Bahamas Police Commissioner Clayton Fernander has announced new anti-crime strategies to tackle gun violence in The Bahamas, including the establishment of a special anti-gang and firearms unit.
“In recent times, the Bahamian public has become incensed by the loss of so many of our young men with the resurgence and proliferation of illegal firearms and gang-related violence in our communities,” Fernander said as he took over the leadership of the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) from Paul Rolle.
“To stem these criminal activities, we moved swiftly to establish Operation Ceasefire for immediate impact for immediate impact under the mantle of flooding our streets with strategic saturated patrols, particularly in hotspot areas, targeting and disrupting prolific gang members.”
Figures show that the country has recorded 75 murders so far this year, with eight of the murders being committed last week.
Fernander told the handing-over ceremony that new bold actions will be taken to deal with the crime situation and that officials are reviewing the intelligence unit to restructure their approach to the issue.
“Today, I can say to you that Operation Ceasefire is in full effect, and it has been yielding successful results by removing drugs, firearms, and ammunition off of our streets.
“Effective today’s date, Operation Ceasefire shall function as a separate unit under the name Ceasefire Unit to stem the activities of prolific offenders. As the weeks and months unfold, our bold response to crime will become more evident and impactful,” the new police commissioner said.
He also announced the establishment of a special anti-gang and firearms unit “with immediate effect” in response to the recent spate of murders, adding that the specialized unit will be situated at the RBPF’s headquarters.
“It will operate as a standalone unit for a more focused approach to disrupt criminal activities involving firearms and ammunition,” he added.
Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis, who left the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) summit in Suriname early, said tougher police measures could not alone bring resolution and that a proper response is also conflict resolution, prevention, intervention, punishment, and rehabilitation.