The Grand Bahama Human Rights
Association is extremely concerned about the recent spate of reported
alleged cases of brutality wrecked upon individuals while in police
custody. We have thus far not intervened in this matter due to
the assurance by both heads of the police force in New Providence and
on Grand Bahama that these reports will be thoroughly investigated.
Both Mr. Quin McCartney and
Mr. Ellison Greenslade are honorable and enlightened leaders and we
are confident that they will deal with these matters expeditiously.
They are sworn to uphold the safety and dignity of all citizens of this
country and without regard to the status of anyone; ordinary persons
or enforcers of the law, officers are bound by law and oath to
scrupulously safeguard the rights of all.
Our Association will be closely
monitoring the timely investigations into these allegations of brutality.
If we are not satisfied with the progress and transparency of these
proceedings, we will not hesitate to call upon all agencies nationally,
regionally and internationally concerned with human rights to bear pressure
on our government to act in accord with the statues, protocols and declarations
clearly spelled out in the United Nations charters which govern the
fair, honorable and dignified treatment of all citizens.
Our country has already been
blacklisted with respect to the on-going allegations and proven acts
of brutality against our own citizens. We as a nation must not
stand by idly and allow our good reputation to be further tarnished
by a few dishonorable thugs on the police force.
We agree with the Commissioner
of Police that within the act of attempting to capture suspected criminals,
from time to time police offers may have to use a certain degree of
physical force. However, the reports reaching us recently are
those where individuals are already in police custody and in an attempt
to wrestle confessions out of them, they are subjected to dehumanizing
tactics as reprehensible as those perpetrated on suspected terrorists
in Guantanamo Bay.
To enclose a suspect in a body
bag or attempt to smother him with a plastic bag over his head is indeed
an act of terrorism and should be constituted as attempted murder.
To attempt to deprive a human being of the essential essence of life,
the breathe of the Divine is tantamount to ending that person’s life.
This cannot under any circumstances be permitted in our civilized society.
Such individuals have no right to be on our police force and the least
punishment for them should be incarceration for a good long time.
According to our laws, an individual is considered innocent until proven
guilty. This important tenet of our democratic tradition must
be upheld, for even with this proviso we have unwittingly sent innocent
individuals to the gallows.
We call upon the Minister of
National Security, Commissioner of Police and all his senior assistants
to do everything in their power to restore and maintain the integrity,
dignity and confidence in our police force. The vast majority
of these men and women put their lives on the line to keep our Bahamaland
safe and secure and we must not allow the few renegades to sully that
level of commitment. We know the extreme circumstances under which they
must operate. However, no situation can ever warrant the type
and frequency of police brutality perpetrated on suspects, who are only
suspects, while in police custody, and note that ‘custody’ denotes
Vice-President, Grand Bahama
Human Rights Association
12 August 2010
About the Author:
Mr. Joseph Darville is a native of Long Island, Bahamas and a resident of Freeport, Grand Bahama.
Teacher [English, French] at St. Augustine’s College in Nassau.
Teacher [French] Senior School Coordinator and Guidance Counselor a Queen’s College in Nassau.
Past Vice-President of the Bahamas Union of Teachers
He is a founding member and past President of the Bahamas Counselor’s
Past President of the Grand Bahama Mental Health Association
Past Vice President of the Caribbean Federation of Mental Health
Founding member and Chairman of Operation Hope, [volunteer drug prevention, education & rehabilitation program]
Co-Chairman of the Bahamas National Drug Council
Founding member and Past -President of Grand Bahama Human Rights Association
Founding member of the Caribbean Human Rights Network
Administrative Vice-President of the Freeport YMCA for three years
is an Advanced Master/Teacher in Reiki training, a natural energy
healing method, as well as a teacher of Transcendental Meditation.
Presently, he is Director of Workforce Development
the Grand Bahama Shipyard. He has received many awards for outstanding
service and achievement in teaching, communication, and citizenship.
Joseph can be reached at email@example.com