By Royston Jones Jr
Nassau Guardian Staff Reporter
NASSAU, Bahamas -- The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) plans to assist the government in its fight against crime by funding a targeted social intervention program, and urban and development projects in The Bahamas amid a “marked increase in the threat of crime”.
“The IDB is embarking on the preparation of inputs for funding a citizen security and justice program, which will aid in the implementation of targeted social interventions, as well as urban planning and development projects, while also strengthening the public sector’s institutional capacity to respond to crime,” the IDB said in its Caribbean Regional Quarterly Bulletin released on Monday.
It said that as it seeks to assist the government with its crime fight, the Bahamian government has agreed to be a part of a technical cooperation project.
The project is aimed at assessing how crime and violence have become one of the major obstacles to human and economic development, the IDB said.
The study will address crime data collection issues, in collaboration with the Department of Statistics, the IDB noted.
It is expected to help increase public understanding of community violence and the ways in which it is inextricably linked to violence in the home.
The IDB said the baseline data will be channeled into the analysis for the citizens security and justice program.
The institution cited the Caribbean Human Development Report 2012, which recommended that the government revamp public institutions to tackle crime and violence while boosting preventative measures.
It also published a portion of Prime Minister Perry Christie’s address to the CARICOM heads of government meeting in July.
During that address, Christie called on the United States and other developed countries to do more to help the region fight crime.
“Prime Minister Perry Christie highlighted that the security of the United States and Canada are also under threat and these countries should therefore dedicate more resources to enable the region in fighting the scourge of crime, given the limited resources of countries in the region,” the IDB said.
In its report, the IDB highlighted a marked increase in the threat of crime in The Bahamas and the shortcomings of the judiciary.
The IDB said preliminary data obtained from the police force suggests that while crime against property has decreased overall, there remains a high prevalence of crime against persons, particularly attempted rape.
Between January and July 2013, attempted rape increased by 116 percent in comparison to the corresponding period for 2012, the report highlighted.
The IDB published crime statistics in The Bahamas between January and July 2012, and January and July 2013, and called the level of murders and other violent crimes “worrying”.
At the time the report was compiled -- August 12 -- the country had recorded 58 murders. The murder count as of yesterday stood at 81 for 2013.
Turning to the judiciary, the IDB pointed out issues associated with the court system.
“In some cases it takes very long for criminal matters to proceed from the Magistrate’s Court to the Supreme Court and even longer to [receive] a hearing date,” the IDB said.
“It has been noted that there are over 50 cases that have passed the six-month period where judgments have not been rendered, but given the five criminal courts in operation, the capacity is for between 200 and 250 criminal cases to be heard within a year.”
Republished with permission of the Nassau Guardian