TALKBACK: Cautious welcome to domestic violence changes
WHILE CANPAIGNERS against domestic violence are hailing updated legislation to protect the vulnerable from abuse, some readers are very concerned about Barbados becoming a police state.
Of particular concern is the fact that police will be able to enter homes without warrants. This, as well as the issuing of protection orders on the spot and the seizure of firearms or weapons found in the home, were among measures outlined by Minister of Social Care Steve Blackett during debate on the Domestic Violence (Protection Orders) (Amendment) Bill in the House of Assembly last week. People who breach protection orders also face fines of $2 500 and/or six months in prison upon conviction.
Former attorney general Dale Marshall said giving such power to police could be unconstitutional, but former magistrate Faith Marshall-Harris said such powers were also enshrined in the Police Act.
Here are views from online readers.
Avery Bowen: It is good that the act hopefully will give victims of domestic abuse more support, but we should keep in mind that with more power should come more responsibility.
Joyann Babyjay Rice: This is an amendment to the Domestic Violence Act not just because they feel like, and I am glad that this is being done. Too many women and children getting hurt and killed these days.
Seth St John: Great, now there is a valid excuse for any officer to enter any house they want in Bim. Good thing we don’t have any police officers in Bim who would abuse their power that way.
Orville Hall: Sounds a bit like a “police state”. I do understand the thinking behind this move, but we need to be extremely careful about encroaching upon the rights of the law-abiding citizens.
Tyrone Smith: This move also says to me that an individual has limited rights as to who can just barge in their homes.
Ken Montero: Some good initiatives, but I don’t see how any of these will really help children who are victims of abuse at home. This is probably the group we should be most concerned about helping, given all the troubled youth we’re seeing in court.
Patrick Newton: Friends, stop behaving like our police force are fools. They are well trained and it is long overdue. Too many of our women are being killed by our men. Wake up, my friends, and live in the real world.
Andy R. Boyce: I hope that people know that women assault men too. I do hope it would be case of them getting arrested too.
Kenrick Gill: The police and women will now misuse this; boy, oh boy.
• Sherrylyn Topin is The NATION’s Online Editor.