PM Opens Witness Care Conference

Nassau, The Bahamas – Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham officially opened the Witness Care Conference February 10, a two-day event organised by the Office of the Attorney General in conjunction with the Royal Bahamas Police Force.

In his keynote address the Prime Minister said crime and the fear of crime and efforts to reduce crime and criminality occupy the minds of the Government and the population of the Bahamas everyday.  The Prime Minister expressed the Government’s commitment to increase human and financial resources in the fight against crime.

“That the Bahamian judicial system requires modernisation is a given,” said the Prime Minister. To achieve criminal justice substantial reform and transformation is required at all levels especially in law enforcement, legal and judicial, he said.

He listed several initiatives in modernisation including management and administration of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, modern technology for crime fighting, upgrade and increase of the courts, the commencement of a continuous programme of law reform, introduction of stenographers to the court system, amendments to the penal code and more recently introduction of electronic monitoring of persons on bail.

The conference is designed to address the “gaps” and “inefficiencies” in the criminal justice system and to bring together all partners and affiliated interest groups to view the system from the perspective of victims and witnesses.

The event is being held from February 10-12 at the Police Conference Centre.  Among those in attendance was Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs the Hon. John Delaney; the Hon. Tommy Turnquest, Minister of National Security; the Hon. Loretta Butler-Turner, Minister of State for Social Development; Archie Nairn, permanent secretary; police commissioner Ellison Greenslade, Vinette Graham-Allen, director of public prosecution; and Debra Fraser, director of legal affairs. The Royal Bahamas Police Force provided entertainment for the event.

Simon Deacy, consultant, serves as facilitator for the conference. He is a retired chief superintendent of police in the United Kingdom and was a “National No Witness No Justice” project manager for England and Wales.

By Kathryn Campbell
Bahamas Information Services