Government Launches New Citizens Security and Justice Programme

Posted on: May 9, 2016

Authored by: Matt Maura
Source: Bahamas Information Services
Date: May 9, 2016

 

 

Minister of National Security the Hon. Dr. Bernard Nottage addresses the new Citizens Security and Justice Programme launch on Monday, May 9, 2016 at the British Colonial Hilton.  (BIS Photo/Raymond A. Bethel, Sr.)

NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Government of The Bahamas Monday launched its new Citizens Security and Justice Programme which officials say programme will address “every single issue driving crime in The Bahamas.”

Some of those issues have been identified as a lack of conflict resolution skills, youth unemployment, an overwhelmed justice system and a deficient rehabilitative correctional process.

The programme, funded by a $20Million loan from the Inter-American Bank (IDB), represents the “single largest investment in a coordinated and comprehensive policy to address crime” in The Bahamas.

“This investment goes beyond supplying new arms to police officers or building more prison cells for incarceration. These are important steps, but they do not address the primary drivers of crime in The Bahamas,” Minister of National Security, the Hon. Dr. Bernard “BJ” Nottage said at the Programme’s launch at the British Colonial

Audience at the Citizens Security and Justice Programme launch, May 9, 2016, at the British Colonial Hilton.  (BIS Photo/Raymond A. Bethel, Sr.)

“Instead, through social interventions for non-violent conflict resolution, youth employment training, the strengthening of the Public Employment Services, the continuation of the successful work of the Swift Justice Initiative, and through a focus on the rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders, we are employing a wide-ranging, strategic approach to ensure the safety of our citizens.”

Dr. Nottage said the Government has already begun to address a number of the issues identified as the driving forces for crime within The Bahamas through initiatives already implemented or about to be implemented in a cross-section of ministries.

These include the Ministries of National Security (headed by Dr. Nottage), the Ministry of Social Services and Community Development (headed by the Hon. Melanie Sharon Griffin), the Office of the Attorney-General and Ministry of Legal Affairs (headed by Senator, the Hon. Allyson Maynard-Gibson) and the Ministry of Labour, National Insurance and the Public Service (headed by the Hon. D. Shane Gibson).

Officials hail results accomplished through the Swift Justice Programme and other initiatives of the Office of Attorney-General and Ministry of Legal Affairs to reduce case backlogs; among others, facilitation of the National Strategic Plan to Address Gender-Based Violence, and a renewed focus on defending the safety of children throughout Bahamian communities by the Ministry of Social Services and Community Development and the Department of Social Services and their partners — key linkages in the overarching plan the Citizens Security and Justice Programme represents.

The Government of The Bahamas Monday (May 9) launched its Citizens Security and Justice Programme which officials say will comprehensively address all of the forces driving crime within the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. Pictured (from left) are: Michael Nelson, IDB Bahamas, Chief of Operations; Senator, the Hon. Keith Bell, Minister of State for National Security; the Hon. Melanie Sharon Griffin, Minister of Social Services and Community Development; Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard J. Nottage; Robert Pantzer, IDB Bahamas Sector Specialist; Cleopatra Christie, Consultant, Office of the Attorney-General and the Hon. D. Shane Gibson, Minister of Labour, National Insurance and the Public Service. (BIS Photo/Raymond A. Bethel, Sr.)

Meanwhile, the Government has appointed a Parole and Re-entry Steering Committee whose task is to propose a policy framework for a parole system and interventions for the seamless reintegration of past offenders into Bahamian society.

Officials say the importance of a parole police framework cannot be underestimated as “more and more, we are recognizing that prisons are exacerbating criminal behaviour, not curbing it.”

“I believe that with the launch of the Citizen Security and Justice Programme, we have taken another step toward a safer and more secure Bahamas,” Dr. Nottage said. “Together, with a deep consideration of the challenges we face and action with clear purpose and intention, we will win the war on crime.

“I would like to thank our partners at the IDB, the technical and administrative officers from partnering ministries and departments of government and those from civil society for the support they have provided in the development of the Citizen Security and Justice Programme project document.

“We look forward to our ongoing cooperation as we implement solutions to the challenges we face in respect of citizen security and justice,” said Dr. Nottage.

 

Minister of National Security, the Hon. Dr. Bernard J. Nottage (second right) with members of the Parole and Re-entry Steering Committee including (from left) Reverend Patrick Paul; Archbishop, the Most Reverend Drexel Gomez and Committee Chair, His Excellency, Mr. Paul Farquharson. (BIS Photo/Raymond A. Bethel, Sr.)

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