Gaming and the Times
By Gamal Newry
May 8, 2009 - 10:53:58 PM
So here we go again another attempt by the Royal Bahamas Police Force to 'fight crime', where the police make sure we are safe and secure. An as no surprise the community lashes out at these brave crime fighters because they have dared to touch a national pass time. I remember a time when blockade running and drug running was a national pass time, times have changed or have they.
The word of the day is 'selective enforcement' a method of policing our police force is very good at. Selective enforcement is when a police force decides to enforce certain crimes at different periods, a type of seasonal approach to policing. Yes a questionable approach some may say but never the less when on considers resources, at different times of the year certain crimes may be more prevalent than others, or at different times the risk of apprehension and detection is greater; selective enforcement is not such a bad strategy.
The danger here of course is obvious, if a certain crime is allowed to go untouched for too long in some instances it becomes acceptable. I would dare say that it becomes the norm and in fact demands are maid for the legalization of it. Such is the case with gambling in the Bahamas more so the buying of numbers. Why numbers because really gambling is not illegal in the Bahamas, nor is it illegal for Bahamians to engage in such. When on considers the fact that from time various organizations not just the church hold raffles which is a type of gambling and when the annual carnival comes to down you say all and sundry playing the high and low game of chance. For those of you who do not know this is by all standards gambling or gaming as they say in Las Vegas.
So why the police action to stop something that is really not illegal in my opinion, well frankly the law proscribes certain conditions and circumstance for gaming to occur. Apparently the police believe that these conditions are not being met, or as we say suspect that a law is being broken. The time and place the police chose to act is totally up to them and thus in my opinion without and prejudice or ill will to any person or group. Now maybe those who are directly affected by raids or searches feel offended or unjustly victimized to them I say make your case to the appropriate authorities, for the police are not above the law they attempt to enforce.
Our country is small, and likewise our police force is small, however the amount of laws on the books is great. There is no way that the police can at all times enforce all the laws that are broken at the same time. Never the less they run the danger, as now the social comment of being condemned for their actions or in another instances in action. The recent actions in Grand Bahama and now New Providence would lead some to say can't they find something to do better than this or the popular go after the real criminals. Well they are doing their jobs like it or not, the problem as usual is the frequency and consistency or lack there of.
Maybe we need more police; I think better management of our present force is the better solution. It is not how much you have but rather how you use what you have, we are differently not using our police efficiently. On the other hand maybe we should do away with some of the present laws or revise them so as to make them more current with popular opinion. The danger here in my opinion is that what is popular or seen to be popular because they are making the most noise is not necessary the best or right choice. I for one to not adhere to the concept that the voice of the people is the voice of God, as history has shown time and time again how following the masses have usually leads to destruction. Really, the politicians lack the political will for whatever reason to deal with this matter. Which is not to tell the police when and how to police but revisit the laws specific to gaming and gambling, thus giving teeth to the police and clarity to the populace as to what is legal and what is not. Let the Church speak to morality.
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
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