As an archipelagic nation, protecting the country’s borders could be quite challenging.
According to officials, it not only places heavy demand on manpower but financial and other resources, which is only further complicated by the global economy’s slow recovery.
This is particularly why regional and international cooperation is key to The Bahamas’ anti-crime agenda.
It is in that vein that local and United States officials teamed up yesterday for their first bilateral dialogue on citizen security and law enforcement priorities.
Among those addressing the group was National Security Minister, Dr. Bernard Nottage said this has become even more important in recent years with the rise in crime throughout the region, which has been marked by an increase use of more powerful weapons; a disturbing trend that has been coupled with the drug trafficking.
“The illicit trafficking and use of firearms, none of which are manufactured in The Bahamas, is wreaking havoc in our society.
During the year 2011, we experienced 127 homicides in The Bahamas and thus far this year, 107 have been reported. Some 60 per cent of these have been caused by the use of illegal firearms,” the minister said.
“Similarly, in the United States, the illicit use of firearms often brings immeasurable loss as evidenced elementary school massacre that took place in the state of Connecticut this past Friday. We share our sympathy, sadness and concern.”
Minister Nottage said this calls for the fight against arms and trafficking to measure up to the fight against illicit drugs and other transnational crimes.
“The Bahamas remains committed to seeing the successful conclusion of a United Nations Small Arms Treaty destruction that will impose obligations on nations to implement more effective means of guns and ammunitions control. We owe it to the world to do all that is humanely possible to free ourselves from the enslavement of a gun culture that is taking us down a road of destruction,” he said.
According to experts, many criminals have been victims of criminality and social injustice themselves.
With that mind, Minister Nottage called for there to be strong social intervention programmes working in tandem with crime control strategies to break the cycle of crime.
The minister expressed confidence that in the end, Monday’s dialogue will assist both countries in refining strategies to build safer communities.