Categorized | National News

Anti-Crime Group Calls For Action

The recent murders of a two-year-old boy and a teen girl have sparked much concern amongst members of the anti-crime organisation, Citizens For Justice, which is again calling on the church and civil society to join the crime fight.

“We cannot and will not ignore these anti-social destructive behaviours that have left so many in fear as young men continue to terrorise both locals and tourists with their criminal actions,” said the group’s chairman, Bishop Walter Hanchell.

On Friday, a toddler was beaten to death.

On August 11, police found 18-year-old Altanika Young’s body through a road near St. Augustine’s Monastery.

She was strangled to death.

On Monday, Cameron Vincent was charged in court with Young’s murder.

Bishop Hanchell said the murder rate is still “much too high for such a small nation.”

“Per capita, The Bahamas is fast becoming one of the most violent nations on Earth and we must find ways to reverse this trend,” he said in a press statement.

Bishop Hanchell commended National Security Minister, Dr. Bernard Nottage for arranging “Operation Cease Fire” in order to get the support and input of various segments of society in reducing violent crime.

“Citizens For Justice believes that the church has a pivotal role to play and again calls for the church to immediately put boots on the ground in urban hot spots to minister to residents and deal with the social challenges that the people are faced with daily,” he said.

He urged churches to implement outreach programmes and initiatives that address the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of our families.

Pastors and their members, he said, are expected to go into communities in a systematic way in order to effectively minister to the people.

He said much work needs be done in the area of counselling and conflict resolution.

“Citizens For Justice is calling for the return of corporal punishment for violent offenders and capital punishment for convicted murders as laid out in the laws of The Bahamas. Longer sentences with hard labour are recommended. The business community, civic organizations and non-governmental agencies are expected to provide the necessary resources for the funding of current programmes and new initiatives,” he said.

“The government should cause sufficient funds to be allocated for social programs that deal with rehabilitation, poverty, housing the homeless, feeding the hungry, financial empowerment, job creation and youth programmes.

The anti-crime group says it also wants the Bail Act amended to ensure that individuals charged with murder, rape, armed robberies and the sexual abuse of minors are denied bail.

“Cases must be tried quickly and without the normal long delays that victims see as injustices that allow accused persons to walk the streets. Lawyers manipulate the system to get bail, thus causing their clients to commit more crime and intimidate witnesses,” Bishop Hanchell said.

“Laws should be passed to see that restitution is made by convicted offenders to the children and families of murder victims. We believe in restorative justice and the education and rehabilitation of criminal offenders.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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