Categorized | National News

Safe Bahamas Produces Results, Says Minister

State Minister for National Security Keith Bell claimed yesterday that the introduction of Project Safe Bahamas has led to an increase in the number of guns and drugs being confiscated off the streets.

During his contribution in the Senate, Minister Bell said Bahamians are beginning to “see and feel” a difference in the levels of crime and criminality in the country.

“Ours is not an easy road ahead, but with God’s grace and guidance, we will deliver a safer Bahamas,” he said.

The senator, who is also a former chief superintendent in the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF), said firearm seizures are up by more than 35 per cent with more than 300 illegal firearms being taken off the streets so far for the year.

Drug seizures, he said, remain “notable” with a total of 125 pounds of cocaine and more than 2,700 pounds of marijuana seized thus far for 2012.

Senator Bell said the re-introduction of the Urban Renewal Programme has also had a tremendous impact on crime and criminality.

“Urban Renewal is in full motion,” he said. “We are taking away the spaces from criminal operations and enterprises. Just recently, as Urban Renewal commenced clearing of a tract of land near Jubilee Gardens known for criminal activities, more than a pound of marijuana was discovered.”

“In every area where properties are being cleared and old and abandoned buildings are being demolished, stolen property is being recovered or drugs and illegal weapons are being found.”

Minister Bell said the Christie administration assured the heads of the country’s various law enforcement and national security agencies that they would be allowed to manage their affairs free of political interference and that the system is reaping huge dividends.

“On our campaign trail, we assured the commissioner and the RBPF and the wider law enforcement branch that we would fully restore their authority and autonomy and allow them to perform their jobs without ankle bracelets,” he said.

“Since the FNM Government interfered with the running of the force since 2007, crime has spiraled out of control. By the end of 2007, crime was rising sharply. There was an 11 percent increase in major crime commission. In 2008, it rose again by some 12 per cent.”

He continued, “Although crime declined by a mere three percent by the end of 2009, this had no impact due to the sharp increases in the previous years. In 2010, overall crime again rose by some 13 percent and continued to steadily rise in 2011 up to some seven per cent. We came into office with confidence that we will be able to reduce crime and the fear thereof.”

The senator said he was “surprised and shocked at the attacks” launched by former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham and other members of the Opposition Free National Movement” against Police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade with regards to the reduced levels of crime and criminality in The Bahamas.

“Whilst in office, he along with his ministers, directly interfered with the police force and for the reasons stated previously, sought to control the office through legislation,” Mr. Bell said.

“Now, after the Bahamian people have voted in favour of a new government – one who made it their expressed position to reverse their illogical and in the present case unconstitutional decision – they decide to attack the commissioner knowing that by the very nature of his office he cannot respond. 

“What’s more surprising is the comments were not limited to one member of the opposition on some frolic; they were followed up by others,” Senator Bell added.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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