Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage jumped to the police commissioner’s defence, after his failure to produce crime statistics for the first six months of the year, to support his claim that serious crimes are down by six per cent over last year.
Since Commissioner Ellison Greenslade made the announcement last week Monday, he still has not released any statistics to substantiate his claims.
Commissioner Greenslade credited a heightened police presence and the reintroduction of Urban Renewal for the slight decrease.
But his comments aren’t sitting well with the former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham and members of the Opposition, who have since criticised the commissioner for becoming too politically motivated.
Asked when the crime statistics would be released, Dr. Nottage said he did not know as the decision is under the commissioner’s purview.
“But the commissioner made a similar statement in April of this year and I don’t know why people are now questioning it. What’s the reason for the questions that didn’t arise before,” Dr. Nottage said.
“This is not the first time he has given crime statistics for the year. But he has indicated that he will release those statistics in due course and so I’m sure that he will.”
Commissioner Greenslade has since said that he is not prepared to release the statistics for the first six months yet.
With that aside, Minister Nottage admitted the country’s drug problem remains a huge concern.
Just last month, Grand Bahama police discovered 30 marijuana fields containing thousands of plants, worth an estimated $40 million.
“Our concern is that the authorities have the capacity to detect drugs wherever they are and to deal with it,” he said.
While he said there is fairly good evidence that authorities are having some success, Dr. Nottage could not say to what extent.
The national security minister admitted that while law enforcement officials are well equipped to detect drugs, more resources are needed.
“We’ve discussed the possibility of deploying helicopters either if we are able to secure them ourselves or through cooperation with United States authorities. We’ve had some preliminary thoughts about how we could improve that,” Dr. Nottage said.
As for individuals bringing drugs through the airport, the minister said he believes there are adequate resources in place to deal with that.