The annual drug report prepared by the United States government usually provides interesting commentary on the state of drug trafficking to and through The Bahamas.
In the 2011 report, which was released last week, the U.S. government again made suggestions to the Bahamian government to reform the criminal justice system in this country.
“However, a need still exists to reduce the long delays in resolving extradition requests and other criminal cases as an existing trend of law enforcement successes have been undermined by an overburdened Bahamian legal system,” said the U.S. State Department in the report.
“As mentioned in previous annual reports, we continue to encourage The Bahamas to increase the resources and manpower available to prosecutors, judges, and magistrates.”
The Bahamas has acknowledged that its criminal justice system needs help. The government has set in motion a series of reforms aimed at reducing the backlog of cases before the court and speeding up the rate of prosecution in the country.
The U.S. made another suggestion in the report that should be considered.
The State Department noted that the country lacks legislation criminalizing participation in an organized criminal group.
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO Act) is a U.S. federal law that provides for long criminal sentences and civil penalties for actions performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization.
Simply put, those proven to be involved with an organized crime group are jailed for long terms.
The U.S. government has used these laws effectively against the mafia. In The Bahamas, no such law exists.