By Royston Jones Jr.
Nassau Guardian Staff Reporter
NASSAU, Bahamas -- Responding to criticisms of the government’s recently announced crime strategies, Prime Minister Perry Christie said on Friday his administration will not compromise in its crime fight as it seeks to prevent a “culture of killing” in The Bahamas.
Prime Minister Perry Christie. Photo: Ahvia J. Campbell
“I was told that the reverend gentleman (Bishop Simeon Hall) is in the newspapers saying the criminals are laughing at me based on a statement we made about a plan to fight more aggressively and escalate the war on crime,” Christie said at an Urban Renewal luncheon.
“As the leader of the government, I will not compromise on the effort to fight crime from a policing and regulating point of view.
“There is no compromise in me in that, and as I’ve told the minister for national security, I am not prepared to have my own legacy, my own reputation, tied to a total reliance on the Royal Bahamas Police Force, and the leadership of that force,” he said.
“To the extent that I am leader of the country, I am going to be intrusive in ensuring that the system that we are operating under is accountable to the people of this country, and I have the position where I have to require them to be accountable to the people of this country.”
Hall, former chairman of the National Advisory Council, said on Thursday that the criminals are “laughing” at the government’s crime strategies.
“Obviously, the criminals scoffed at Mr Christie's 20-point plan because within hours they just went ahead and did what they wanted to do," he said.
Hall was referring to the four murders that took place in the days after Christie revealed the plan to “escalate” the war on crime.
Another murder occurred on Thursday night -- the third for 2014.
In 2013, the country recorded 120 murders.
Christie said police officers must make their presence known on the streets of New Providence and cannot allow criminals to go around wreaking havoc without fear.
“I am hoping and praying that police officers... will understand that they cannot allow these young men to be so offensively and insultingly positioning the police force as if they do not count, indifferent to their existence,” he said.
He added: “If I have to put a policeman and a police car on every corner, as they do in some countries, we are going to communicate to the criminals in this country that we are going to rout them out wherever they are.
“Whatever it takes, we are going to dedicate to that happening. We are not going to allow a small group of young men in particular, [who are] sometimes harboured by their parents or protected by their girlfriends, to destroy the future of The Bahamas.”
Christie said criminals have waged war on Bahamians and the government, through its law enforcement agencies, will mobilize and respond with equal force.
He urged religious leaders to contribute more and asked them to be more understanding of the challenges that Bahamians and the government are confronting.
Republished with permission of the Nassau Guardian