BCCI meets with police to discuss ways to combat crime – The country’s gun violence is causing concern in the business community. Anthony Branker, President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry is the latest leader to appeal to Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados, to quickly address the issue.
On Tuesday, he made a sincere plea ahead of what promises to be a busy season for tourists and as officials try to attract more foreign direct investment.
Branker stated that he will seek an audience with the relevant Government officials in the next few days to discuss the options and make suggestions. Branker suggested that a mandatory program of skills and discipline be introduced for underachievers. He was concerned about the fact that many young people are leaving school without a clear future.
This is in response to a recent appeal for talks between the Government and Trisha Tannis, Chairman of Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA), regarding the horrific gun violence in Barbados.
Tannis was especially concerned about the fact that crime is becoming more aggressive and deadly.
About 30 of the 40 murders that were recorded as of Friday were gun-related.
Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Canada, expressed concern about the crime situation and gave assurances that work is already underway to address it.
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During the BCCI’s annual luncheon at the Lloyd Erskine Sandy Centre, the topic of crime was brought up.
According to the Chamber head, while it was acceptable to highlight educational standards and other attributes in order to do business on the Island, it was unacceptable that crime continues to be a problem.
“As we near our 56th year in Independence, I’m sure we’d agree that we are proud of our high quality healthcare system, sound education standards, good nutrition, and a healthy environment. Branker stated that having a peaceful and safe place to live is a priority for all of us.
“Barbados is a popular tourist destination and has a reputation for being one of the most safe places in the Caribbean. This is Barbados that we love and want for our country to continue its greatness. The business community, like many Barbadians is concerned by the high level of gun violence in many areas on the island. He said that our concern is magnified as the peak of the tourist season approaches.”
Branker stated that the BCCI would soon send a letter to the Government, “seeking an audience so the private sector can understand the plan to combat this blight in our society”.
He stated that the BCCI believed that long-term success in the fight against gun violence was dependent on a multi-faceted approach to treating root causes.
“We have to be prepared to send school dropouts who are not performing well to a mandatory residential program of skills and discipline. This is not something the Government can do alone. Branker stated that all Barbadians, at both the corporate and individual levels, must be willing to invest in this program to save our fair country.
He stated that the BCCI was ready to offer its expertise and, where possible, to form partnerships with Governments and non-governmental organizations to find a solution.
Renee Coppin, Chair of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association, called for authorities to control crime. She noted that although crime against tourists was still low, there was a growing concern about the intrusion of criminal elements into communities.
Mia Mottley was the BCCI’s featured speaker at the end-of-year luncheon. She expressed concern about the country’s crime situation.
“The whole issue of crime, there’s nothing that worries me more in this country than it. Mottley said, “There is nothing that keeps me awake more than this.”
She stated that she was pursuing a multifaceted approach to solving the problem. This includes continued improvements to the judicial system, which will allow for faster judgments and better policing, as well as training of the armed forces.
Mottley stated that “We have already reached back to a number of countries to strengthen that training,” and that the COVID-19 pandemic was an indicator of the crime fighting efforts for 2020 and 2021.
Mottley stated that around 80 percent of the murder and gun crimes cases in the law courts had been committed before her administration came into office. “We have added judges and prosecutors to see if they can reduce those, so that we don’t have the horrible spectacle of people on bail with two or three murder charges not being committed at the same moment, walking about Barbados.”
The Firearms (Amendment Bill) Bill was passed by the Government in the House of Assembly at the end of the month. This allows repeat gun offenders to be sentenced to life imprisonment.