Government all talk – No Real Action to support our Police
Successive DLP and BLP governments have underfunded our police so badly that Barbados can’t find one hundred citizens willing to become police officers.
Notice we didn’t say “one hundred qualified citizens” because the RBPF keeps lowering its standards in the hopes of fulfilling the vacancies with people of minimal qualifications and they still can’t attract enough warm, breathing bodies. The “warm and breathing” qualification is pretty well the standard for hiring now. The big brass are even talking about remedial literacy instruction for newly hired officers as a way of further lowering the employment standards.
That’s how desperate the situation is.
The force has been chronically under-strength for a decade for no other reason than we pay our garbage-truck drivers more money than we pay new police officers.
Think about that.
Safety and Stability are our real tourism product
Barbados Free Press has often pointed out that safety and stability are the true foundations for our tourism industry. There’s lots of other islands around with Caribbean sand, sun and surf – and many are a whole lot prettier than Barbados. People come here in good measure because Barbados is perceived as a safe destination for a vacation. Lose that “perception” and see what happens to our economy.
But we are losing that perception in the world media. It’s early in the process and the damage can be slowed and repaired in the next five years but only if the DLP government doubles the police budget immediately and pays attention thereafter.
Barbados is now starting to reap the whirlwind created by chronic underfunding of our police force. Tourists on the world’s #1 travel discussion website (Trip Advisor) are talking freely about their experiences with the infamous Boscobel Road Toll Gang and how the Barbados police let the gang terrorize island visitors for years without doing anything.
Now tourists are asking if the RBPF is being paid off by the Boscobel road toll gang, and frankly that’s not an unfair question in light of some of the charges laid against police officers in the last year or so.
We’ve had some incidents in the past couple of years, including a tourist murdered while walking in broad daylight, rapes, shootings and robberies of visitors too numerous to count. The world is starting to raise its eyebrows and merely saying reassuring words doesn’t cut it anymore for Barbados.
We’ve got a couple of years to turn things around or look out!
Fine words by Adriel Brathwaite a cover for doing nothing
Member of Parliament for St. Philip South Adriel Brathwaite stood up the other day and called for greater support of the Royal Barbados Police Force. If you’ll read the Barbados Advocate article Brathwaite: Support the RBPF’s efforts you’ll see that Mr. Brathwaite thinks we should excuse police officers who beat citizens without cause because the officers have a tough lot and we should be more understanding.
We think Brathwaite is wrong on a number of levels. We think that Brathwaite should be calling for more professionalism from our police and higher standards for hiring new officers.
But most of all, we point out that in the absence of real action (defined as significantly increased RBPF funding) Brathwaite’s vapid words are just that: vapour.
So how about it, Mr. Brathwaite? Can we expect you to introduce a bill anytime soon calling for police officers to be paid more than garbage truck drivers?
Ya… that’s what we thought.