Police Commissioner of The Bahamas, Claytoner Fernander says he fully supports the position outlined by National Security Minister, Wayne Munroe, that people charged with serious crimes should be kept in custody rather than be released on bail.
Fernander, who was recently appointed to the position of top cop, said 55 percent of murder victims for the year were on bail and there could also be swift justice by allowing persons to go straight to trial and alleviate instances of retaliation.
Earlier this week, Munroe told local media that people charged with murder should be kept in custody for their own protection noting that more than 30 men who were on bail this year have been murdered.
Fernander, speaking at a Rotary Club meeting, said many of the men who were killed were on bail for murder, armed robberies, and other serious crimes.
“Shortly after they are released from prison, they are dead,” he said, adding that “based on our intel (intelligence), we suspect that the suspects for that are the rival gangs. Their enemies are responsible for that.
“Again, you can see that the solvency rate is 58 percent. Yes, we find them and put them behind bars. We go above and beyond to convince the court that if this individual is given bail either he gets killed or some other relatives or friends who he hangs around become a potential target.
Late last month, the London-based Privy Council dismissed an appeal by the Trinidad and Tobago Attorney General that sought to determine whether section 5(1) of the Bail Act 1994 is inconsistent with the country’s Constitution.
The Privy Council, which is also The Bahamas’ highest and final court, noted that under the bail provision the prohibition of bail occurs as a result of being charged and applies pre-committal, as in this case.
Fernander told the Rotarians that law enforcement authorities have been using Operation Ceasefire to target gang members along with removing firearms and drugs from the streets.
Gang violence has been an ongoing issue in the country, particularly with gang activities and affiliations happening in schools.
“As we speak, we have a team of security officers who will be assisting the police in the schools who are training now, a one-week training course at the police college,” he said, reiterating that these are ongoing with the Ministry of Education.