‘Tis the season for taking, Rolle warns
Christmas is a time for giving, but according to the chairman of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC), it’s also a time for taking.
Winston Rolle told Guardian Business that during the holidays “crime is top of our minds”.
He issued a warning to both businessmen and consumers to remain vigilant during Christmas, as criminals may try to take advantage of the busy shopping season.
“Christmas certainly means criminal activities are higher and it enhances opportunities for crime,” he explained. “During this time of year, shopping is heightened. So businessess have more cash on hand, and from a personal perspective, people are travelling with more cash than usual. We are trying to be more proactive and see how we can help mitigate the changes of being a victim.”
Closely linked with the appeal by the BCCEC chairman is the upcoming Crime Prevention Seminar next week at the Police Conference Center.
Although similar events have been held in the past, Rolle told Guardian Business “we don’t want this to be a one-time seminar”.
He said it’s essential that the police, the business community and the BCCEC engage in quarterly seminars to discuss problems, trends, solutions and expand the network through the Family Islands.
In particular, Rolle pointed out the next year’s seminar will address CCTV and other prevention measures for theft.
“Everyone is aware CCTV plays a role as a deterrent, and also plays a role in fighting crime after the fact,” he explained. “We want to make sure your investment in cameras is the right kind of investment. The average business person doesn’t know how to position and maintain these cameras.”
Back in August, the Bahamas Hotel Association and the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) announced an initiative to ramp up security in downtown Nassau through a multimillion-dollar effort. Quinn McCartney, the deputy commissioner of RBPF, and the chairman of the committee behind a comprehensive CCTV program, told Guardian Business that the contract would be awarded to a local film by the end of that month.
More than three months later, McCartney said there is “nothing further to report at this time”.
“We’re still in the process and negotiating the contracts,” he told Guardian Business. “No vendors have been selected. We want to exercise due diligence in everything we do. It’s a working process and things are still in motion.”
Rolle said the CCTV program for downtown Nassau is “definitely happening” and a “short list of some vendors has already started”.
Next week’s crime seminar will also reveal the final results of an economic crime survey, Rolle added, giving consumers and businesses a better idea of how to protect themselves.
Early results from the survey indicate a high level of internal fraud and the stealing of company assets and inventory. Meanwhile, just 8.3 percent of respondents take criminal action against the internal fraudsters.
“We have to explore the controls business have in place,” Rolle said.
“I think it also speaks to the mind-set of the workforce and a sense of entitlement. It speaks to the difficult financial times and people tend to get more creative. Therefore, businesses need to do the same when it comes to controls.”
Vinette Graham-Allen, the new Director of Public Prosecutions, will provide the main address at next week’s conference.