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Columns : Preventative Measure - Gamal Newry Last Updated: Feb 6, 2017 - 2:32:04 PM

Crime Reduction Plan: The Future of The Bahamas (Part 1)
By Gamal Newry
Jan 5, 2011 - 1:57:25 PM

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As we enter 2011 let it bring to us and all of our families all peace, good health, and prosperity, if only in your mind. 2010 has been for all of us very trying and frightening as we continue to watch as our country spirals down this path of destruction. It seems that we are helpless to do anything about it as we see scheme after scheme fail. Not one to live in the past as there is very little that can be done to change the past. Never the less it is to the past that we must look for lessons learned in order to reduce our repetition of the same strategic and tactical errors. We must look positively to the future; as it is always what we make it, and this is a conclusion that I came to many years ago. With that said I am confident that as the norm many challenges will come our way, so at minimum, one should be mentally prepared to face these inevitable events.


One such event is the continued increase in crime and violence in our society, sorry if you were expecting to hear of a reduction in criminality in The Bahamas. The present approach to crime management plays a pivotal role in this statement more than the affects that we see around us. For clarity I am not talking about the murders, robberies, assaults rapes etc. Rather the attempt to reduce crime by addressing the judiciary and police, as opposed to an all out attack of the social ills that cause crime.

What appears to be missing or lacking from our society is an aggressive approach to reducing juvenile delinquency, which when left to fester evolves into the adult categorization we call crime. It is bewildering that Government Ministries such as Education, Social Services, Sports, Youth and Culture are not receiving more funding, aid, and restructuring as a part of a national crime prevention program.

The current philosophy of increased police and security presence, alarm systems, burglar bars, reduce cash on premises are all response to crime, not prevention. If one is to compare crime and social disobedience to a disease then the aforementioned ministries can be said to be the preventative and wellness programs; whereas the, surveillance systems, tracing anklets, law enforcement and the courts are likened to pills, emergency medicine, and surgery.   For example in the last 10 years we have seen more shifts, reassignments, restructuring in the Police and Judiciary than in all 5 agencies combined.   It is painfully obvious that the problem is not the fruit which we are attempting to lock up and give harsher sentence to but the tree i.e. our social and cultural infrastructure.


What is wrong with the way the Police fight crime will be left for part 2 of this forecast, as during this writing I am focusing on the causation factors as opposed to reactive measures.





We may question if the education system is failing, and it becomes a national debate when the results of the BGCSE and BJC are released. This argument has very far reaching ramifications that go beyond our nation's ability to compete with the global marketplace as it tries to prove it has a qualified and deep pool of employable persons. It reflects our ability to communicated and relate to each other. Where there is a breakdown in communication, there is confusion, which leads to frustration, anger, and violence.   Rationale and problem solving skills are greatly diminished because little Johnny cannot read. After several attempts to save money by purchasing an off market product only to find that the instructions are in every language but English, I have decided to stick with those products that have English as it's a primary form of communication.   Of course the issue here is not the savings but the frustration in not being able to understand what was required. The low level of education speaks to the inability of persons to receive instructions, but also their difficulty in understanding these directions. Out of unintended shame and embarrassment, many times too many a violent response is given.


‘Boys will be boys,’ says the mother as her son is arrested for the third time for being in possession of marijuana. This is a truth that should not be laughed at, but used to our advantage by creating more boys and girls only schools. It appears to me that many of young men and women are distracted and need assistance in prioritizing what is necessary for the various stages in their life.   Studies have shown that there are noticeable changes in behavior and better academic performance when troubled young men are placed in a male only environment. Additionally we must realize, as if the need to bring in over 8,000 Chinese laborers that not everyone is inclined to be a doctor, lawyer or scientist. We must find other alternatives such as masons, carpenters and mechanics that should be taught from junior high.  


Social Services


What exactly is the role of social services in reducing crimes, how can they help? Well my experience with young men and women tells me that they are receiving another type of education besides the formal lessons in school. The ‘school of hard knocks’ regularly reminds these kids that they will not always have food to eat, uniforms to wear, or worse, mommy or daddy to give them the love they need. It easy for those of us who have emotional, educational, and financial backing to sit on the side and critique, demand longer jail terms and hangings, but are we really addressing the problem? Let's be real Bahamas, we all need love and desire to be loved to make it through the day. With this ‘love’ to look forward to then really what is there to lose?   Here I see the social worker as more than someone who hands out food stamps or is able to find shelter for the less fortunate, but someone who can tap into that inner being and facilitate via church or some other civic group where help needed.





The social skill one learns from playing sports is terribly under-rated and needs to be harnessed immediately. Team and individual sports, besides fostering health lifestyles, teach discipline, respect, patience, confidence, cooperation, to name a few; which are fundamental characteristics lacking in many of us today. I am convinced that organized sports programs are one of the most powerful weapons that we have to fighting and reducing crime. Be it tennis, swimming, golf, any of the martial arts discipline, track and field; we are missing the learning and molding opportunities that these physical and mental disciplines offer. Let’s not get confused, the purpose here is not to create world champions but better Bahamians.




Forgive my ignorance, but what exactly does this ministry do aside from organizing an annual youth march? If we sincerely believe in the statements that ‘children are the future’ and ‘children are the wealth of a nation’, then this division of government must receive more attention, planning, and investment. The primary focus of which must be in the young men. I am not chauvinist but I firmly believe that the man is the fundamental backbone to a healthy society.   Where we have seen the decline in good male leadership we have seen a direct increase in moral decay and crime. No I did not conduct a research or hire some consultant, I just live here. What amazes me is that already in place are groups such as the Boy’s Brigade and Boys Scouts that can cater to this training of our young men, but they lack the funding. Boy’s need to be taught how to be men and lead, we can't hope for it to happen without seriously placing effort into the process. Think about it... who are the main perpetrators of social disorder and crimes? We all know the answer, but yet we are not attempting to get to the source.




The identity crisis being experienced in our country has in my opinion been a major catalyst to the social and moral decay we are currently experiencing. Frankly, if you do not know who you are then nothing and no one really matters. What is worse is when an individual is left to discover what his / her purpose is, on their own. This hit and miss approach to self discovery is extremely dangerous and wasteful. We must remember that we are losing lives, not money or some other property. A strong cultural appreciation is key to fostering a strong national pride, where a greater sense of ownership is instilled. This approach to crime reduction makes the Bahamian more than a caretaker, but a stakeholder. This taps into the survivalist nature that we all have when it comes to protecting our own. It brings to life again the chorus ‘this land is my land, this land is your land’ come to life again.  


This may be seem as an unusual way to start crime reduction initiatives, but in my opinion it gets to root causes, with specific attempts to kill the seeds that grow into the chaotic and frightening lives we are living now. For this refocusing to be successful it requires that all of the aforementioned areas be addressed. It cannot only be education, as we must approach the crime reduction effort from all angles.

We are however placing too much focus and emphasis on the end result. When we see past and present governments spending millions on new court buildings, police cars and physical infrastructure, it becomes painfully clear that we are playing a game of wait and see. What makes matters worst is boasting of a high detection rate or that most crimes are being committed by repeat offenders. We should not be excited about hanging offenders when we put so little effort into the understanding and the curbing of the desires our people have to commit these crimes.

Gamal Newry is the President of Preventative Measures, a Loss Prevention and Asset Protection Training and Consulting Company, specializing in Policy and Procedure Development, Business Security Reviews and Audits, & Emergency and Crisis Management. Comments can be sent to P.O. Box N-3154 Nassau, Bahamas or, email info@preventativemeasures.net  or visit us at www.preventativemeasures.net

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