Course Correction Urgently Needed

BU Murder Tracker

The BU Murder Tracker confirms violent; gun crime has become endemic in our tiny society. The 40th murder occurred last Friday and it is possible with about 6 weeks to go in 2022 two more murders to surpass the 2020 number of 41 maybe reached. It is a stretch to suggest Barbados will ‘challenge’ the 48 murders recorded in 2019, the highest recorded in our history.

There is a resignation by the blogmaster that the Barbados leadership at the policy making AND non governmental level lack the nous to successfully implement effective monitoring, enforcement and social approaches to revert to a norm where a murder was big news on the island. One only has to reflect on our helplessness to stop the minibus culture that has taken root since the 80s, our inability to address concerns repeatedly raised by the Auditor General, a contentment to maintain landfills instead of executing an effective waste to management program, growing traffic congestion and lawlessness on the roads, the sloth to wean the country from fossil fuel consumption AND last but not least our burgeoning court system.

It seems several of the murders that have occurred were committed by individuals out on bail. Many Barbadians have asked why those ‘known to the law’ routinely receive bail from the courts. In simple terms, it cannot be assumed that a person with a criminal strike is automatically guilty. There is the presumption of innocence by the system of jurisprudence practiced. In 2019 Attorney General Dale Marshall attempted to amend the Bail Act to refuse bail to anyone facing a murder charge unless 24 months had been spent in custody. A case of a slow justice system forcing lawmakers to amend the law that was eventually and predictably deemed unconstitutional. Relevance of Newton’s 3rd law?

Where do we go from here?

It would seem that at a time unprecedented events are taking place in our country bold and equally unprecedented interventions must occur. Although Newton’s third law doesn’t apply to the man made predicament Barbados and many global societies are having to battle, we have reached a tipping point where there are unprecedented opposite reactions occurring to the inability of society, whether government, NGO and PEOPLE to manage an orderly society.

If it is possible at this late stage to win back our little country from the battle against ‘flesh and blood’ and the war against the ‘unseen’ then extreme measures will have to be aggressively taken from yesterday. We do not have the luxury of continuing to procrastinate and vacillate.

On the occasion of International Men’s Day the blogmaster listened and read the usual platitudes delivered by the usual talking heads and there was an overwhelming sense of déjà vu. We are going nowhere fast as it pertains the quality of society we have the responsibility to fashion for our children. We do not deserve to wear the label of being an intelligent people and be happy to figuratively and literally engage in revelry while BIM is burning.

The PEOPLE clamoured to reject the initiative to replace Independence Day with Barbados National Day. Could it be the PEOPLE will become equally outrage to demand and force a course correction with crime now at an endemic level?

33 thoughts on “Course Correction Urgently Needed

  1. Thank you David. Still waiting to see the country mobilize to march against gun violence. Perhaps, I may be expecting too much from a country where most are politically polarized.

    • @Kammie

      Gun violence is not an issue Barbadians will march. In fact we are not a marching people. What some of need to do is to exert leadership at the household level, share important information with police, there is the opportunity to do it anonymously via TIPS. We have take civic responsibility seriously. This applied to the profits motivated private sector as well.

    From BT
    ““It is not the police force’s responsibility only. It is an all-country responsibility. I am asked from time to time, ‘What is the police force doing about the violence’. Well, the police force did not raise your child. It starts in the home,”
    ““We observe every single day children across the country seem to be on autopilot seemingly without parental control. What we have done in the force, is that we have the Juvenile Liaison [Scheme], the Prince’s Trust Programme and several parenting programmes and we are trying to do our best socially to explain to the adult population that the children need their support and need it badly.”

    ‘Griffith pleaded with the audience to take on the individual responsibility to manage their offspring.”

    I am going to reach here and try to connects dots that seem quite separate, but are all linked together

    (1) The state cannot hold parent responsible for their children actions and then undermine the parents by not asking their parents for permission to question their children. If you will tell a 11-year old that the government’s responsibility trumps parental responsibility, do you think they will listen to the parent at 11, 23, 13 … 19. You cannot deny the parents their authority and then blame the parents when the children misbehave.

    (2) I wonder if those who would now attack the parents were ever children. It seems as if Barbados has a lot of people who were born “big and elderly’. Why focus on the warts and not mention the jewels; the thousand of parents who are active in their children lives and are producing successful citizens. It may be too much to ask officials to say “we cannot get the job done”, but I will ask that they also comment on the successful parents.

    You know as well as I do, that when they are playing the blame game, only a segment of the society is flashing through everyone’s mind.

    In the US, people often speak in code. They use a thousand phrases, but a sensible person knows these are coded phrases for ‘blacks’ or ‘the blacks’. The structure of Barbadian society is quite different from that of the US, but sometimes I believe that coded words are being used for ‘them’ and ‘us’.

    if it is, that is one of the reason why the police initiatives fail.

  3. Kammie,

    MOST are politically polarised?????

    Do you see the small numbers who belong to the political parties?

    What percentage of Barbadians attend political meetings?

    What percentage of eligible voters even vote?

    I don’t even know the political views of most of the people I meet.

    The majority of Barbadians are disengaged politically. They will vote if and when they can see and feel an impactful change in their lives, either positive or negative.

  4. TheO,

    Good points! The negligence of the whole society but especially successive governments actually contributed to this situation.

    Not to mention the “Man who employed my Son” the topic of a poem on the CXC English Literature syllabus.

    These big “respectable” men in the shadows are not a part of the equation in these narratives.

    This is yet another reason for the little foolish black boys not to pay the authorities any mind.

    Unfortunately, they do not perceive that it is also yet another reason that they should not allow themselves to be used by these big “respectable” men.

    Lord, I cry!

  5. Nuff respect to the Blogmaster.

    It has to be a major effort to continue to play the part of an eternal optimist in the midst of a developing Hell…
    As Bushie indicated some time ago, this should have been no real surprise. We have been planting the seeds for decades now, if anything it required patience from the Boss – for us to have reached as far as we have…

    Sadly, it makes no sense changing course, even if we had the capacity (and wisdom) to do so… How would a change in course have helped the Titanic?
    …unless of course the captain had the wisdom and foresight to do so BEFORE the iceberg impact?

    Our ‘impact’ has been cemented in history, and it is signified and commemorated at the Garrison.
    This is why the whacker ‘get tek way’ … make room for the D11 CD that is now here…

  6. @Hants

    “David” should publish that article as a separate blog, Bertie Hinds didn’t pull any punches. I would expect some pushback from the political directorate, but we have a useless AG who has a retired Commissioner (whose role is undetermined) as a consultant. I would speculate that Hinds still has associates within the Force who would have relayed the information about low morale.

    • @‘Sargeant’

      The Blogmaster referred to comments by Bertie Hinds in one of the other blogs. The police force has become mired in a political cesspool as well. The BLP will not listen to Hinds and you know why. It is a Dottin versus Hinds scenario.

  7. I believe some people love to ‘grab at straws.’ Hinds referrence to “low moral” in the police service is not a recent development, as he and other persons seem to be suggesting. It also existed before Hinds became a gazetted officer and continued during and after his tenure as Deputy Police Commissioner.

  8. Speaking of ‘grabbing at straws’ Artax…

    Where did Hinds say that low morale was a recent thing..?

    …asking for ac 🙂


  9. Bush Tea, please indicate where in my contribution I mentioned anything that suggested “Hinds said low morale is a recent thing?” You have a penchant for purposely misrepresenting the comments of certain individuals as the basis to launch your snide attacks. But, yuh know, I’m “asking for ac” as well. Under these circumstances, her simple, appropriate response to you would’ve been…… “ya old boar” or “bush shite.” …. “LOL”

  10. On those salaries, top excepted, my morale would also be low.

    But in many instances, we are getting who and what we pay for.

    There are police officers who cannot even write a coherent report or take a decent statement.

    That deficiency could also be one of the reasons for the frequent delays in presenting evidence to our courts.

    But….Peter Laurie says we have been blessed with visionary leadership from Barrow to Mottley.

    Just as faith without works, the Bible declares to be dead, so vision without implementation is equally dead.

    I believe our stick shift vehicle is rolling backwards down one of those hills you lot were on about on the other recent blog.

    Sweet talking the clutch will not persuade it to balance. It requires fancy footwork.

  11. Wunnah pelt out God outta wunnah lives so TEK DAT. All de policies and procedures wunnah implementing, and all de finger pointing ain gun help. Tings will get worse until wunnah do de rite ting.

  12. @ Artax asked…
    Bush Tea, please indicate where in my contribution I mentioned anything that suggested “Hinds said low morale is a recent thing?”
    “…Hinds referrence to “low moral” in the police service is not a recent development, as he and other persons seem to be suggesting….”

    Asked and answered –
    ….compliments your friend ac

    • If the criminal element in tiny Barbados is prepared to defend their turf you have a problem.

      Ex-cop calls for firmer hand
      Dealers ‘not afraid to offer bribes’
      by JOHN BOYCE
      AS BARBADOS RECORDED its 40th murder for the year last week, a former ace detective is calling for firmer action on gun crime.
      David “Kojak” Callender is appealing to “the powers that be” to instil in the hearts of the young men who want to be killers that they cannot win.
      “I don’t think we are firm enough on gun crime. There is a need for urgent action to arrest the growing problem,” he told the MIDWEEK NATION.
      Recently, former Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith reiterated his concern about the flow of guns coming into the country, while calling on officials to tell Barbadians whether the surveillance systems put in place to stem the flow at the ports of entry were working.
      His comments came against the background of Deputy Commissioner Erwin Boyce warning of the “young and restless” having access to guns at an unprecedented level, while admitting that police have not yet scratched the surface on the issue.
      However, Callender, a retired assistant superintendent, in making reference to what he called “unnecessary wars among young people”, identified a lack of respect for police officers as being partially responsible for the problem.
      He said drug dealers were no longer afraid to offer bribes to lawmen,
      saying once they accepted the first time, then they were bought forever.
      This he saw as a real problem and urged Government to look at the conditions under which lawmen worked and the “small” salaries paid to them. Admitting that it is a changing society and that criminals are more emboldened than they were in his day, Callender said: “Back then when youngsters saw the police coming they would run and hide their contraband . . . . That is not the case today.”
      In fact, instead of running, he said the deviant young men want to retaliate.
      He said that this speaks volumes about policing a society in which a growing segment no longer respects law and order. The former detective identified lawmen such as Jasper Watson, Lionel Whittaker, Ashford “Rap Brown” Jones, Robert “Dirty Harry” Daniel and Neval “Tracksuit Top” Greenidge as “fellas who brought order to the society”.
      He said he felt there was a need for a core group of officers, who could bring that level of respect back to policing, to be put on the streets to uproot some of the trouble spots across the island.
      “The Police Service needs to look inwardly and select their ‘A’ Team and put them out there to address the problem. People must be aware that it’s no joke and that they are serious,” he stressed.
      The retired lawman dismissed the notion that political interference was to blame for the Barbados Police Service not arresting the gun problem or crime “as a whole”.
      “What happens sometimes is that the political involvement comes [in relation to] supersession in the Police Service,” the 40-year veteran said.
      He added that depending on the allegiance of the officer and with “his party” being in power, then he could be promoted above others who might be deserving of the senior position.
      Pointing out that the supersession usually happened at the top, he added that “it’s not going to stop just so”.
      Callender said he believed that unless serious, urgent action was taken, the criminal element would continue to take root.

      Source: Nation

    • 7-year growth goal
      WITH THE CENTRAL BANK having predicted ten per cent growth this year, Government is pursuing a strategy aimed at having the country consistently achieve five per cent growth per annum for the next five to seven years.
      However, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley said such outcomes would require full-scale buy-in from the private sector, which would be required to aggressively double its rate of investment.
      She made the call to the business community yesterday during the Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s (BCCI) annual Business Luncheon And Discussion at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre
      under the theme Strengthening Barbados’ Economy Through
      Collective Partnerships.
      Mottley made it clear that Government’s capital works push was not going to be enough to spur the country’s return to economic prosperity.
      “On a medium-term basis, we want to be able to come as close to being able to achieve five per cent growth each and every year. This is not an initiative to be undertaken by Government alone. Government is now about 4.3 per cent of GDP (gross domestic product) in capital investment, but a big push now has to come from the private sector. If we are now to pursue growth aggressively, it means that we have to be able to double investment from the private sector from just over $1 billion where it is now, to about $2 billion,” she said.
      Currently the private sector invests around eight per cent of GDP but the proposed investment expansion would see that move up to about 15 per cent.
      The Prime Minister also said foreign direct investment would have to be boosted to about $600 million, but that was quite achievable.
      She also assured the business community that measures would be put in place to ensure greater accountability and fiscal prudence.
      “There are a few institutions that will be necessary to this effort. We need a Fiscal Council that will send the message to everyone, both locally and internationally, that what we say we will do we will do. This will be assessed independently of Government. This is important because it was the absence of proper management that put us here in the first place over the course of the lost decade. The Fiscal Council will have one person from the international investors and the rest from regional or local, to ensure the credibility and independence when it is set up between now and the end of the fiscal year,” she explained.
      “There must also be a Private/ Public Sector Growth Council [which] will keep us away from that slide, because that is the mission of all of us. People say that our private sector is too laid-back and too risk-averse in order to follow through with this plan. Prove them wrong! We can have managed, sustainable and inclusive growth,” she said. (CLM)

      Source: Nation

  13. A course correction would imply some form of navigation was in place.
    We have a captain who many believe intends to bail before we run aground.
    A feckless first mate and a ragtag crew more interested in posing for pictures with passengers than doing their jobs.
    The passengers are now in charge.
    Crime committed by passengers is a symptom, so is the illegal survey, also corrupt vaccine deals, also the illegal acquisition of Ms. Ram’s property and on and on.
    Renaming the ship won’t change a thing, handing out medals to the crew won’t change a thing and putting passengers in the brig won’t change a thing

  14. Bush Tea

    I must admit, you are correct.

    But, this is a rare occasion where I’ve made such a ‘slip up.’

    Nevertheless, ‘yuh got me good,’ something your new found friend ‘ac’ has never been able to achieve.

  15. no biggie Artax…. We Good!!!

    Bushie got your general point, …but just wanted to get in a little ‘dig’ in ac’s memory…

  16. Certain lawyers and judges are working against the law and thus against the leader, the state and the party.

    Our Supreme Leader is called upon to take serious criminal cases into her own hands from now on. As the all-ruler of our island and trustee of the people’s will, she is by nature empowered to take every case to herself and decide according to the people’s will.

    I call this the National People’s Court (NPC).

  17. @ Bushie, @ Artax
    That’s what mature debate /discussion is all about.
    Keep up the good work guys.

  18. “David “Kojak” Callender is appealing to “the powers that be” to instil in the hearts of the young men who want to be killers that they cannot win.”

    @ David

    The article indicated that former ASP Callender made some very interesting comments.

    Callender, who was popularly known as “Kojak” ‘back in the day,’ is from an era when many people respected police officers through fear. You’ll notice he mentioned former officers such as ‘Rap Browne,’ ‘Track Suit Top,’ ‘Dirty Harry,’ Watson and Whittaker.
    I’ll add ‘Fancy Basket,’ ‘Lion Man,’ ‘Johnny Salt Bags,’ ‘Bill Johnson,’ ‘Starsky,’ ‘Hutch,’ ‘Invader #1’ and his brother, ‘Invader #2,’ to the list of cops whom people feared.
    I’m sure people from the 1940s, 50s and 60s could also mention the names of police officers who fearlessly maintained law and order in those eras.

    I remember as a youngster in the early 1980s, the older folks talking about ‘cowering in fear,’ when they saw plain clothed police officers in unmarked vehicles such as ‘The Big S,’ (referring to a dark blue Toyota Crown…S2548), M2555 or E511.

    The history of policing in the Caribbean region is very interesting. Many Caribbean police forces were established during the early 1840s, a few years after the abolition of slavery in 1833.
    Obviously, former slaves and plantation owners shared different social and economic interests. As such, the priority for police was to ‘serve and protect’ the safety of plantation owners and their properties.

    Since the British colonies adopted a centralised and authoritarian colonial policing structure from Britain, law and order were often maintained by unfriendly, coercive methods.

    Over the years, there weren’t any significant attempts to reform those structures.
    As a result, we’ve seen, for example, police corruption; brutality and torture, especially to solicit confessions from accused persons; biased and discriminatory law enforcement practices, where the minority and the influential majority segments of the population seem to have ‘diplomatic immunity.’ There is also, in some cases, where police officers failed to follow procedures governing due process.

    Nowadays, people have become more aware of their constitutional rights and will not allow anyone, including police officers, to infringe them.

    • @Artax

      Good comment, your observation about the impact of the fear factor then compared to its irrelevance in today’s Barbados spot on.

    • Time to back Auditor General

      The following article was submitted by the Integrity Group of Barbados.
      Following the publication of the 2021 Auditor General’s report, Integrity Group of Barbados (IGB) reiterates that, although the Ministry of Finance, Economic Affairs and Investment (MFEI), responded to the report, it offered limited comments on the issue of inadequate resources that has been plaguing the Office of the Auditor General during successive administrations.
      The report from the MFEI asserted that its response was prepared in alignment with principles of “transparency, accountability, and good governance”. The MFEI further stated that it acknowledges the significance of the role of the Auditor General “in ensuring that Barbadians benefit from the best systems of governance possible and that these systems are constantly subjected to robust scrutiny”.
      IGB acknowledges that some effort has been made to address the critical labour shortages in the Auditor General’s Office, but believes that not enough has been done. These labour shortages not only place additional burdens on current and existing staff, but are a source of delays that negatively impact on the Office’s ability to carry out its mandate effectively. These issues were compounded by the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic since working hours were reduced, contributing to increased challenges with securing the requisite documents and files for review from the various ministries and departments.
      In his report, the Auditor
      General, Leigh Trotman, was not only explicit in explaining the effects of being understaffed, but in also presenting relevant solutions.
      Trotman confirmed that since he assumed the post of Auditor General in 2006, he had made repeated requests for vacant posts to be filled and for additional staff to facilitate the daily operations in his Office. More than a decade and a half later, the office continues to be plagued by a persistent lack of human resources owing to retirements, transfers, and resignations that proved to be disproportionate to the new staff members that have been hired over the years. Notably, the additions to the office have been fewer than the number of persons leaving.
      This shortage of manpower had far-reaching implications for the bureaucratic structure, with management levels being especially impacted. This gave rise, for example, to executive management assuming additional responsibilities outside of their remit such as spearheading audit teams.
      Trotman explained that this was not the best use of the resource, and their skills would better be applied to managerial tasks.
      He further argued that it was necessary for the Audit Office to have the capacity to recruit directly according to its needs in a manner which is timely, and training should be prioritised to ensure that the functions are administered effectively.
      Trotman explained: “It is important for this process to commence and I have also suggested the introduction of a Cadet programme, where graduates and other suitably qualified individuals could be trained. This
      would allow for a greater pool of persons to be available for selection to fill the posts in the Office.”
      He also explained that, despite these persistent limitations, improvements towards streamlining audit activities have been made to compensate for the staff shortages. The streamlining process is supported by utilising technology-based solutions in the audit process, in addition to a more risk-based approach for the areas selected for audit.
      However, especially given the fact that there is currently no Opposition in Parliament (and therefore no Public Accounts Committee), failure to correct the understaffing issues is even more egregious. It can be perceived that this negligence is a direct hindrance to national levels of accountability and transparency that should be upheld within a democratic system. The perpetual state of being understaffed is not only a “lack of resource issue”, but it also demonstrates a lack of regard for the Office and its work.
      Principles of transparency and accountability are critical to our parliamentary democracy and thus should be accorded priority consideration in our approach to governance.
      Therefore, the IGB is once again issuing a call to the Government to fulfill the promise made in its 2018 manifesto to ensure that the Office of the Auditor General benefits from a full complement of staff, is adequately resourced and is in a position to execute effectively its mandate in serving the Barbadian public.

      Source: Nation

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