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.

Internet Town Hall on Crime & Violence – All Are Invited

With the tranquil landscape of Barbados being routinely disturbed by a culture of gun violence an unprecedented murder rate.  Civil society is being encouraged to frankly discuss short term and long term measures to implement to arrest the trending. BU commenter Greene posted the following measures (with minor edits by the blogmaster) to kickoff Barbados Underground Internet Town Hall on Crime & ViolenceHow to Arrest it NOW.

David, Barbados Underground

Short term measures

  1. Come right out and tell Bajans that the young men in some areas are murderers and are terrorising BIM by killing one another and if they continue so the Govt will have to invite people in BIM to take their place in BIM.
  2. Tell them that the illegal drug trade and reprisals are responsible for murders. that the guns are coming through the Port and that any government officials including but not limited to politicians, police and customs involved and caught will be punished severely. Change the official corruption laws to suit.
  3. Tell mothers and women by accepting drug money and turning a blind eye to the activities of their sons and boyfriends that they part of the problem.
  4. Enforce or implement Money Laundering and asset forfeiture Laws
  5. Second half the Defence Force to the police as patrol units in hot spot with a view to engage and challenge suspected drug and gun men/dealers based on intelligence in the first place and observation when they are in the area.
  6. Actually engage and if fired upon shoot to kill taking into consideration threats to their own lives and dangers posed to others in the area.
  7. Speedy Trials
  8. Look to pop some necks even if it means changing the laws.
  9. Discuss openly about what is causing the problems and solicit solutions.
  10. Seek a truce between warring factions with a forum where where they can confront each other in a neutral setting (do not know if this is possible).
  11. Look at witnesses protection with a view to sending those who qualify to other participatory islands/ countries.
  12. Provide and lease farm land to young men and women who say they have nothing to do.
  13. Teach civics from primary school with an established set of ideals that we expect from Bajans.

And I would say all this to the public.

Long term

  1. Look to change the school system to make it more hands on for boys with more technical subjects.
  2. Revert to single sex schools
  3. Provide counselling or more counselling for troubled youths and parents with early intervention programmes.
  4. Improve the lot of the police by paying them more and making the service more attractive. If the Government says they have no money they can exempt police, fire and prisons (emergency services) from income taxes and provide free health care at any private facility.
  5. Disband the Defence Force and recruit those who want to and are qualified into the police, fire service and prisons.
  6. Change corruption and other associated laws.
  7. Make marijuana legal for anyone over 18.
  8. Decriminalize other hard drugs treating them as a health issue and not a legal issue.
  9. Alter all the above from time to time to suit the changing circumstances.
  10. Look to improve the long term economic and employment situation.

Murder Statistics May 2019


May 2019 saw four murders taking place in Barbados (26 for the year so far). Two of them took place in St. Philip, while the rest occurred in St. Michael and St. James respectively. The four victims were all male, and three were shooting related deaths. One victim died as a result of being stabbed. The data was collected and compiled based on reports in the media.

See graphs