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

How Long Before We Realize the Emergency?
By Gamal Newry
Dec 15, 2010 - 9:20:24 AM

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There are distinct differences between emergencies, crisis, and disasters, despite our tendency to use the 3 social disorders synonymously. The crisis and disaster being the ill handling or ignoring of an emergency event.  The various schools of disaster and continuity management differ in established parameters, but agree that they are different. ‘Joe Public or Private’, by experience or just gut feeling determines an emergency, not the authorities be they the police or government. The latter are responsible to respond and solve the emergency. For example ‘919 / 911’ is established so that Joe Public or Private can advise that there is a situation in need of resolution. It would be inappropriate for the emergency operator to say from their position that they do not believe that there is an urgent situation.

The current state of affairs as it relates to crime and social disobedience in the Bahamas is far from normal. We are seeing and hearing of behavior that leaves a lot to be desired about the future and well being of the nation. This statement is mine and is supported by the fact that the murder rate has sky rocketed, not to mention the assault statics, which have nearly tripled in the last 10 years. If you agree with my observations then you should agree that we cannot bury our heads in the ground and hope that it all gets better. I venture to say that you will say that we are in an emergency situation.

For several months I have watched as our society is faced with increasing incidents of violence, and more so concerned by the refusal of the leadership of our country, to take proactive steps to curve this problem. Both political parties have refused to take action and rather play the blame game as to who is at fault. Frankly, we all are at fault for this condition and slowly we are accepting it as a part of Bahamian culture. 20 years ago it was unusual to see police officers carrying firearms, now high powered weapons are normal and are even being used to respond to unarmed civilians. The hiring of off duty police officers once exclusive to the police band is now outsourced to the highest bidder. The general public, who in days gone by dared not challenge the authority of the police, but now it is regularly accepted and an excused occurrence.

Never the less we must also be careful of what would appear to be what I call the 'desperate times call for desperate measures syndrome', which translates into arming all police officers, security guards and any other 'reasonable citizens'. As attractive as this seems it can and will only make matters worse. Some signs of this can be seen where major businesses that can afford it now have an armed police officer standing guard at their front door inclusive of security guards, cameras, and alarms. However those that cannot now have become targets for the criminals.

I have my suggestions regarding curbing the disorderly state of affairs and certainly there are many others who can chime in, but that is not my purpose for this writing, the point here is to advise that we are in a national emergency situation. This is said with the understanding that many local emergency incidents have erupted in the last 10 years, but they have been confined and isolated to communities and islands. These events are stepping stones for a far more dangerous state of affairs if not checked now. If we are not careful the crisis and disastrous situations that our neighbors to the south like Trinidad, Guyana, and most recently Jamaica have encountered and currently face will certainly show its head in the Bahamas.

The public outcry is heard all over the country for more hangings, stiffer penalties which translate in my opinion and more importantly, that we are afraid. This fear without a doubt says to me and maybe to you that this is an emergency; as the fire begins to grow, water needs to be put on it. Note I said water, not advanced chemical and technological agent, simple reliable water. Thus our crime situation requires and can be managed with simple fixes and more than police intervention. But first we must realize the danger and be willing to address it.

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 gnewry@gmail.com or visit us at www.preventativemeasures.net

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