Dames: Neighborhood watches will transform the country

Minister of National Security Marvin Dames highlighted the importance of community in combating crime yesterday, and said neighborhoods throughout the country will be “transformed” by the initiatives the National Neighbourhood Watch Council is undertaking.

Bringing remarks during a church service at Evangelistic Temple on Collins Avenue, Dames said, “Too often we see in our country where there is constant complaining about what’s not getting done and who’s not doing what.

“But very few of us take the time to just look in the mirror at ourselves and ask the question, ‘What am I doing?’ “

He added, “[The National Neighbourhood Watch Council members] have made the commitment to be difference-makers.

“They have decided becoming a part of this group that no longer will they allow just a few individuals to destroy their communities. And, so, very shortly you will begin to see throughout this country, a big difference, a transformation taking place within our neighborhoods.

“[T]hat transformation will be lead by these individuals that you see sitting before me here today, and we will continue this process until we get the entire Bahamas to get the picture that it isn’t about the government, it isn’t about the police.

“While they do have their roles, our roles—as parents, as guardians of our communities—are much more important.

“So, we’re excited about the possibilities, about the opportunities.”

The National Neighbourhood Watch Council was launched on April 30, 2018, with the goal of paving the way for the proliferation of neighborhood watch groups and associated programs throughout The Bahamas with emphasis on the inner-city communities of New Providence.

When the program began, it was announced that members of crime watch groups will undergo training at the Police Training College on crime prevention and community policing.

According to a statement by Dames dated February 23, the council has 119 presidents including New Providence and Grand Bahama; and an additional 112 people have been trained on Eleuthera. 

On Saturday, council members engaged in a march from Windsor Park to Arawak Cay “because the lives of our people is central to the success of our nation”.

“As we forge our collective community of peace, safety and empowerment, the Ministry of National Security and the National Neighbourhood Watch Council accept that violence is not inevitable, it is preventable,” the statement read. 

“This year our primary focus includes crime deterrence, youth violence prevention, strategic intervention and educative programs and initiatives and the implementation of the council’s youth arm.”

It added, “The National Neighbourhood Watch Council’s voice is clear.

“Our objective is to galvanize community support, work collaboratively with the Royal Bahamas Police Force and other agencies to reduce crime.

“We accept that this objective will not happen without our community of citizens.” 

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis recently promised to get a handle on crime following recent reports of armed robberies and home invasions, saying that the Ministry of National Security will “beef up the manpower and beef up the security within not only my constituency, but within the entire Bahamas to ensure the safety of Bahamians”.

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