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July 18, 2007


no name

Mr. Smith,

I read your column in The Tribune this morning and must say you were point on with most of your statements. Do you think the Urban Renewal Program as it was under the PLP one way to fill the void left by children with parentless homes? Our current Prime Minister comes from such a home and may be one of the reasons for his mean spirited and megalomaniac traits.

larry smith

Frankly, I have yet to see an objective assessment of that programme. But the recent controversy over it is nothing but political hoo ha - on both sides.


hanging people already on death row will accomplish nothing.
The public and press have long forgetten who those people are, who they killed, why... They won't care.

BUT if the police and courts could capture the persons responsible for these recent murders give them their fair trail, sentence them appropriately, and if that setence be death, execute them in a timely fashion while their story is still worthy of the front pages and fresh in people's minds then it will actually have an effect.

Prayer meetings where dozens of old people leave their children unattended and go to pray for the youth is just silly.
Maybe, if more of those parents were capable of getting their youth to come with them it would mean something.

Thugs are not going to hand over their guns. The only thing worth doing is to offer much higher rewards for information leading to arrests. For example, there is an overgrown piece of property through a dead end corner in a relatively nice neighbourhood that I pass every morning on my way to work. The FIRST time I passed this corner I knew IMMEDIATELY that I could probably get drugs from that spot. Other than the sale of drugs, no crimes have happened in that spot but over the last 3 years a number of non-fatal stabbings occurred as a result of arguements that started there and ended elsewhere. The neighbours surrounding this property should be the ones to ask the police to clear out the criminals but I guess they never asked. It's a frightening thing to do. What if the dealers somehow figure out who called it in and want to take revenge? So nobody ever calls. Why? Because there is no 'support' among the neighbours. Unlike the out islands where everyone knows the the name of at least 1 person in every house in the entire settlement, people in some parts of nassau don't even know the names of people across the street from them. They aren't really a community. They can't get together and say "everbody through this corner is going to call the police on these dealers and if they wanna retaliate they will have to deal with all of us as a group because we will support each other"

larry smith

Hangings have been suspended because the Privy Council (our highest court of appeal) upholds the view that keeping convicts on death row for longer than five years is cruel and unusual punishment.

The Privy Council is also based in London, and the entire European Union has banned capital punishment.

Also, as I said in the article, there is absolutely no evidence that the death penalty deters serious crimes.

I agree with you that prayer meetings are silly and of course thugs are not going to hand over their guns. I mentioned those suggestions to show the disconnect with reality that many Bahamians share.

It is also true, as you say, that there are very few real communities in Nassau these days, especially in lower income neighbourhoods.

But, other than the sociological factors discussed in my article, one big reason for our problems is the lack of consequences for anyone who does anything 'wrong'.

From politicians to lawyers to doctors to street vendors to thugs - no-one ever has to pay for their transgressions. And that is the definition of lawlessness.


Can anyone say what number of murders have taken place in Nassau thus far for the year?
I am wondering if "life is cheap in Nassau" and not necessarily in the Bahamas? We would do well to remember that New Providence is only the capital not the entire Bahamas.

no name

Hey Larry,

We talk about crime being out of control, which by the way it is and how to fight it. How can we put an end or even a dent in crime when a person in a top position in the police force, with allegations of using his police connections to cover his children’s and brothers child’s crimes is promoted and not fired????

larry smith

you obviously know more than I do.



We still haven't discussed any substantive solutions. We all know it is bad and spiralling out of control. It's not the PLP or FNM fault/problem. It's all our fault, because we've become too concerned with personal wealth and money as opposed to building a nation and a sense of community. We drive into downtown in the AM and drive pass all the Grants, Bain Town, etc. with our blinders on all the way to Sea Breeze, Yamacraw, Cable Beach, etc.. So here's my attempt at some solutions...

1. More funding needs to be allocated to increase the effectiveness of the Police Force. The leadership and culture is antiquated and belongs to a time when our country was more peaceful and less violent. It is a totally new era in which we have not updated our approach to fighting crime. Yes the Bahamas civil service has a lot of "Pork Barrel" Ministires that are ineffective and need to be let go as well as privatize and outsource work that ministries are inadequate at doing. Police need to be patrolling the streets 24/7 not sitting on their ...es at the station eating chicken sous and pig feet. Our policing approach is lazy and ineffective. Law enforcement needs to be seen not just when there's a parade or event at the fish fry or screaming sirens when the GG is going to/from Government House. That $7 million should be reinvested in a fleet of police cruisers and other equipment, but it won't.

2. Urban Renewal/Community policing is an imporatnt ingredient in the solution. The more we invest in our communities the more we will see positive results. We have forgotten that many of us came from those very same communities that are now in shambles partly because we don't do what works. I've seen Jewish communities become oasises (sp?) in inner city communities in the US. Why? They invest in themselves.

3. Bahamians have a poor attitude about volunteerism. Now, they'll donate some money here and there, support a steak-out (especially when food and alcohol is involved) but they rarely give of their time to mentor youth, support communtiy based programs that would deter a lot of kids from crime. Especially the professional elite Bahamians with their multitude of law, masters and PhD degrees solely concerned about the almighty dollar and could care less about showing a kid the path they took to success.If we don't give of our time to rebuilding communities they will fail period.

4. The Ministry of Youth and Culture needs to be educated that there's more to youth experiences than junkanoo, musical instruments, and traditonal sports like baseball and basketball. We have a whole archipelago that can be explored through youth programs. We ahve the BNT, Nature Conservancy, the BERC, etc. that could use a youth labor force in the Summer months. We have Agriculture and Fisheries that could use a youth program to educate about the science of fishing and farming. Not just how to be a farm laborer. We have a gazillion bankers and accountants that can support workshiops in various communities on entrepreneurship. Whew! I could go on and on about this one.

5. Our immigrant communities need to be fully integrated into Bahamian society to offset the frustration they endure from being so disenfranchised by our society. We have and are creating an entire sub-culture mainly of immigrants that have been turned into second-class citizens who are disallowed from the full Bahamian experience. I could care less what candidates' parents are of Haitian decent. This is childish stuff we deal with.

Bottom line is it won't get better until we all start caring and doing something to solve it. We already know how the economies of some Caribbean states have been devastated by the growth in violent crime. Let's learn from their mistakes.

glen more

As always, I enjoy reading TOUGH CALL.

I remember Larry Roberts giving a talk about twelve years or so ago at the annual Business Outlook conference. I don’t think anyone really listened to Larry’s jeremiad on the alarming incidence of crime against the person, but he was spot on way back then. If you check with him, he might still have a copy of his speech.

What has happened in our beautiful country, especially in populous Lil Nassau, is that freedom has turned into licentiousness, and laws are not enforced; so what Paul prophesied about in his second letter to Timothy has come true. Please read 2 Timothy 3: 1-5.

Fallen human nature has not changed one bit; so, just as the enforcement of the law was necessary thousands of years ago, so it is necessary today. The Congregator had something to say about this in Ecclesiastes 8:11: “Because sentence against a bad work has not been executed speedily, that is why the heart of the sons of men has become fully set in them to do bad.”



I really wish one of our newspapers or somebody would get their hands on the reports and put something like this together.

Age, Race, Gender, Cause of Death, Day of the Week, Name, Place, Date, and a MAP of where the murder took place. Also they have informative articles about every murder and update some of them with info about the court cases of the murderers.

The Bahamian public needs it's own community run Homicide Report.

Remelda Been

I realize that our country is in serious turmoil. The only way we can turn things around is by allowing Almighty God to lead us. Our children need good old fashion home training. Proverbs 22:6 says "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Too many of our children are bringing up themselves. As an educator I realize that our children do not want mentors or friends they want their parents. They want a parent's love and attention. Parents need to spend quality time with their children. While doing this they should be teaching them how to behave in a civilized society. This means that their children can and should not have their own way and all that they want. Children must learn to do without and learn that they can not have everything that they want. The only way we can combat this problem is go back to the traditional form of education and character training. It did not hurt my generation.

God Bless
Remelda Been

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