DAVID C O’NEAL
I FEEL A sense of satisfaction that since the recent spike in murders in which 42 people lost their lives in just seven days, National Security Minister Stuart Young has initiated amendments to our firearm laws in an attempt to avoid a recurrence.
However, what may offer some degree of obstruction is the fact that there is an appreciable number of career criminals who undergo training and retraining to ensure effectiveness in their operations, with murders being their speciality, their “pet subject.”
As part of their training, taking chances or risks is forbidden. To them, being armed with a firearm in a public place is a risk only to those people who had been previously charged by police for firearm-related offences or to people who currently have firearm-related matters pending in the courts.
Career criminals are referred to by their acquaintances as professionals. They often boast that they have never been handcuffed by police nor have ever seen the inside of a station cell. Detailed planning, chancing nothing, taking no risks whatever are the guidelines followed by career criminals.
This category of criminal should be therefore made to face all the risks that could be dished out. These so-called professionals are not known to police, therefore they are able to drive around freely with their “piece” in their vehicles waiting for the opportune time and place to “take out” their unsuspecting victims.
I strongly advocate that law enforcement officers cleverly and skilfully sniff out several locations in the country for vehicle searching which should be conducted twice or three times weekly for a duration of at least 90 minutes, with search locations varying from time to time. This is a major risk creation technique that would hold good for all gun-carrying motoring criminals, professionals or otherwise.
While we cannot overemphasise the value of modern-day technology, we must never fail to give proper attention to the fact that, though old-school, proper security is maintained by conducting regular irregular searches by day and by night.
Should there be technology in place to view the exterior of a vehicle to determine whether there are arms, ammunition and explosive devices in the interior, then there would be little or no need for the searching of vehicles.
Foot patrols too should be conducting regular irregular rubdown searches on pedestrians. This is strategic crime-fighting, more so now that the penalty for gun possession has been increased. The risk involved in being in a public place with an illegal firearm has now become greater.
I recall vividly that when former CoP Stephen Williams had exhausted all his options without obtaining the desired results he cried out that we need divine intervention and probably we really do.
Having regard to the number of brutal and horrific murders, we are now seeing, both on land and on the high seas, and having regard to the strange circumstances in which our innocent children are losing their lives, we can justifiably conclude that the land needs spiritual cleansing and healing.
In these circumstances, I wish to appeal to the minister to consider calling in the head of the Inter-Religious Organisation to discuss the feasibility of having all governmental and other departments throughout the country engage in one hour of prayer in their own workspace at the same time once every three weeks.
With a date and time set, all participants are to begin this national prayer session simultaneously and, if needs be, there should be consideration for days of national fast along with prayer, be it all voluntarily.
However, there may be some denominations that are not in the IRO. In such a situation, the head of the IRO is to contact the leaders of those groups, inviting them to join in with their flock. My proposal is to have these prayer sessions until the murders have abated to a sobering and acceptable level.
What is being advanced here is a double-barrelled approach in dealing with the country’s unacceptable murder statistics, but while there may be many God-fearing citizens in this rainbow country who believe in the power of prayer, they may not believe in the effects of risk.
The explanation is understandable. When one is faced with a risk, his well-being and safety cannot be guaranteed, therefore in such circumstances it would be reasonable to deduce that risks have the capacity to generate behavioural modification.
This is all about lessening the blood flow in our streets and in our villages and towns. It is all about making the country safer for both nationals and visitors. It’s all about depleting the murder rate to an acceptable level. It’s all about setting the tone for other nations to follow.