case for institutional strengthening and training within the Police Service.
“And we have settled on the framework to ensure that those who are at the ranks from Sergeant to Senior Superintendent and who may not benefit, like some of their senior colleagues, from overseas training should now be the beneficiary of residential training in Barbados across the board, to ensure that the institutional strengthening that is so necessary for the Barbados Police Service is given as a matter of urgency,” Mottley said.
The Prime Minister acknowledged that the BPS is in need of additional manpower, as it is currently operating with 200 fewer officers than needed to function at optimum capacity.
She encouraged Barbadians to consider policing, which she said has numerous opportunities for personal and professional development, as a career.
“And I hope and pray that many Barbadians will see this as a viable career as we go forward,” Mottley said.