Government’s efforts to curb rising levels of gun violence are bearing fruit, Prime Minister Mia Mottley has suggested.
Mottley contends that in recent months, the rate at which shootings have occurred has lessened – in a year that will likely go down as one of the country’s bloodiest.
Speaking at a town hall meeting in Brooklyn over the weekend, Mottley, in response to a question about what is being done about the 35 murders for the year thus far, insisted that her administration has identified and plugged a number of loopholes, which has led to a decline in the gun crime proliferation.
The Prime Minister said: “Every life that is lost is one too many, but I don’t want us to take things out of context.
“The bottom line is that even the course of the last four months, there has been a significant reduction in the number and the rate at which people were being shot in the country.
“This is because people realise that there are people watching and there are people acting.”
From May, the rate of shooting deaths has declines from three to four per month to one per month.
There has been no recorded shooting death for the month of September thus far.
Mottley credited this to ramped-up efforts to reducing the prevalence of guns by beefing up border security and providing the Royal Barbados Police Force with needed tools.
She argued that while former Attorney General Adriel Braithwaite had complained that guns were coming through the port with apparent ease, the Freundel Stuart administration failed to do anything about it.
“We have borrowed a significant amount of money to put two scanners in place which are now functioning.
“We put in place a system for the first time where customs and the police are speaking on an ongoing basis.
“You would have thought that this would have been the most natural response from the former Attorney General and the then government, who were complaining about the number of guns coming through the ports of entry.”
Mottley revealed that similar efforts were made to upgrade the crime detection tools of the police.
She added: “We would have put large sums of money at the end of the last fiscal year and at the beginning of this year, to enhance the technical capacity of the Royal Barbados Police Force that was seeking to fight modern crime with next to nothing.”
The Prime Minister also touted Government’s efforts to speed up the delivery of justice by the appointment of seven new judges as part of a “multifaceted” crime fight.
Mottley said: “My Government took the extraordinary act of adding seven new judges, which carries our expenditure up by over a million dollars on judicial expenditure. This means we have five criminal courts.
“We inherited 10,000 cases in a criminal backlog. Now that I have appointed additional judges, the Judicial Services Commission now has to appoint additional prosecutors.
“So believe you me when I say that my Government not only understands that it is accountable but it also is determined to reverse the problem through a multifaceted approach.”