Attorney General Dale Marshall says there is no immediate fix to the gun-related crime in Barbados and stressed that national public safety is everyone’s responsibility.
He was speaking on Friday at a media conference in the Cabinet Conference Room at Government Headquarters alongside the Commissioner of Police Richard Boyce.
The St Joseph MP said: “Government interventions are targeted and they are well thought out and I assure you they will be pursued with determination, but in all of this, there must be a sense of realism and we have to accept that we [all] have a role to play. The situation of gun crime did not develop overnight and there are no three-point plans, there are no immediate solutions to turn this thing around. It requires a steady hand and a long term solution.”
Marshall said the Barbados Police Service was working assiduously to eliminate gun crime on the island and since 2017 have taken 465 guns off the streets, 55 this year. The Police service also has 18 investigators who work solely on gun-related crime.
The Attorney General addressed the nation on the back of a spike in gun-related violence in recent weeks where there were shooting incidents at Cavans Lane, The City; Horse Hill, St Joseph; Cave Hill, St Michael; and Long Bay, St Philip leaving four people dead and multiple injured.
Earlier this month, managing director of RJG Boat Rides, Russell Wilson, joined the growing voices of those condemning gun violence in Barbados in the wake of the Cavans Lane incident.
Boyce sought to reassure the nation that they were on top of the situation.
“Violence, especially firearm-related violence, will not be tolerated. That is the message I would like to send to those persons who are out there in possession of firearms. It is not the Barbadian way of life. It was never the Barbadian culture so I want to re-emphasise that message that wherever those guns are, members of the Barbados Police Service will be out and about taking those weapons out of those persons’ hands.”
So far this year there have been 17 murders, 12 of which came by use of a firearm at a clearance rate of 58 per cent.
In 2017, there were 30 murders, 23 of which were done by firearms at a clearance rate of 53 per cent. In 2018, there was a small decrease in murders with 28 people being killed, 18 of which were done by firearms at a clearance rate of 67 per cent.
In 2019, the number of murders jumped to 48, 30 of which were by firearms. Police have solved just over half of them. There was a slight drop to 41 in 2020, 26 of which were by firearms. Last year there was a further drop to 32 murders, 17 of which were by the gun.
By The Gun
To July 8, 2022
Statistics courtesy AG and Barbados Police Service.
Marshall said that unsolved murders were still under investigation at this time but they were a “painstaking process”.
On June 25, Boyce said there were 13 murders, compared to 11 at that same time in 2021.
Similarly, there were 46 robberies this year compared with 42 last year, 26 rapes this year compared with 30 last year and 30 aggravated burglaries at June 25th this year compared with 33 for the corresponding period of 2021. (JC)