EDITORIAL: We must fight gun crimes from all fronts
FOUR MURDERS have been recorded in Barbados so far this year – three of them by the gun. This is a troubling development which must be of concern to all citizens.
The lives of too many families are being shattered and disrupted by gunfire.
There is something particularly menacing about criminal activity involving the use of guns. It is a tactic used by underworld elements that must be arrested promptly.
Some people will argue that it is already a major problem, given the incidence of shootings across the island.
We cannot afford to be soft in dealing with the growing illegal gun culture. A look at Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and The Bahamas, among others within the Caribbean, gives good cause to be vigilant.
Too many illegal guns are getting into the hands of the wrong people – criminals intent on harming others. The result has been lost lives, including innocent ones, and people injured, some scarred for the remainder of their lives.
What has made the situation all the more uneasy is that we have some tough laws on our statute books, the flouting of which can result in stiff penalties. Clearly, the possibility of lengthy incarceration has not been a deterrent, which means the existing laws and strategies are not enough to curtail the problem.
No single law and no one approach will change the course of gun violence. It requires efforts from all corners and on many fronts to institute the necessary changes. It must not be seen as just a matter for law enforcement to stem the illegal flow and use of guns by the Royal Barbados Police Force and the Barbados Coast Guard. It must also be a priority for all residents.
The concern for not just law enforcement but all Barbadians is where these illegal guns are coming from and how they are ending up in the hands of criminals. We cannot simply surmise that any upsurge in illegal weapons must be tied to a similar flow in illegal drugs, even though there seems to be a strong link.
We need to use the latest technology at our ports of entry to check every item coming and going, while Acting Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith must ensure that his team of undercover officers and intelligence units can infiltrate and control the trading in illegal guns. The hot spots must be kept under close scrutiny and the felons off the streets.
Barbadians understand that gun violence is a problem that requires action. Our goal must be to get illegal guns off our streets.