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

Focus on The Beginning, not The End
By Gamal Newry
May 19, 2010 - 3:33:07 PM

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Admittedly I would be the first to advocate for changes in laws and how the courts are administrated. It is an obvious overwhelming situation at the courts for all those concerned. Daily I see the torrent of participants from police, to attorneys, witnesses, defendants, and of course, the ever-present spectators who flood the Bank Lane and Nassau Street area. It appears that only persons benefiting from this are the local eateries that thrive off of the reliable traffic of persons.


Never the less, this is not where the problem lies with crime in our country, as the appearance of these various players is the end result of a crime that has already been committed. Thus in my opinion it is not best place to begin to effectively remedy and change our crime situation. I venture to say that the courts are not even a short term solution to crime prevention as they have nothing to do with the latter.

The criminal justice system is concerned about investigation and issuing of penalties and punishment. Crime prevention should not be confused with an inadequate criminal justice system, as one only affects the other. If our concern is the amount of crime in the Bahamas, then we need to at minimum start with the various law enforcement agencies that are charged with crime monitoring and response. Those groups are the Police and Defense Forces, Immigration and Custom Departments, and not the Prisons Services. Bear in mind that these agencies are also a part of the criminal justice system, but also play important roles in prevention.


However, if we are REALLY serious about reducing crime, i.e eliminating the opportunity for crime, we should start in the Social Services, Education, Youth and Sports ministries. Certainly, this suggestion is far from the traditional focus and lead taken on by National Security. It is these ministries, in my opinion, that are on the ground and front line that can develop and maintain channels for productive and creative future citizens. They also can provide the community support for the rehabilitation that so many would-be and current offenders. They address moral and ethical issues as opposed to matters of law, thus appealing to character-building, and introducing individuals to rules and regulations. Failure to follow the rules and regulations at this stage may only cost points, not a life. If we miss the important life lessons that sports and education provide for long term socialization, then we will be focused on fighting the fire with water as opposed to just taking away the matches.


My observations have determined that our family and youth groups are failing horribly. This is the root problem, thus where the greatest efforts and resources need to be placed. Before we even arrive at the courts, simply take a look on our streets, the concerts the weekend, and the weekday hangouts. Here we will see young folks behaving rudely and out of order. Of course to them it is called fun, but seriously...


Fun is indeed a relative term as to what you may deem as good time, others may see it as reckless.   For example, I have friends who can spend all day and night on the basketball court, but I am one who would prefer one-on-one fighting scenarios at my martial arts school. To each his own indeed, never the less all of us, regardless of our passion, are willing participants. How can fun be exercised at the expense of another, where that person’s life, property and reputation are put at risk?


I am not going to get irate about behavior, especially when it is in my power to control it. As the saying goes, 'bend the tree while it is young'. The question is who is responsible for bending these ‘cheren dem’? Once again what I see is the failure of parents, not all, but just enough to cause as of May 2010, a murder count and armed robbery count that are unacceptable. Thus civil society and government must now step up to the plate. Should the civil society or the government be raising our kids? Of course not, however if there are failures in parenting, something must be done. It is better to engage that young man or woman now before they come crawling through your window and place a gun to your head.  


Before is the operative word here, as it speaks to prevention, delay, and deterrence. Unlike after which speaks to detection, detention and penalties. If we put too much focus on the after affects we will miss the proverbial boat, and not really impact the occurrence of crime. Our youth need positive outlets for their energy, frustration and conflicts. A prime example of this is Junkanoo. Here we see the melting pot of various backgrounds coming together to accomplish a common goal. During the preparation time we see discipline, confidence and respect for and towards the other person regardless of socioeconomic status. This model needs to be followed, tapped into and harnessed as it speaks to our ability to live together in harmony, and produce a product that is truly Bahamian.

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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Preventative Measure - Gamal Newry
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