Former policemen blame govt, judiciary for crime problem
By Chester Robards
Guardian Staff Reporter
Two former police officers who retired as top brass policemen have separately blamed the government or the judiciary for the country’s overwhelming crime problems.
Paul Thompson, who retired from the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) as an assistant commissioner of police, insisted that the long delays in The Bahamas’ court system are to blame for the delays in justice and therefore crime on the streets.
He said that during his time on the force the court system handled criminals much differently than it does today.
“If you were a hardened criminal and the magistrate knew you have convictions previously for the crime you are charged with, you weren’t getting bail,” Thompson said.
“The problem with the court is the long delays with cases taking three to four years to reach court.
“You are going to have a problem with witnesses remembering things, you are going to have problems finding the witnesses — they may have relocated — then you have given the accused people the opportunity to approach those witnesses over that period of time and there could be threats, intimidation and that kind of thing.”
Former police deputy superintendent and politician, Errington “Bumpy” Watkins, insisted that the government is to be blamed for the level of crime in the country. He lamented, however, that the police force is continuously blamed for crime.
“The crime, mind you, is due to the politicians,” he said.
“The poor policemen carry the blame. Police don’t get the appreciation they deserve from the public and this is a fact.
“While you guys are sleeping and enjoying yourselves at night we are out there with the criminals being shot at and being stoned and what not.”
Minister of National Security Tommy Turnquest recently suggested that some judges have contributed to the crime problem because they are too lenient in the granting of bail
The government is the constant target of political criticisms for the increasing crime problem.
Thompson insisted that during his time as a part of the RBPF, officers were faced with crimes involving knives, razors, shotguns and eventually sawed-off shotguns.
However, he said the criminal element has upped the level of violence with the consistent use of guns.
“Today it’s very violent,” he said.
“We didn’t have the technology they do today, but the men of (my) era had the courage, the integrity and the follow up. They never stopped looking and we benefitted a lot for the courts at that time.”
Sep 30, 2011