Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis said in a statement yesterday Bahamians are disillusioned with the government’s empty promises to solve the country’s crime problem.
Minnis’ comments came nearly a week after Prime Minister Perry Christie promised to “redouble” the government’s crime fighting strategies after a spate of murders and armed robberies.
Minnis said the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) is “long on talk but short on action” when it comes to crime.
“That said, the governing party continues to use its magical numbers machine, its fancy talk and blatant storytelling to advance the view that Urban Renewal 2.0 is a panacea, that they held and still have all the answers to the crime problem and that they, the PLP, have worked miracles,” Minnis said.
He said that May – the month the PLP assumed office – was the bloodiest month on record for the year.
In May 2012, 21 murders were recorded, the most ever recorded in a single month.
He also questioned the status of two of the government’s proposed crime fighting strategies, Operation Cease Fire and Project Safe Bahamas.
He added that people are becoming increasingly vulnerable to attack by wearing gold jewelry or socializing.
“Frankly, we’re seeing a crime wave that is evidence of a worrying trend, especially when one considers that Bahamians are afraid to even wear a piece of jewelry or play a game of dominoes without looking over their shoulders, without being traumatized by the fear of crime,” he said, referring to the circumstances surrounding two recent murders.
“How woeful is it when 63-year-old Ernest Hepburn, a senior citizen, is killed on his porch for his gold chain or when a youngster, in his late 20s, is brutally murdered as he’s engaged in a game of dominoes with his friends?”
Minnis also hit out at Minister of Education, Science and Technology Jerome Fitzgerald for saying that armed police officers would be allowed to patrol public schools.
“The school is a place where learning is supposed to occur, where we groom and develop a dutiful citizenry,” Minnis said. “The school should never be morphed into a militarized zone due to knee-jerk tokenism, or political expediency.”
Last week, Fitzgerald said school police officers who are authorized to carry guns will be able to take the weapons onto the campuses.
Minnis also criticized the PLP’s flagship crime fighting strategy, Urban Renewal 2.0, as a program that has done nothing more than knock down a few houses.
Minnis also questioned when the government would place a greater emphasis on child protection laws, witness protection and explain how Swift Justice would be implemented.