The bail crisis 

Dear Editor,

On March 6, 2023, the country recorded its 19th and 20th homicides for the year. One of the victim was known to police whilst the other victim was not.

The two victims were killed at the Fox Hill Park and it was an all too familiar scene. Both men were shot about the body multiple times and the assailants escaped the scene unharmed.

The victim not known to the police was my school mate and some people are saying that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The second victim was on bail for six murders and this is where I have mixed views about our criminal justice system.

Growing up in the Johnson Road and the Fox Hill community, it was almost normal to see people on bail for serious crimes, including murder. I have known people who were on bail for murder, and some who were on bail for two and even three murders.

From my experience, it seems as if alleged murderers are being granted bail after two to three years in jail without a trial. As of late, I have even seen an alleged murderer given bail within one month after being charged with murder.

On the streets it is not unusual to hear of certain individuals having “one, two, three or four under their belt”. Under their belt means that these individuals have been alleged to commit murder or murders.

I can’t recall in my lifetime though where an individual has been on bail for six murders.

I am not talking about street talk where information about an alleged murderer may be known and the police investigation is still ongoing. I am talking about case files that are a part of the court records. I am talking about someone who has been before the courts and has been charged with six murders. This is unbelievable.

I am sure when many Bahamians heard the news report that a man who was shot dead was on bail for six murders that they were struck with disbelief. Trust me, I was.

The police continue to maintain that they are putting the criminals before the courts and that before they could blink that the same alleged offenders are back on the streets.

The courts are maintaining that they are applying the law to murder cases as the evidence is presented.

The Office of the Attorney General is maintaining that they are doing all they can do to prosecute the alleged criminals.

The lawmakers appear to believe that the present laws are sufficient and there appears to be no plan to change our Bail Act.

The Bahamian people at large appear to be accepting of whatever is happening as there is little agitation about this bail issue.

Alleged murderers continue to be granted bail and these individuals are being gunned down like dogs on our streets. Occasionally, innocent victims are caught in the cross fire.

We need to understand that it is totally unacceptable for someone charged with six murders to be out on bail.

I think it is unacceptable for someone who is charged with one murder to be out on bail.

Every arm of our criminal justice system needs to be revamped. The police need to do a better job with evidence collection.

The Office of the Attorney General needs to present murder cases to the court in a timely fashion.

The lawmakers need to ensure that our laws are modernized to deal with this vexing issue.

The general public needs to do more and stop coaxing the bad behavior of some of our young men. The judiciary, I think, still needs more independence .

This bail crisis has the potential to destabilize our country economically and politically.  I think that socially we are already destabilized.

We have to confront this bail crisis head on. The time has passed for us to get this issue under control.

Dehavilland L. Moss

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