Barbadians living in Saint Lucia were earlier this week given an update on the crime situation in the country of their birth.
Addressing a gathering of his countrymen here, Barbados Attorney General Dale Marshall disclosed that the country recorded 27 homicides last year.
However Marshall, who also has responsibility for the police, explained that so far this year Barbados has seen 30 homicides, seventeen of them by the gun.
“We have been fighting external creditors; we have been fighting to restructure Barbados’ debt; fighting to grow an economy; fighting to put Barbados where it needs to be,” he asserted.
However Marshall observed that almost matching every effort made to rescue the economy, the administration has been challenged by the fact that some individuals who seem ‘hell bent’ on tearing down everything that the government is trying to build up.
“It doesn’t take any kind of rocket science to tell you that in the face of a society that seems to be overwhelmed by gun violence tourism will not thrive. You will not be able to nurture a healthy business environment simply because it will appear as though you are left with the Wild, Wild West.”
Marshall told his audience that the situation did not occur overnight.
He said the challenges cannot be turned around overnight.
But he said it was important for him to give the assurance that they are being turned around.
The Attorney General asserted that part of the problem has been that a large number of guns have been coming through Barbados, almost unwittingly aided by an administration that did not have regard for the things it should have been paying attention to.
“We know that guns have been coming in through containers at the port,” he stated.
However the Barbados Attorney General noted that only six percent of those containers have historically been scanned.
He said an additional scanner which Prime Minister Mia Mottley had authorised had been received.
Marshall said once activated, the scanner will be able to scan every single container that comes through the port.
“What that means is that we will immediately not quite eliminate – there are other areas where there are some weaknesses; we will be able to reduce significantly the ability of people to bring guns into Barbados and that will then allow the police to do the things that they have to do to wrestle the problem of gun violence to the ground.”
“We recognise that it’s not a policing issue though,” he declared.
Barbados Prime Minister, Mia Mottley also addressed the gathering at which Foreign Minister Jerome Walcott and CARICOM Ambassador David Comissiong were also present.