House speaker calls for “dragnet” sweep of NP for illegal firearms

House speaker calls for “dragnet” sweep of NP for illegal firearms
(FILE PHOTO)

Police have seized 248 illegal firearms for the year

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Expressing concerns about a culture of violence and lack of conflict resolution on New Providence in particular, Speaker of the House of Assembly Halson Moultrie yesterday recommended the Royal Bahamas Police Force perform a wide sweep of the island for illegal firearms.

He was responding to the spate of recent violent crimes on the island, some of which have taken place in his constituency.

“We have to do something more to address the gang culture,” Moultrie told the media.

“I recommend strongly that the police undertake a dragnet operation to rid this seven-by-21 island of all the illegal firearms,” the speaker said.

“I believe that can be done.

“We need to get more serious with dealing with illegal firearms in this country.”

According to data provided by Commissioner of Police Paul Rolle, 248 illegal firearms and 3,742 rounds of ammunition have been seized for the year so far.

There were 359 illegal firearm seizures in 2019. A total of 11,033 rounds of ammunition were also seized last year.

While the data reflects a decline with three weeks remaining in the year, it is inconclusive whether there were fewer illegal firearms on the streets or fewer seizures.

Moultrie said he will continue to promote the educational process for young men and hopes they will come to understand that it is “inhumane and ungodly to take the life of another human being, no matter what the circumstances may be”.

“We try to implement a culture in Nassau Village of ‘life and let live,’” Moultrie told the media.

“Just recently, in the collaboration with Zonta for the 16 Days to End Violence Against Women and Girls, we had an initiative at the entrance of Nassau Village.

“My representation has always been one of trying to encourage education, upliftment and community spirit.

“We have a theme of love, peace and unity in the community.

“But the difficultly is when a certain culture has set in for so long, it does not change overnight.

“So, those persons who have fallen through the cracks in our education system — the social promotion system that permits young men in particular to avoid classes; to go through the public school system in particular, from Grade 1 to Grade 12, and exit without being able to read and write, it is difficult for them when it comes to their reasoning power and the analytical ability in conflict resolution matters.

“And so, it is easy to pick up a gun and takes someone’s life or cause grievous bodily harm when you cannot rationalize a decision and come back the following day to bring resolution.”