From right: Minister of National Security Dr Bernard Nottage, Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade and Assistant Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson. Ahvia J. Campbell
By Krystel Rolle
Nassau Guardian Staff Reporter
NASSAU, Bahamas -- In the face of the recent dramatic rise in murders and violent attacks in The Bahamas, National Security Minister Dr Bernard Nottage on Friday announced that all police officers on New Providence will immediately be placed on 12-hour shifts.
Additionally, he said 150 defence force marines will be immediately deployed to assist with the crime fight.
“This will have the effect of doubling the number of officers on the frontline,” he said during a press conference at police headquarters.
“Secondly, all officers on the police band, as a consequence of this, have been deployed to front line policing. Further, I wish to advise members of the public that for the time being, all requests for the use of the police band have been suspended.”
The announcement of the initiatives, which all take effect today, came as Nottage acknowledged that gang and turf wars have fueled the recent increase in violence. In the past two weeks, 13 people have been murdered.
Nottage added that police officers serving in administrative and support service capacities will also be deployed to the front line.
He said a police superintendent has been charged to take over the firearms and tracing investigation unit. That superintendent will be joined by a team of weapons experts and sharp shooters. Nottage said this will result in an increase in the firearms unit by 100 percent.
The minister said significant resources have been added to the Homicide Unit of the Central Detective Unit (CDU). The Armed Robbery Unit and Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) has also be adjusted and enhanced, he said.
The marines will be deployed to execute sedentary and other duties normally carried out by members of the police force so that the maximum number of police officers who have been trained to fight crime and enforce law and are deployed to the front line, according to Nottage.
The initiatives will result in an increase of up to 350 officers on the front lines, Nottage said.
“We must and will flush out from among us the criminals along with their illegal firearms and drugs which seem to be fueling crime,” he said.
As it relates to resources, Nottage said the government has ordered additional patrol cars and has pledged to provide the force with additional man power and resources as needed.
“The government of The Bahamas is deeply troubled by the murders that have taken place in our country and what appears to be the wanton disregard for human life, law and order,” Nottage said. “The violence and lawlessness poses a very real danger to our peace and stability.
“This situation cannot continue like this without a response commensurate with the wanton acts of violence and lawlessness. It must be a response that will halt the current spike in criminal activity in general, and murders in particular, in the shortest possible time.”
Nottage said the most recent murder and several of the other killings in the past days seem to be retaliation killings.
On Thursday night, Leroy Adderley, 48, who was acquitted of raping a 12-year-old girl, was shot and killed.
While not referring specifically to Adderley, Nottage said many of this year’s murder victims have criminal backgrounds or are out on bail.
He said the government is currently in talks with the judiciary in an effort to determine how it can keep criminals off the streets.
He noted that the government also started the process to increase the judiciary’s capacity to try cases.
“There is going to be no let up in the fight against crime,” Nottage said.
Republished with permission of the Nassau Guardian