Rome is burning, and from all appearances one begins to get the sense that the Romans are fast asleep. Aren’t we just a tad bit tired of the optics? I think not, for they are passed off as business as usual. Exactly when do we intend to stand up and say to our Gods this simple one line phrase? ENOUGH. ….
The sound of gunfire is as commonplace as the back fire of an engine with blown Pistons. Last Sunday night an innocent fifty seven year old woman had the misfortune of crossing paths with one of the many errant bullets that seemingly come from all directions of the one hundred and sixty six square mile gun range. The scary thing is that it could happen at anytime to anyone.
Here is my problem. This woman might lose her life, and through sheer diligence the over worked and underappreciated detectives of the RBPF will bring the vermin to justice. After a fair trial that menace to society becomes a ward of society, breathing the same air as you, me and everyone else except the unfortunate fifty seven year old woman upon whom he would have passed judgement. From all the way in Washington DC this creep is given a new lease on life. Since Washington DC has this much influence on us, explain this to me.
Democratic majority leader Pedro Espada Jr, a big wig in New York politics got five years in prison for stealing from a non-profit clinic he had founded. That was back in 2013. Today he is in maximum security after straying outside the boundaries of the the low level lockup that initially housed him. Hours ago seventy two year old Sheldon Silver received a sentence of twelve years in prison for corruption. How could I have forgotten to mention the fact that Mr Silver occupied the position of SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE. Let me also tell you that in all of this mess Governor Andrew Cuomo didn’t suggest to corrupt Shelley Silver “Go get a lawyer, you didn’t do anything wrong“. He ain’t so drunk, and in any event such shit flies only in a banana republic where poor folk are content with the tactic of comply and then complain. Where austerity measures are trained in one direction only. A banana republic where the American influence is conveniently applied.
BU shares the Jeff Cumberbatch Barbados Advocate column – Senior Lecturer in law at the University of the West Indies since 1983, a Columnist with the Barbados Advocate since 2000 and BU commenter – see full bio.
GOVERNMENT HAS SIGNED two licences with BHP Billiton, clearing the way for the Australian oil giant to explore for oil and gas offshore Barbados – Nation Newspaper
Are we there yet? After 8+ long years the government inked a deal with BHP Billiton to permit exploration in our waters for hydrocarbons. The length of time it has taken to acquire a partner to kickstart the offshore petroleum sector is synonymous with the slow pace the Fruendel Stuart government seems comfortable.
For many years BU has posted concerns about the sprouting of weeds on the lawn. We have moved from a society where doors were left open without fear of trespassers or catching the ‘last bus’ and having to walk long distances, sometimes on tracks between canfields, to a society where fear of being a victim of crime has forced us to redefine what is Barbados.
There was a time in the not too distant past, when the dreaded drive by shootings was standard occurrences in the inner cities of America. Black sociologists and criminologists described drives by and other violent crime involving blacks as: Black on Black crime. The graveyards of many inner cities are home to several victims.
In the Caribbean, we are witnessing the drive by and other forms of violent crimes occur with unusual frequency. Unfortunately, youths throughout the region, appear seriously determined to wipe out each other via the bullet. Gone are the days of “throwing big rocks’ or “giving a fellow a cuff” or trying to wrestle your adversary to the ground. Gone are the cuss outs at the standpipe and the often frivolous village rivalry of four or five decades ago. Today, all disagreements among the criminal element are settled with a burst of fire from a gun. Even stabbings are rather obsolete.
We at Mahogany Coconut have warned, from our inception, that the major threats to the real development of our region are our failure to properly manage our fragile environment and the rising levels and sophistication of crime. We can try to correct our environmental problems by: proper garbage disposal, protecting our scarce wildlife and ensuring that old buildings are given a new lease on life. However, when a young citizen’s life is cut short by acts of extreme violence, there is nothing we can do to “bring him or her back”.
Ministers of government Adriel Brathwaite (Attorney General/Home Affairs)and Ronald Jones (Education) were in the news this week condemning rising gun violence in Barbados. The latest count is 7 gun killings this year compared to 2 for the same period last year. Brathwaite promised earlier this week strategies are in the offing to combat the worrying situation but it is no surprise he was not at liberty to allay the concerns of Barbadians by being specific. He hinted though he plans to speak to the Commissioner of Police. Very comforting. Ronald Jones attacked the issue from the angle of gender by urging males to be more responsible and to stop holding the society to ransom. Both ministers are to be congratulated for mouthing politically correct positions but at the same time must be criticized because of the leadership role they should be playing to arrest the situation.
There is a tendency to focus on enforcement, the need to be efficient supported by the judiciary is required to maintain a stable society. The other part of the equation, just as important, is not usually discussed with the same vigour – the need to factor causality. There must be a reason why an enlightened society in 2014 continues to produce too many dysfunctional young people comfortable with a gun toting role in the criminal world. The reality for some is that crime is a means of a survival. We can improve detection and punish all with greater efficiency but it will not stem the problem.
“…main drivers which develop a country or regress it is access to education, health and the feeling of security…”
Crime and why we will never be able to reduce the most violent manifestations of it.
In today’s paper NATION page 6a the defence for the recently concluded trial of the aggravated burglary of the Nation Newspaper offices in Fontabelle suggested the men be given a fine and that they are willing to pay back the money. Let’s examine the crime they were found guilty of by a jury. The facts which are no longer in dispute is that they planned the robbery a month in advance down to a change of clothes, used a firearm and threatened the persons present in order to steal.
Should the Court see fit to release these individuals it will set the following precedent for all such cases of aggravated burglary involving the use of a firearm. All former persons sentenced to anything but a fine and all future perpetrators of a similar crime could argue persuasively based on the judgement in this case. Therefore the message we are sending is that it is a trivial thing to enter into any building armed with a gun, threaten the lives of the persons present unless they comply and steal anything in the building.
Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite recently updated the public that crime is o the rise in the North of the island.
The culprit who shot two police officers in 2011 in Navy Gardens has pleaded guilty and was given bail by the court. Let’s just clarify that, SHOT 2 Police Officers, multiple times each. Not shot AT. Has admitted that he did it to the court. And has been released.
I don’t know how the powers that going forward are going to try to police this generation when they allow the thugs of the society to do as they like when they like. But the political elite and the same judge who released the scoundrel on bail can rest easy since the police stand between them and the thugs as a buffer.
I wonder if he had shot a member of Government or the Judiciary if I would be making this post now. I await the type of monkey sentence which will come from the court for the following charges:
Barbados is becoming like a war zone, with reports of shootings almost everyday by reckless and underemployed young men (they are almost always men). It is now taking on the characteristics of West Kingston in the mid-1970s when a surplus of arms fuelled the resentment of gangsters affiliated to the two dominant political parties. This aspect of Caribbean shootings has not yet raised its ugly head in Barbados, nor has the savagery of the murderous gangsters in Trinidad, although the choke and rob muggers of Guyana has been adopted by some Barbadian youths. In all this, the apparatus of law and order seems helpless, apart from a demand to better arm the policy and the unopposed willingness to put the Defence force on the streets and parading some of the West Coast beaches. It is a development that will eventually end in tears.
Causation: Crime and punishment is one of those subjects that have been raising people’s blood pressure since Adam and Eve. From the church to every man and woman at the street corner, we all have explanations for the break down in law and order. Those opposed to the drift in to a more repressive society (see: Stuart Hall: Drifting in to a Law and Order Society) are frequently forced to ask: whose law, what order. However, crime causation is the issue that pre-occupies most criminologists and criminal justice workers.
Why do we see so many young people involved in crime nowadays? Only today [13/07/2012] for instance, front page in one of our daily’s, is a young person being held for an alleged crime. Some people are quick to highlight the break downs in society…. “Why certain”Highs” in society are caught with their hands in the cookie jar, but go unpunished. Why must some be able to avoid punishment for crimes while others are remanded? Are we unknowingly setting bad precedence for our youth to follow, only to reprimand them harshly, when they follow in some of our ways and clone on becoming adults?
The Alexandra fiasco has taken it to another level, that of the class room of some of our young infectious minds. We must be aware, the Nation’s next crop is watching. The outcome will subtly determine the psychological mindset of a next generation. So says noted German psychologist Dr. Kohlberg…his theory is that a child’s morals are set by prevailing conditions from as early as in the womb…and continues through teen years , via a set of stages,up until adulthood ..contemplate some his views.
In February 2009 BU posted Rihanna To Turn Spotlight On Domestic Violence which she suffered from hands of Chris Brown. Although there is the evidence Rihanna has achieved her objective of ‘good girl gone bad’, we agree that when a high profile person adopts a cause it attracts more attention than if the average Joe or Jane did the same. That is the way it is, deal with it!
The recent and unfortunate experience which Senator Irene Sandiford-Gardner had in Warrens car park is another example of a prominent person drawing attention to a situation hopefully for the better. Of course similar acts have been occurring almost on a daily basis but never attract the front page cover which the Senator got on Friday. BU of course joins with the many Barbadians who wish the Senator well and a speedy recovery.
For months the public has become very concerned about the prevalence of crime in Barbados. The concern has heightened in recent weeks. Public concern has not* been quelled by the politically correct statements issued by Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite or Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin. It is understandable the response by officials is to issue statements which will promote calm. However there is a point when the reality of any situation must be confronted with a view to formulating an action plan; we have reached that point. While it is the job of the Police to serve and protect, it is the job of all of us to make the job of the Police that much easier.
I listened very carefully to the media conference hosted by the Commissioner of Police yesterday, both live on radio and later carried by CBC television. The COP choose for some obscure reason to seize on part of an online press article that I contributed to some days ago, where I mentioned the high cost of security ($60,000 to $80,000 annually) for our small hotel.
The Commissioner sadly avoided all our other concerns regarding the escalating level of violent crime against our guests and those of neighbouring accommodation providers in the Long Beach, Inch Marlow and Silver Sands area. Neither did he comment on the near two years of emails, faxes and letters literally begging for increased police patrols prior to the death of Canadian Terry Schwarzfeld and why these were never answered or responded to.
Of course, we were not surprised by the lack of response, especially after repeated death and rape threats against myself and wife and suspected arson attacks were never satisfactorily investigated, despite overwhelming evidence of the source. Was this source ever even interviewed?