The Attorney General of Barbados on Friday announced a new security strategy designed to stop a worrying influx of illegal weapons into the country which has up to now recorded 12 gun-related deaths for 2022.
Moreover, AG Dale Marshall told a press conference at Government Headquarters today that the times of the “faceless” enablers of gun crime who’re calling the shots, were numbered.
Marshall, who was joined by Commissioner of Police Richard Boyce, hosted the press conference to deal with the present crime situation and specifically a spike in gun violence in recent weeks together with other areas of violent crime which have solid a pall of fear and anxiety over the island.
He disclosed that a part of the technique to stymie the firearms trade through Barbados is to take care of the countries of origin for the weapon shipment.
“We’ve got settled on an MOU [Memorandum of Understanding] with certain specialised United States agencies to do numerous things which is able to assist in our mutual ability to take care of the illegal trafficking of firearms, “ he announced. “We’re intent that we’re put ready that we’re higher capable of take care of those things in a cross border way. We’re also going to be, consequently of that MOU, increased training of our customs officers,” the Government’s top legal advisor told reporters.
Marshall said police and government authorities are aware of the resourcefulness of the criminal element who’re capable of disassemble the guns and ship them in multiple ways.
Consequently, the AG added, local authorities can be equipping the border security officials to have the ability to discover those methods and act on them.
“What is vital to us is to make sure that that our officers, our border protection agencies are fully capable of spot them after they see them,” he promised.
Marshall revealed that the Commissioner of Police has signed the MOU which is now within the hands of the US Embassy here in Barbados.
On the 2019 charge by former commissioner Tyrone Griffith that corruption on the ports of entry was to be blamed for the shortage of success in stemming the flow of weapons into this country, AG Marshall acknowledged that “bad apples” exist in every segment of the Barbadian society. He told journalists of Government’s plans to weed out any such elements from the general public service.
“Of tremendous importance to us, is how we take care of those bad apples. One in all the things that the Government is attempting to wrestle to the bottom is the difficulty of truth verification, also often called polygraphing,” he announced.
The AG said Barbados has settled on a CARICOM policy for polygraphing in order that individuals who work in specialised areas and are at certain levels of seniority can be required to do truth verification to certain levels across the board.
“We try to achieve an accord with the varied unions to have the ability to totally implement that truth verification strategy across our public service,” he stated.
“The very fact is, if you happen to are subject to truth verification, to polygraphing, then it allows us to have the ability to make your mind up where we put whom…to weed out one person or the subsequent. The police service frequently does truth verification on its members and I actually have asked them to heighten it. There are parts of Government where you don’t get hired today unless you first undergo a polygraph test, “ Marshall identified.
He explained that the international standard has been that so long as an individual is working in certain sensitive agencies, they must subject themselves to a polygraph to guard the integrity of the system.
“I acknowledge that there have been defects. A few of those defects have been recognised and a few of those defects have been exposed. The work continues. You asked, ‘are we intercepting any of those guns on the port?’ The reply sir, is yes, we’re. Can we do more? Probably,” the Attorney General declared.
Nonetheless, he argued that to ensure that more to be done, it might require a combined approach between the police, the customs department, the administration on the port, and the administration of the airport.
“All of those are inputs into our ability to successfully take care of the problems. We all know for instance, that folks have shipped firearms into Barbados through our courier services. It doesn’t make the courier service bad. It just means there are specific institutional weaknesses that we have now to discover and we have now to eliminate. And that work continues,” Marshall revealed.
“Let me assure you…that is a relentless battle. It’s like healthcare. You bought to deal with it each day. You don’t take care of it now and know that you just are covered for all eternity. Each day, the criminal element finds a new strategy. We’ve got to identify it, we have now to reply, we have now to move it off,” he contended.
Marshall admitted that there have been difficulties with regard to stemming the flow of guns into Barbados, even suggesting that they might still exist.
“But I’ll say to you that the agencies are working in a collaborative way and I think…the situation won’t be perfect…but I think we’re reaping rewards,” in accordance with the Attorney General.
Commissioner Boyce agreed that attacking the source of the illegal guns coming into the island was key.
“We’re fighting the firearm issue downstream. Downstream within the sense that firearms will not be produced in Barbados. Our method is a second or third-tier intervention,” Boyce said.
“The primary aspect of the entire firearm issue is the source area. And the source areas are outside of our control. That’s in other countries. So what we can be doing is talking to and looking out at how we are able to best prepare for this firearm issue,” the COP identified.
He said that’s the reason members of the police service should be involved and energetic in knowing what is occurring.
Commissioner Boyce also assured Barbadians that with mass gatherings and mass movement of individuals through the Crop Over Festival, officers of the service can be present with them to make sure their safety.
“Individuals should be willing to go about their places without that fear of being threatened, harmed or otherwise, whether it’s a firearm or regardless of the violence is,” he added.
“I can assure the general public that we within the Barbados Police Service can be with them out in the sector, moving back and forth, ensuring that each one areas, especially where these Crop Over events are being heard…music, dance…or whatever, our men and our women can be of their numbers out in the sector and making people feel protected and secure,” the police commissioner pledged.