Christie hits out at govt on crime
After a near four-hour event to formally introduce the full Free National Movement (FNM) slate of candidates, Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) leader Perry Christie released a statement last night hitting out at the government on crime.
“The FNM put on a big show,” Christie said. “But underneath all the spectacle is a party with no clue about how to keep Bahamians safe.”
In his speech at the launch held at the Wyndham Nassau Resort, Prime Minister and FNM leader Hubert Ingraham declared that his is a “clean and scandal free government”.
He called the FNM “a safe bet”.
“With the PLP you will be gambling with your future,” Ingraham said.
“… If they win, you lose.”
Ingraham also highlighted his government’s achievements in office, pointing to various social programs and infrastructure projects he said have been transformative.
But Christie declared in his statement that, “what they have really delivered are record levels of violent crime”.
“A government’s first responsibility is to keep its citizens safe. Yet the murder rate has doubled under this FNM government,” he said.
There were 127 murders recorded in 2011, and nine already for this year. There were 60 murders recorded in 2006; 79 in 2007; 74 in 2008; 87 in 2009 and 96 in 2010.
“They have failed to prevent crime, they have failed to prosecute crime, and they have failed to punish crime,” Christie said.
“They have failed to invest in at-risk youth. They have failed to keep schools safe. They have failed to protect witnesses. They have failed to stem the avalanche of illegal weapons. They have failed to adequately patrol our borders.”
Christie said the PLP believes a society-wide response is necessary to reduce violence.
“But we also believe the government should be leading the charge. There is no reason we cannot make dramatic progress in fighting crime – but it requires focus, expertise, resources, and innovative responses,” he said.
“It requires a leader willing to bring law enforcement, business and civic leaders, clergy and educators together in a coordinated response.”
Last fall, the government brought a package of crime bills as part of its overall response to the problem.
The House of Assembly passed the Evidence Amendment Bill, the Penal Code Amendment Bill, the Criminal Procedure Code Amendment Bill, the Court of Appeal Amendment Bill, the Pawnbrokers and Second-hand Dealers Bill, the Customs Management Bill, the Criminal Evidence Witness Anonymity Amendment Bill, Sexual Offences Amendment Bill, and the Dangerous Drugs Amendment Bill.
In his new year’s address last week, Ingraham said just as The Bahamas has “faced down an international economic crisis not of our own making, we must beat back a domestic challenge for which we are all responsible”.
“This challenge is a pattern of criminal behavior that so gravely distresses us all. Crime and its causes are multifaceted,” the prime minister added.
“Accordingly, together with job creation, health and education, we recommit ourselves to aggressively combating criminal behavior so as to protect life and to secure law and order.”