Despite the valiant efforts of the hardworking members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force in fighting crime in order to restore peace and safety, the murder rate is still much too high for such a small nation. Per capita, the Bahamas is fast becoming one of the most violent nations on earth and we must find ways to reverse this trend.
Bishop Walter Hanchell and the members of Citizens For Justice are very much concerned about the recent killing of a two year old infant and the many other violent murders that have occurred in recent weeks.
“We again call on the church and civil society to join in the fight against crime, violence and poverty that have wreaked havoc on our society. We cannot and will not ignore the anti-social destructive behaviors that have left so many in fear as young men continue to terrorize both locals and tourists with their criminal actions.
We commend Dr. Bernard Nottage, Minister of National Security for arranging “Operation Cease Fire” in order to get the support and input of various segments of society in reducing violent crime.
Citizens For Justice believe that the church has a pivotal role to play and again call for the church to immediately put boots on the ground in urban hot spots to minister to residents and deal with the social challenges that the people are faced with daily.
Churches are advised to implement outreach programs and initiatives that address the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of our families. Pastors and their members are expected to get out of the walls and go into communities in a systematic way in order to effectively minister to the people. Much work needs be done in the area of counseling and conflict resolution. Additionally, the root causes of crime must be examined and solutions implemented as soon as possible.
Citizens For Justice is calling for the return of corporal punishment for violent offenders and capital punishment for convicted murders as laid out in the laws of the Bahamas.
Longer sentences with hard labor is recommended. The business community, civic organizations and non-governmental agencies are expected to provide the necessary resources for the funding of current programs and new initiatives. The government should cause sufficient funds to be allocated for social programs that deal with rehabilitation, poverty, housing the homeless, feeding the hungry, financial empowerment, job creation and youth programs.
We also request that the Bail Act be amended to ensure that persons charged with murder, rape, armed robberies and the sexual abuse of minors, be denied bail. Cases must be tried quickly and without the normal long delays that victims see as injustices that allow accused persons to walk the streets. Lawyers manipulate the system to get bail, thus causing their clients to commit more crime and intimidate witnesses. Laws should be passed to see that restitution is made by convicted offenders to the children and families of murder victims. We believe in restorative justice and the education and rehabilitation of criminal offenders. We appeal to the government of the Bahamas to take whatever measures are necessary to restore law, order and the good name of the Bahamas.”
Citizens For Justice