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Time to stop being soft on criminals

Rollins Howard

Time to stop being soft on criminals

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THE PRESENT administration had promised to house every last person, and while

I applaud this goal, it seems to me that it is an exercise in futility which is sure to end in failure. Not because I think that it is an unrealistic goal but because I wonder how long the new owners would be able to enjoy the fruits of their labour.

I have not seen any of the plans, nor have I heard the Minister of Housing or any of his colleagues disclose any details of the necessary moats, drawbridges, portcullises or turret towersthat will be such essential requirements for these dwellings.

We all know the old saying that a man’s home is his castle, whether it is Lion Castle, Adams Castle, Sam Lord’s Castle or Cats Castle, and therefore he must be able to defend and protect it from the present-day marauders. It is pointless providing the good people of Barbados with houses if at the same time you do not give them the necessary means of defending them.

It seems that by increasing the housing stock of the island, we are simply opening more avenues for “self-employed entrepreneurs” to open new “branches” and to widen the scope of their “business enterprises”. Each new housing development becomes fair bait for their ever-increasing skills.

These “self-employed entrepreneurs” are making a substantial contribution to the economy by:

* reducing the unemployment rate when they “hire new employees”;

* providing more work for the wrought iron manufacturers;

* encouraging the security firms to increase their staff;

* increasing the output of breeders of guard dogs;

 * making burglar alarms and security systems essential elements in each house and building – and the list can go on ad infinitum.

However, whilst these new-style businessmen are making their unique contribution to the economy, the rest of Barbados is catching its royal to protect its legitimate investments from their clutches.

It is not right that peaceful, law-abiding Bajans should have to resort to any of the above means out of fear. If they want to acquire any of them, it should be because they want to do so, but not out of necessity.

Each and every Bajan has an inherent right to own and enjoy his property once it does not infringe the rights or the rights of enjoyment of another, but we now seem to embrace a type of philosophy which allows miscreants to abuse the freedoms we enjoy.

The lawless elements which have sprung up in Barbados are driving fear into the hearts of our citizens and now have us looking over our shoulder at every unusual sound; looking askance at every stranger. How can this be right, especially in Barbados where our main money earner is tourism?

Young men in the full flower of youth rape grandmothers in their 80s, and rights groups excuse their crimes because:

I say “codswallop”! What is there about a 90-year-old woman that can set the sex hormones raging in a young man?

Even if there is something, women of all ages, sizes and descriptions, young, old, ugly or dirty, should not fear molestation from any man. That is the society we must develop and tell the bleeding hearts where to get off.

The Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) is there to protect all Barbadians and residents of Barbados and we must give them our support.

Very often we see dramatic headlines in the Press about police brutality because the police had cause to enter a certain neighbourhood. Reports indicate that they “brutalised and unfaired the residents, breaking down their doors and kicking pregnant women. Then they take the ‘yutes’ out in Waterford Bottom and beat them over a well until they confess”.

Policemen shot

Not long ago two police officers were shot doing what we the taxpayers employ them to do – protecting our homes – and I have not seen a commensurate outpouring of condemnation for the criminal elements.

A few years ago six young women were killed in a clothing store. The perpetrators said they were sorry. “Sorry?” That is what you say when you mash someone’s toes, not when you kill six of our young women.

Tell me, which citizen who has been the subject of a criminal attack on his property or person has called on a Dr Rat, Mark Young, Alfred Harding or Buddy Brathwaite to report the crime. They all call the RBPF, the same one which we vilify.

Apologists for the criminal element say the death penalty has not proven to be a deterrent to the criminal minded. For crying out loud, it is the death penalty, not the death deterrent! It is a punishment. If it deters someone else from committing a murder, that is a plus, but it is a guaranteed punishment and a deterrent for the convicted murderer.

We have gone so soft on crime and criminals that they walk around Barbados flaunting their battle scars and giving high-fives on their way to court. Prison for these miscreants is now “a home away from home” which they are prepared to visit time and again.

I do believe that at the end of their terms, convicts should be armed with knowledge and skills to enable them to make a solid contribution to society. Therefore, I endorse the education and skills programmes to which they are, or should be, exposed while incarcerated.

By the same token, I also believe that while they are being catered for at our expense, the state should make use of those same skills to do something productive for society.

There are many state-owned buildings which are in need of repair and facilities to be maintained. Why should we contract out these services when we have a large pool of available workers at our behest?

In closing, I believe in crime and punishment. I do not believe in mollycoddling criminals. I have been called barbaric, antediluvian, prehistoric and other adjectives but I will support measures to ensure that the criminal element does not take over Barbados. If it means the gallows for convicted murderers, the cat-o’-nine for serious crimes and castration for rapists, I am with you all the way.

Our society should not live in fear because we lack the will to do what needs to be done.

On a final note, can you tell me the last occasion on which Amnesty International stopped the United States from executing a convicted murderer? Did the US not ratify the same Inter-American Convention on Human Rights as Barbados and 33 other states?

We have adopted many negative features from the Americans; why can we not adopt one of the positives and execute those whom our law courts have deemed murderers and menaces to society?

Rollins Howard