Attorney General Dale Marshall said there was no immediate solution to gun crime in Barbados and stressed that national public safety was everyone’s responsibility.
He was speaking at a press conference in the Cabinet Boardroom at Government House on Friday alongside Police Commissioner Richard Boyce.
The MP for St Joseph said: “The government interventions are targeted and well thought out and I assure you they will be pursued with determination, but in all of this there has to be realism and we have to accept that we [all] have a role to play. The gun crime situation did not develop overnight and there are no three-point plans, there are no immediate solutions to turn the tide. It requires a steady hand and a long-term solution.
Marshall said the Barbados Police Service works diligently to stamp out gun crime on the island and since 2017 has removed 465 firearms from the streets, 55 this year. The police department also has 18 investigators who work solely on gun crimes.
The Attorney General has addressed the nation following a spike in gun violence in recent weeks where there have been shootings in Cavans Lane, The City; Horse Hill, St. Joseph; Cave Hill, St. Michael; and Long Bay, St Philip, leaving four dead and several injured.
Earlier this month, RJG Boat Rides Managing Director Russell Wilson joined the growing voices of those condemning gun violence in Barbados following the Cavans Lane incident.
Boyce sought to reassure the nation that they were aware of the situation.
“Violence, especially gun violence, will not be tolerated. This is the message I would like to send to people who are in possession of firearms. This is not the Barbadian way of life. This has never been the Barbados culture, so I want to re-emphasize that message that wherever these guns are, members of the Barbados Police Service will be prepared to take these guns out of the hands of these people.
So far this year, there have been 17 murders, 12 of which were by the use of a firearm at a 58% solve rate.
In 2017, there were 30 murders, 23 of which were committed by firearms with a 53% solve rate. In 2018, there was a slight decrease in murders with 28 people killed, 18 of them by firearm at a 67% solve rate.
In 2019, the number of murders rose to 48, including 30 by firearm. The police solved just over half of them. There was a slight drop to 41 in 2020, including 26 by firearms. Last year there was a further drop to 32 murders, 17 of them by firearm.
|Year||Murders||By the gun||Resolved|
|As of July 8, 2022||17||12||ten|
Statistics courtesy of AG and the Barbados Police Service.
Marshall said the unsolved murders were still under investigation at this time, but it was a “thorough process”.
On June 25, Boyce said there had been 13 murders, down from 11 this time in 2021.
Likewise, there have been 46 robberies this year compared to 42 last year, 26 rapes this year compared to 30 last year and 30 aggravated burglaries as of June 25 this year compared to 33 for the corresponding period of 2021. ( JC)