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
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.
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@
or visit us at www.preventativemeasures.net