Darrell Weir, executive chairman, Tanya Moss, executive treasurer and Sgt Josey, office administrator of the Police Staff Association. Photo: Edward Russell III
By Royston Jones Jr
Nassau Guardian Staff Reporter
NASSAU, Bahamas -- In the aftermath of a police officer being shot six times over the weekend, the Police Staff Association (PSA) plans to once again press The Bahamas government and the hierarchy of the police force to allow all officers to be armed when off-duty.
PSA executive chairman Sergeant Darrell Weir said the PSA will no longer “bury its head in the sand” while criminal activity threatens officers’ lives.
“We are of the view that this should spark serious consideration with regards to officers being allowed to be armed on a 24-hour basis,” said Weir during a press conference at PSA headquarters on Tuesday.
“In the coming days we will formally address this matter with the commissioner of police and the government. We are confident that the commissioner will continue to act in the best interest of all officers and the general public.”
As it stands, many officers in the lower ranks are not allowed to carry guns home after their shifts are officially over.
Wilfred Christopher Atherley, a corporal with more than 20 years of service on the police force was attacked around 10:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Initial reports indicate that the officer, who is in his 40s, was approached then shot by a masked gunman as he walked to his car.
The Nassau Guardian was told by law enforcement sources that Atherley visited his 15-year-old daughter minutes before the shooting.
Weir was reluctant to reveal personal details about the wounded officer, but said that Atherley’s condition had been upgraded to stable yesterday.
“It’s no secret that the days are gone where persons will resolve their conflicts in a peaceful manner -- the order of the day is guns... and we must not play the fool and say we don’t know what’s going on,”?he said.
“It’s no use when we knock off [to have] to turn the firearm in, because the same brother we locked up today, we are going to see him out there and he’s not going to say, ‘Hold on, you have your gun on you? Let me allow you to go and get your gun’.”
Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade said on Monday that police would spare no effort to ensure the “coward, culprit or culprits” responsible for attacking Atherley are brought to justice.
At least three officers have been shot this year, including reservist Dennis Clarke, who was killed during a robbery outside a laundromat on May 31.
Attempts to reach officials in the Ministry of National Security for comment were unsuccessful up to press time.
Republished with permission of the Nassau Guardian