Politicians Must Stop Fraternizing with Underworld Characters

In much the same way successive governments have struggled to implement a ‘fit for purpose’ economic strategy- so too have successive Attorney Generals and Commissioners of Police failed to effectively stop violent crime. 

It is accepted that an important strand to defining good leadership is the ‘ability to organize in an effective and efficient manner’. It has become evident after years of a business as usual approach by the hierarchy of the police and government that the two key have surrendered to serving narrow interest. 

During the last decade there was an underground buzz about questionable characters like Bounty Killer courted by ministers in government. On the 2018 campaign trail there is the dramatic video of Mia Mottley in the company of questionable characters as well.

Mia Mottley in the company of…
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What are we doing about importation of drugs, guns and violent crime?

BU Murder Tracker

Another three weeks to finish 2022 and the murder on the weekend pushes the year to date recorded number of murders to 41 which equals 2020. The state of violent crime in Barbados in recent years brings the 48 murders recorded in 2019 into play. Of deep concern to the blogmaster is the inability of the leadership in the country to effectively address the problem.

Last week the blogmaster read about 140 murders recorded by The Bahamas and it is no secret Jamaica has been declaring state of emergencies as a measure to arrest the murder rate for over 50 years. The outlook does not look good for Barbados that we will be able to reduce the murder rate using regional trending as the basis of conclusion.

The scourge of drugs is generally accepted as feeding criminal activity in Barbados – specifically gun crime. Further, we have the untouchables operating in the shadows of society who pass as upright citizens responsible for financing the importation of drugs and guns. The blogmaster is sure, very sure there is collusion between various actors in the first, second and third sectors of Barbados. For some reason a video of then Opposition Leader Mia Mottley posing with certain characters come to mind. What are we doing?

We (the people) must speak up.

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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.

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Guns and More Guns – Murder Statistics January to October 2022

Acting Commissioner of Police Erwin Boyce

The young and the reckless are having access to guns at an “unprecedented” level, with police admitting they have “not yet touched the surface” on the issue.

Attributed to Assistant Commissioner of Police Erwin Boyce
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Independence Time – A Time to Reflect on the Role of Prime Minister

The recent Cabinet shuffle by Prime Minister Mia Mottley has caused tongues of political pundits to wag. The Cabinet changes came a few months into a second term after an early general election called in January 2021.

Prime Minister Mottley under our system of government practiced has the authority to appoint and disappoint regarding the composition of Cabinet and there must be good reasons in her mind for the changes. She has loudly signalled to the public her confidence in beleaguered Minister of Education Kay McConney and to a lesser extent Minister of Tourism Senator Lisa Cummins who was transferred to Energy and Business Development, International Business and Trade. Of interest is the fact Cummins has not had to face the electorate. We have also seen the elevation of Corey Layne to Minister of State in the Attorney General’s office for responsibility for crime prevention.

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Failing Recurring Crime Fighting Tactics

Barbados is currently experiencing another crime wave and to be expected it is being politicized which is part of the problem. How does the crime problem get fixed if family members and friends protect the criminals? Same people who were responsible for giving birth to the very monsters terrorizing the country?

This is an oversimplification of the problem to make a bigger point – observations suggest traditional tactics supported by a slow justice system and ‘not fit for purpose laws’ are being used to tackle the crime challenge. Sensible people know the approach being undertaken by authorities will NOT arrest the problem.

From an enforcement angle BOLD measures have to be taken to send messages to the criminal element of a zero tolerance to crime, especially gun crime.

On the other side of the issue, parents and guardians have to also be held accountable. Many in our neck of the woods will not condone Rodrigo Duterte’s methods, it is bitter but it works based on Philippine’s crime index. The time has come and gone for creative crime fighting solutions to be implemented albeit Barbados’ once pristine reputation ican be found in the toilet.

Blogmaster


The following comment was posted by BU family member Artax to the Number of Murders On-track to Surpass 2021 blog.

Over the years, we’ve been having discussions on BU about the crime situation in Barbados.
And, there will obviously be attempts by some persons to politicize the situation.

I agree with AG Marshall “that the recent spate of killings resulted from gunmen in specific “groups” targeting each other,”…… and not “gangs,” as Trisha Tannis is suggesting.
Marshall would’ve obviously made his observations based on certain intelligence.

However, as I mentioned in an October 25th, 2020 12:28 PM contribution to another ‘crime thread,’…… “if one examines the gun crimes carefully, it is evident they were on the rise since 2014 and a gradual increase was expected.”

On November 11th, 2015, an ‘Updated Homicide Study’ by the Criminal Justice Research and Planning Unit revealed that 42% of the approximately 140 homicides recorded between 2010 and 2014, were as a result of guns…… ‘a trend observed as far back as 1992, and which continued to be the most common method used today.’

Evidence suggests that several persons who died as a result of shooting were not involved in ‘gangs,’ but died as a result of retaliation or revenge, petty ‘beefs’ involving women, drugs money, robberies etc.

For example, November 29th, 2014, 31 year old Ricardo Francois and other men were at bar in Danesbury, Black Rock, when some men got out of a car and started shooting.
Francois was found dead behind the shop, while four other individuals were injured…… one of whom was the son of Ricardo ‘Rick’ Bryan.
On September 1st, 2016, Ricardo ‘Rick’ Bryan, 46, of Black Rock, St Michael, was shot multiple times by three men as he exited his vehicle, outside the Lucky Horseshoe Saloon & Steakhouse in Warrens, St Michael.

Forty-four (44) year-old Jerome Oneal ‘Wild Geese’ Bovell of Spring Garden, Black Rock, St. Michael, was shot and killed in Goddings Road, St Stephen’s Hill, Black Rock, St Michael, on June 28th, 2017.
It is alleged Bovell was a ‘hit man’ and responsible for the death of Stephen Leonard Agard, 47 years of #10 Valley, St. George, who, on June 10th, 2017, was shot multiple times while standing outside his vehicle, which was parked on the compound of the old KFC building in Black Rock.

I’m sure everyone remembered when a man walked into Sheraton Center Mall, shot and killed 33 year old Damien Trotman, on March 22nd, 2019.

Another fact is, there are ‘hit men’ in Barbados. Men who are willing to kill anyone for cash or drugs.

Information and statistics about crime in Barbados is available to the public, enabling anyone desirous of having a rational discussion on the issue, to do so.

-Artax

Number of Murders On-track to Surpass 2021

The following was submitted by Amit from caribbeansignal.com. The number of murders increased from 26 to 28 since the submission – Blogmaster

 


Richard Ricardo Jordan, 51, charged with the July murder of 86-year-old Gloria Leacock (Image Source: Barbados Today)

There have been at least 26 murders between January and August 2022. The steps involved in the following analysis are similar to my 2020 analysis.

Read full report @caribbeansignal.com

Barbados Murder Statistics January to July 2022

Submitted by Amit Uttamchandani

There have been at least 18 murders for the year so far. The data presented below covers January to July 2022. The steps involved in this analysis are similar to my 2020 analysis.

Table 1 – Murders in Barbados January to July 2022

Read more @caribbeansignal.com

How Many More Must Die…We Are to Blame

The reaction by Barbadians to two more murders on the weekend evoked a predictable response – the AG should resign, what has gone wrong with our young people blah blah blah. The confirmation from the Barbados Police Service one of the men murdered was out on bail for 3 separate murders and the other well known to the ‘system’ added to the tongue wagging. The defense lawyers will argue a key tenet of jurisprudence is the presumption of innocence.

Two important considerations that are always consumed by predictable narratives at this time are parental delinquency and rehabilitation of incarcerated citizens . From where the blogmaster is perched there are no adequate mechanisms to support the two concerns which are at the root of what is causing young men and an increasing number of girls to fall through the cracks. The result is an unacceptable rate of recidivism. If there is a breakdown in the home and family unit, and the problem is made more acute by a system that pays lip service to rehabilitation of victims then society must take blame. A disproportionate focus on enforcement – which is important – will not move the needle to prevent crime in Barbados. A dysfunctional society will always be the root of the problem.


Barbados Murder Statistics 2017 to 2022

Attorney General Dale Marshall (Image Source: nationnews.com)

The recent surge in gun play in Barbados has been featured prominently in the media over the last few days (see hereherehereherehereherehere and here). 

On July 8, the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, The Honourable Dale Marshall, addressed this, and related matters, during a press conference (see here). During the presser, the AG also shared some statistics relating to murders and firearms between 2017 and present day:

“In 2017, of those 30 murders, 16 have been solved so far. In 2018, of the 28 murders, 19 have been solved, that 19 amounts to 68 per cent. In 2019, 27 of the 48 murders reported were solved; that’s 56 per cent. Of the 41 murders committed in 2020, 26 or 63 per cent have been solved [and] in 2021, 23 or 72 per cent of the 32 murders were solved. And for this year, of the 17 murders thus far, 10 have been cleared up and some of those have only happened in the last few weeks,” the Attorney General disclosed. 

Source: Barbados Government Information Service

As a Barbadian citizen and resident, the topic of crime and violence (especially gun related) is of great importance and a worry to me. However, the majority – if not all of my posts – rarely deal with my personal views and opinions. As a data analyst on the other hand, I try to focus on what is being reported (in terms of facts, figures, et cetera), and collecting, compiling and analyzing said data and information. I was therefore excited when the AG shared some statistics which I will now look at below.

Read more @caribbeansignal.com

Crime and Violence Expose Leadership Vacuum

It has been a period of uncomfortable crime and violence that has engulfed Barbados. To be expected there is finger pointing, gnashing of teeth and frustration by the public directed at the authorities. There is resignation that lawlessness has become an entrenched behaviour and the relatively quiet and orderly society that characterised Barbados society in days of yore has gone the way of the dodo.

In 2009 the blogmaster posted a number of blogs around the theme weeds were starting to shoot up on our well manicured lawns. Many commenters suggested the blogmaster was being an alarmist. In fact the same observation was levelled when BU highlighted our dysfunctional court system in the series Tales from the Courts. Sadly our leaders with the citizenry complicit because of apathy and cynicism has led to the current state of things. 

…the deviance must be tackled in the homes but guess what, we have many children who don’t live in homes. This means the government by proxy must play the role as step-father, or stepmother for that matter…

Barbados Underground (2010)

The breakdown and decline in the social fabric of Barbados society did not start ‘yesterday’. The blogmaster again recalls the hullabaloo when a decision was taken to bring Vybz Kartel and Movado to Barbados by the Barbados Youth Action Program (an organisation affiliated to government) under the chairmanship of then Minister Hamilton Lashley. It bears reminding Lashley is known as a social practitioner par excellence. These were two dancehall artists known for smutty lyrics and behaviour. Minister Ronald Jones at the time to his credit expressed displeasure at the staging of the show. Then there was the public disagreement between then Commissioner Dottin and his deputy Bertie Hinds about staging the show. This is an example to illustrate how key leaders in our small society were unable to see the obvious, a government affiliate promoting a Vybz Kartel Movado show at a time when deviant behaviour, especially by our youth, was a concerned.

The other example of double standards fast tracking the decline of the society was the so called Trojan Riddim saga – How de Yutes Get so?, a group of artists known in the music underground for pushing smutty and anti social lyrics released a video to YouTube which provoked Prime Minister Mia Mottley to demand the artists remove it. The artists ignored Mottley, however, a few weeks many of the artists were included in Barbados Labour Party (BLP) sponsored activities. Soon after government continues to contract artists who were involved, Lil Rick, Peter Ram et al.

The examples cited are representative what will inevitably occur if there is a lack of leadership. It will be supplanted by the prevailing subculture. Is it too late to stem the anti social behaviour enveloping the global space? Probably yes although the blogmaster being the eternal optimist will never say never.

Who will show us the way to the truth and the light?

George Bennett Drug Case: The Good Guys are the Bad Guys

The arrest of George Bennett, a former high ranking member of the Police Drug Squad now a practising lawyer once again confirms the whispers and rum shop talk. Although the traditional media delights in emblazoning the mugs of ‘little black boys’ on the front and court pages caught pushing drugs, commonsense supports a view that prominent, respected citizens are important links in the supply and distribution chain.

George Bennett is charged with possession, trafficking and intent to supply 253 kilograms of cannabis with a street value of 2 million, he appeared in the number 4 Supreme Court this week to apply for bail. Despite the bench strength of Bennett’s defence team which consisted of Andrew Pilgrim QC and Arthur Holder, bail was denied.

The blogmaster gives weight to the charge brought by the Royal Barbados Police Force considering the contraband was reportedly found at Bennett’s residence. His lawyers must be working overtime to discover a ‘technicality’ to earn a favourable ruling. Bennett’s relationship with the drug world probably started when he was a policeman and greed forced him to take the wrong path. The blogmaster is sure Bennett represents the ‘tip of the iceberg’. Then again there is the presumption of innocence, stop it!

The police force continues to report crime levels down although there is growing concern about the high murder rate in recent years. The truth is- in a small society a qualitative assessment must carry greater value compared to data driven conclusions. Thirteen murders for the year in tiny Barbados will impact the quality of our society more than if it were a bigger country. The level of lawlessness being witnessed in Barbados is symptomatic of a bigger problem of which members of law enforcement AND officers of the court are inextricably a part. The time has long passed to arrest the rot.

For every Bennett there are a few more to be found in Customs Department, Police Force, Immigration Department – you get the drift. To be fair to Commissioner Tyrone Griffith, he has mentioned repeatedly concerns about the quality of policing at ports of entry. We are fighting against wickedness in high places.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against a spiritual wickedness in high places.

Ephesians 6:12 KJV

The blogmaster hesitates to recommend a Rodrigo Duterte approach to arresting crime in Barbados, our docile disposition as a people and fit and proper system of governance would not permit it. However, a radical approach is always the preferred option if material change is the objective. Based on what is before us i.e. a former high ranking policeman now lawyer found with 253 kilos of cannabis at his home should be enough to support a conclusion the good guys are the bad guys.

It is important the process to recruit the next Commissioner of police to replace an invisible Tyrone Griffith is judiciously processed. The unfortunate predicament Barbados finds itself stems from the fact our decision makers are part of the problem.

The Long Road from Perdition – YOU, We and Crime


Barbadians are rightly concerned about a rise in violent crime, specifically with guns. Those in charge see it as a duty to paper over concerns because it is about maintaining calm in the society. Overall crime statistics may be trending satisfactorily for those whose job description should depend BUT there is is rising concern by the public about violent crime, specifically gun crime. A significant rise in the number of murders since 2018 has caused tongues to wag.

There are some issues we have to regard of national importance and work together to solve. While working together there must be leadership at every level to ensure the change desired is achieved. Do we have the right leaders in place as the Attorney General, Commissioner of Police, Chief Justice, Director of Public Prosecutions, Director of Welfare department, Director of Probation department, Dodds, GIS, Minister of Education – the list is not exhaustive. This is on the enforcement and rehabilitation side of the equation to curb acts of crime; recidivism.

There is more we are obligated to do. A chain is as strong as the weakest link. Each link represents YOU, YOU and YOU. We see every day the wheelies, running traffic lights, littering the environment, flouting of government’s financial rules, acceptance of monies from those in the shadows to the campaigns of politicians and so on. We know this, we see it , we condone it by turning a blind eye, then we complain.

Barbadians are happy to cede the awesome civic responsibility to politicians- we are delinquent as parents, teachers, policemen AND politicians and expect the police force, government and said other delinquent players to play clean-up. There is no doubt citizens expect if laws are broken the authorities must ensure justice is meted out swiftly. What we want as well is for deviant and dysfunctional behaviour that leads to increase crime and specifically gun crime to be arrested as well. We have to hold agencies responsible- this includes GOVERNMENT- for enforcement ACCOUNTABLE. We have to hold ourselves accountable in order to be guardians of our fate.

In much the same way garrison behaviour is a way of life in some neighbouring islands, we are seeing a similar trend of behaviour in Barbados with violent crime centred in depressed communities. In the lead in to the 2018 general election concern was expressed by some members of the public about then Opposition Leader Mia Mottley seen in the presence of questionable characters on the campaign trail. Again some questioned why questionable characters were invited to the opening of parliament. It has become too blatant for many although it is known that the relationship between the criminal element and public officials have been blurred for a long time. The chickens are coming home to roost. We have reached the tipping point. There is no moral leadership.

Has the Prime Minister addressed this video? Our leaders must not validate wrongdoing by their behaviour.

The Barbados we romanticize is no more. Like community spread of infection caused by the COVID 19 virus, so too we have community spread caused by crime. It is why the vacuous calls by politicians for citizens to give up the bad boys and girls will yield little if any positive results. The underworld economy is well managed and families and communities depend on the economic activities attached to the arrangement. In the same way extra income is derived from kitchen gardens, baking and other type activities so too is criminal activity for too many.

The recent murder of a police officer by a band of robbers in the North of the island is an example of today’s problem. The horse has bolted and it will require a long term commitment to solving the problem at every level of our small society. 

Will the real leaders raised wunna hands – that means YOU, YOU and YOU.

Death + Murder = Case of DIMINISHING Return on ROE

One of the many discussion points COVID 19 pandemic has generated is the ‘Covid 19 dashboard’. The ‘dashboard’ highlights a running number of daily, cumulative infections, active cases, number of people vaccinated, DEATHS and other information public health officials deem to be pertinent. Last evening the recent ‘dashboard’ showed the number of deaths attributed to COVID 19 had surpassed 42 for 2020 – see BU’s Murder Tracker.

An unwelcome characteristic demonstrated by Barbadians in recent years is a numbness shown to death. In 2019 the number of murders was an unprecedented 49. It was not that long ago Barbadians expressed horror at a single unnatural death on the island. The blogmaster anticipates the counter perspective will be that per thousand- Barbados despite the high number of reported murders in the last 2 years- is removed from several other countries in the region. Why then is the blogmaster consumed by an overwhelming sense of despair at the current situation? A glimmer of hope- we have passed the first quarter of 2021 with a single murder reported. Will the trend continue? The blogmaster is not optimistic.

The government is understandably consumed by the economic and COVID 19 challenges of the day. However, we must not forget the social issues we have to also manage that determine the quality of society we aspire to maintain. Although Barbados’ human development index continues to be relatively well reported, it has fallen from high of the 1990s.

An overdue discussion in the country is the causal factors driving the apathetic attitude to the rising number of murders and death in general.

There is also the sub story revealed by rising COVID 19 deaths that confirms the vulnerability of individuals afflicted with comorbidities in Barbados. It is no secret Barbados has earned the label NCD Capital of the world. It is no secret the COVID 19 virus has been unkind to this group. PAHO reports that people with underlying health problems, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer have a higher risk of severe COVID 19 disease and are more likely to die.

Although fighting the pandemic has been elevated to number one priority health issue by the global community, the enduring issue for Barbados of the high incidence of NCDs must not see this issue being subsumed and ‘deprioritized’ by the pandemic. Should the health authorities be using the opportunity to coopt simultaneous approaches to fight both health issues?

The blogmaster wants to see a greater proactive and holistic approach to managing the people’s business by government and NGO stakeholders. There is a reason funding for education is consistently in the top two allocations of the national budget. The high incidence of NCDs in Barbados and the apathy to murder and death suggest we must see a greater rate of return on education (ROE). This dysfunctional behaviour if allowed to be unrestrained does not bode well for a future Barbados.

Covid 19 Dashboard

Police Surrender to Wheelie Motorcyclists

The following video may suggest many things to different people. What is suggests to the blogmaster is a lawlessness and indiscipline that is getting close to mainstream behaviour. A situation where authorities seem helpless in the eyes of the public to curb the rot. A situation where a sub element in society has taken civil society hostage. In fact this unattended lawlessness on our roads is channelling what now obtains in the PSV sector. First we ignored it, then we paid lip service to it and now the behaviour has ‘metastasize’ to all segments of society. Have we observed how ordinary motorist are ‘bursing’ through amber and red traffic lights? Parking on side walks and other unauthorized areas? Using cellphones without handsfree etc?

Source: Nation

BU family member John A posted the following eyewitness account of the unbelievable lawlessness we are witnessing on our roads on a daily basis. This coupled with the fact police and government appear feckless.


David I am so happy you showed that video as I saw the idiots myself on Sunday, so let me share what happened.

I was in a line of traffic moving slowly coming into Warrens from the south coast on the highway around 5pm.

When I finally got to Warrens round about it was these idiots who were the problem. They were riding between the Warrens roundabout and the Shopsmart roundabout taking up both lanes of traffic. Bikes on only back wheels, quads sliding from side to side and no cars could pass them. When they got to the Cost-U-Less roundabout they then went back to Warrens. I saw at least 30 of them in Warrens, but also passed another 20 or so on the side of the road by Kooyman Hardware store.

My point is what de ass are the police doing about this? Why must joggers and others using the road be abused by a handful of idiots every Sunday?

I also noticed in the video when they saw the police vehicles they scattered like flies. No doubt none have insurance and few may even have a bike license. This problem has been going on for months on a Sunday, so why has it not been dealt with? They are certain parts of the ABC highway that have rock faces on both sides, hence no escape. Why hasn’t a trap been set for them in such areas?

It is a disgrace that the authorities are so inept when it comes to this issue. It is only a matter of time before one of these idiots kills either a jogger or someone on the road side.

Dam well get up and deal with it!

This island seems to have lost all control over enforcement of law and the message these idiots are sending to others is WE CAN DO WHAT WE WANT AND NO ONE CAN TOUCH US.

BU Commenter John A