Photo Credit: Barbados Today
The Fourth Estate plays a critical role to the proper functioning of a democracy, it must. Providing citizens with information which equips them to make the best decisions and at the same time act as a watchdog targeting those who act as gatekeepers of authority and influence in our society. Any attempt to sanitize, filter, manipulate information which it feeds to the public must be rejected as a fourth estate reneging on its obligation. The consequence is a compromised democracy.
In Barbados the media [fourth estate] is heavily self-censored. With the exception of a couple media practitioners there is a lack of respect for the profession by the decisionmakers and general public. It is fair to suggest that media workers demonstrate a lack of respect for themselves if we are to judge their inability to promote a vibrant union or association. The Barbados Association of Journalists (BAJ) does not even have an official website or Facebook presence in 2013 such is the inadequacy of how media workers see themselves.
Related Link: Statement issued by Assistant Commissioner of Police (ag) Crime, Lionel M. Thompson
Barbados is becoming like a war zone, with reports of shootings almost everyday by reckless and underemployed young men (they are almost always men). It is now taking on the characteristics of West Kingston in the mid-1970s when a surplus of arms fuelled the resentment of gangsters affiliated to the two dominant political parties. This aspect of Caribbean shootings has not yet raised its ugly head in Barbados, nor has the savagery of the murderous gangsters in Trinidad, although the choke and rob muggers of Guyana has been adopted by some Barbadian youths. In all this, the apparatus of law and order seems helpless, apart from a demand to better arm the policy and the unopposed willingness to put the Defence force on the streets and parading some of the West Coast beaches. It is a development that will eventually end in tears.
Crime and punishment is one of those subjects that have been raising people’s blood pressure since Adam and Eve. From the church to every man and woman at the street corner, we all have explanations for the break down in law and order. Those opposed to the drift in to a more repressive society (see: Stuart Hall: Drifting in to a Law and Order Society) are frequently forced to ask: whose law, what order. However, crime causation is the issue that pre-occupies most criminologists and criminal justice workers.
Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite, overtime and extra duty removed from the Police Force announced in the recent Budget
Submitted by Posh
I read in the Barbados Today publication about the meeting held between the Force and persons who have a vested interest in the St. Lawrence area. I particularly noted that it was stated by Inspector Streeks that the mobile unit is sometimes only staffed once a week due to resources. For those who don’t know resources really means man/woman power. (Not trying to patronize anyone).
There are one perhaps two issues I’d like to identify and perhaps offer my own opinion as to what might assist this situation. Firstly, the man power situation within the RBPF is not going to improve any time soon and in fact is only going to become worse. With the end to overtime and extra duty, all short falls in man power which would previously have been reinforced by extra/overtime is now no longer an option.
Then you have the ugly side effect of morale, no extra duty means low morale for any police force and while it is unfortunate it is unavoidable. So this tourist season we should all be prepared for less patrols, less visibility and less presence. What might happen is that some areas might be left vulnerable while others are bolstered.
BU’s Note: Local media has reported that Pedro Caddle has turned himself over to authorities in the company of his Attorney at law on Friday 30, 2013. Given the nature of this matter BU withholds the name of the person who submitted this writing two days ago which was not picked up by BU.
One again, the police are seeking public assistance in locating Pedro Caddle, who is wanted in connection with a number of “serious criminal matters”. Pedro has been recently released from prison, where he has been held since 2011, following a May 2011 request for public assistance in locating the man, then too being sought in connection with a number of “serious criminal matters”.
Of course, Pedro’s venture into “serious criminal matters” began well before 2011. The readership may recall that Pedro was a victim of a shooting incident while at the QEH in 2002. Public transcripts on the ensuing trial state, “Pedro Caddle, a person who by his own admission is constantly in trouble and always being shot, went to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on that day in question for dressing for one of his numerous gunshot wounds, and was shot again by an unknown assailant.”
Submitted by the Mahogany Coconut Think Tank and Watchdog Group
The Honourable Mr. Justice Randall Worrell
We are in full support of High Court Judge Randall Worrell’s call to decriminalize marijuana for personal purposes. We are also in full support of his position that our court system is clogged up with old cases involving marijuana charges. We do not condone drug abuse in any form but we believe that if cigarettes can be legally sold, there should be sales of marijuana as well. At least we know that cigarettes destroy millions of lives annually and place tremendous pressure on health services.
We hope that a more progressive approach is used in assisting those afflicted with the addiction of marijuana. We strongly believe that prison should be used for the punishment and rehabilitation of hardened criminals and not those who for one reason or another find themselves addicts. We know that many kids today are addicted to their parents’ prescription drugs and there are those amongst us who are addicted to medication. Certainly a modern judicial system cannot continue to waste time, resources and prison space on what are unfortunate human maladies. Our kids today are under constant pressure and sometimes they fall victims to habits that cannot be cured by excessive floggings or imprisonment.
We are equally concerned about the use of alcohol by our very young citizens and find it very hypocritical, that we are content with turning a blind eye to the heavy intake of alcohol in our communities. Alcohol is also a drug and its addiction is widespread. We are also concerned about the role the heavy use of alcohol plays in instances of domestic abuse , the financial ruin of many families and non –productivity in the work place. If we intend to seriously tackle addiction, we must be prepared to do so at all level.
Submitted by St. George’s Dragon
Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin
Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin continues to dig himself and the Royal Barbados Police deeper into a hole on the matter of Derrick Crawford and the wrongful accusation of double rape.
Not content with saying he did not think Crawford was innocent, he is now reported in the 28th December Barbados Today as saying effectively, that Crawford got off because all Black people look alike to Whites. Is this man for real?
Wait until the British press gets hold of that statement – Barbados reputation will be in further tatters.
Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union
In the case R. v. Sussex Justices, ex parte McCarthy I1924), Lord Chief Justice Hewart, in quashing the conviction, said: “Justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.”
On November 8, 2008, 16-year old Anna Druzhinina died a horrible death at the hands of Omar McCollin and Teereth Persaud, who received 16 and 21 years respectively for their crime.
I have heard this case discussed by several persons, all laymen, and all of them, like me; believe that this child’s killers have gotten away with murder. As I understand it one will walk out of prison in 12 years and the other in 15 years and 9 months. That is a small price to pay for such a gruesome killing.
In this season of goodwill, it is important to reflect on a recent example of petulance, obstinacy and outright arrogance by the Commissioner of Police over the recent acquittal of an innocent man accused of double rape. The facts of the case are simple: two women, white and British, in separate incidents alleged they were raped by a local man.Within a short period of making the reports, a man was arrested,interrogated and then charged with the rape offences. Almost as soon as they were invited to identify the man, both women said the accused was not the attacker and gave a number of identifying characteristics as evidence that the police had arrested the wrong man.
There was no forensic evidence, no DNA, only an alleged confession, obtained in custody while under interrogation, which was repudiated almost as soon as the accused appeared in court. In any civilised legal system, based on the old Roman principle that it was better that ten guilty persons go free than a single innocent one be wrongly convicted, that should have been the end of the case. Not in Barbados. Having been remanded in custody for eleven months, and the potential miscarriage of justice attracting the attention of the international press, the accused was released but not before the police, courts and the Guyanese director of public prosecutions prevaricated and delayed. It took the criminal justice authorities eleven months and a showpiece trial, worthy of the old Soviet Union, to work out that no properly constructed criminal court would have convicted the accused beyond a reasonable doubt, given the lack of evidence. First grade criminology students know that confessions are not themselves reasons for a conviction.