Do we need armed officers at each Barbados school? Shot fired during school canteen robbery

Violent criminals know the Barbados Police Force is understrength by 100+ officers

When two thugs burst into the Parkinson School canteen just after lunch on Friday and fired a shot to terrorize the staff, they knew that they could probably get clean away. That’s because criminals, like the rest of us, have noticed that patrolling police officers are a rare sight in Barbados compared with even two or three years ago.

According to the story in The Nation, canteen owner Nancy Lynch was taken to hospital and another woman had a gun placed right against her chest as people screamed and ran from the masked men.

In our school.

Where our children are.

Where we send them every day to learn and be safe.

School Principal Orson Alleyne wrong about one thing…

“It is frightening to think that in this society we can come to the point where people can think they can come onto a school compound and perform such acts, and in broad daylight,” … school principal Orson Alleyne

The truth is that the thugs don’t think they can rob a school in broad daylight with our children there – they know they can do it because they, like the rest of us, watched the politicians squeeze the budget of our Royal Barbados Police Force for the last 15 years.

Dale Marshall - Policing not a priority

Former Attorney General Dale Marshall told potential Barbados police recruits that they shouldn’t expect to be paid anywhere near what they could earn elsewhere as police officers. That said everything about what Mr. Marshall’s priorities were. (To be fair though, Dale Marshall’s government did give us a hell of a Cricket World Cup party over a few weeks for only a half a billion dollars or thereabouts.)

Policing and community safety was not a priority for the Mottley/Arthur BLP government and it is not a priority for the current DLP government. That’s why our police force doesn’t have the money to attract and hire the more than 100 officers who haven’t been replaced.

An Insider Talks

According to a friend, our police force doesn’t pay enough to attract even semi-qualified candidates and we lose many good recruits and trained officers to other police organisations throughout the Caribbean and the USA.

This means that the average education, experience and maturity level of our typical officer is falling. Our friend says that, for the most part, the RBPF has recently attracted two widely different types of candidates: young idealists who “want to save the world” and a rougher sort who view the police as the best job they can manage.

Our friend says that upon reading the above, many of the RBPF senior officers will shake their heads in agreement and wonder who we’ve been speaking with because more than a few senior officers have been saying those exact words.

The solution is more money. Lots more money for salaries, training, equipment and leadership.

Citizens, experts and police themselves have known for years that our police force is dangerously underfunded. Now we are starting to reap the consequences of 15 years of neglect by successive BLP and DLP governments.

Any society that is unwilling to make public safety and order a priority will suffer the consequences. And when the economy is primarily tourist based, the consequences of not having a top-notch police force are devastating. Just ask Jamaica with its walled-off beach resorts and private schools surrounded with barbed wire and armed guards.

The Government of Barbados and individual politicians don’t seem to understand that making something a “priority” doesn’t mean just saying that it is a priority.

The lack of funding reveals that the Government of Barbados does not believe that law enforcement and public safety are really priorities.

Do we need armed officers at each Barbados school?

No. It hasn’t come to that yet. But that day is not far off if our politicians don’t wake up and make the Royal Barbados Police Force a BUDGET priority.

Photo credit: The Nation – Canteen Robbed


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Crime & Law, Police

3 responses to “Do we need armed officers at each Barbados school? Shot fired during school canteen robbery

  1. passin thru

    Good article bfp. I saw the dearth of police during the daylight hours myself. The “thugs” as you say noticed too.

  2. 360 degrees

    It is a very serious situation. When someone call the Police Force for an emergency and the officers are showing up after 30-40 minutes …or the day after, that means we have not protection. Very bad!

  3. “Education Minister of Barbados needs to go back to school – Ronald Jones decries Crop Over Fete almost 3 years after winning seat? Please!”