EDITORIAL: Authorities must confront guns, corruption
AS BARBADIANS BECOME utterly frustrated with gun violence, it is evident that the situation will put greater pressure on the political directorate and police.
The country is looking to them for an urgent solution.
There are many things they can do to the resolve the problem. After all, it is about making Barbadians feel comfortable and letting outsiders know this is still a safe destination for work or pleasure.
The politicians’ primary objective must be to give the police the resources, both manpower and technology, to take the fight to those who seek to undermine and destroy this society. We are certain the lawmen will get the job done.
Our only advice is that they begin by following the money. They must track the proceeds of corruption and its ill-gotten gains. The objective is to catch those who facilitate the importation of illegal guns, ammunition and drugs, and, more importantly, confront the cancerous problem of graft at all levels of society.
Greed causes many good men to overlook the wrongs of evil men, and it is evident that no amount of moral suasion will solve the problems of which we speak. This is so wherever unlawful practices are taking place, be it at a port of entry or through the passing of “a brown bag” to get some favour done. While a few people reap financial gain, the wider society suffers. Our lawmen need to bring an end to this type of behaviour regardless of how endemic.
The police must insist that they are given the structural and operational independence to deliver on what is required – the eradication of systemic corruption.
This is why the force must use intelligence gathering backed by its financial crimes unit and that of the Anti-Money Laundering Authority to derail the beneficiaries of dirty money.
It is important to expose those who are making the payments, those receiving the funds and how they are using the proceeds. Recipients of this type of illegal activity must be held accountable and brought before the courts regardless of their class or status. The police must also make public their findings to enforce the message that they are now prepared to fight this problem on a different front.
Visible barriers must also be put in place, such as working cameras in all the key areas at the ports of entry. Technology should be employed to check containers and polygraph testing ought to be compulsory, on an annual basis, for a range of public officers.
The illegal gun and drugs problem is but part of a bigger problem. This is why Barbadians who support law and order must back the nation’s dedicated law enforcers. Throwing our hands helplessly in the air is no solution.