We are not there yet. Much more needs to be done by all the social partners if we are going to win this war against crime and return our communities to the once tranquil environments they used to be.
Places like my beloved Bain Town, once the bedrock for cultural activities and social gatherings, must return to a sense of normalcy.
These challenges we face, though enormous, are not insurmountable.
And when we elevate our social consciousness and obligation in our respective communities, then we will continue to stem the tide.
Recent government initiatives however, led by my MP Dr. Bernard Nottage, the minister of national security, and of course Attorney General Allyson Maynard, continue to assure me that no effort will be spared in winning our communities back.
Only a few days ago I was privileged to be one of the special guests at the Urban Renewal homes program.
To have seen the key turn to a brand-new house for a resident of Bain Town, and the significant partnership involved in that exercise, not only did my heart good, but was yet a reminder that when we as a people work together and share of our resources, then gospel preaching becomes a joy.
It brings a smile to my face.
Yet I know this is not enough. Significantly more funding is needed to meet our many social ills, which in my view is at the center of our crime dilemma.
The government’s initiative to do major home repairs in the urban areas is but one more step in uprooting the very appearance of criminal activities, though resources are limited.
I saw the wisdom then in government seeking to raise additional resources by taxing what all of us know continues to be one of the Bahamians’ most favorite pastimes – spinning balls for gain.
It is an issue one year later, still unresolved, and even with a pending court ruling it will be here with us.
I am not prepared to re-litigate that issue, having paid a personal price for being progressive because I felt then as I do now that with more revenue much more can be done to arrest the social void in Bain Town and other needy communities.
I continue to call on our social partners to join the government as we press towards more peaceful communities and the creation of a new Bahamas.
I am of the view that crime, which seems to be hitting us from all fronts, is being met by a government that is equally up to the task of confronting these vexing issues from all fronts.
The preventative work of Urban Renewal and the continuous tabling of crime-fighting bills send a strong message to persons with criminal minds that they will not be allowed to unravel us as a people.
The swift justice initiative by the attorney general is the Bible’s description in the fight against crime.
Governments are deterrents to evil-doers and sentences will come quickly to persons found guilty of wrongdoing.
Additionally, the recent tabling of other crime bills is closing all the loopholes and strengthens our borders, while making good on our international and neighborly responsibilities.
The bill to deal with gang crime and, of course, ensuring our police officers are not interfered with is a significant signal that this government is resolute in this fight.
I do believe in the not too distant future these kinds of initiatives will be followed up with the government seriously re-visiting the issue of hanging persons found guilty of murder.
And while we have progressed some with our present system of governance, I join my fellow Bahamians in their call to the Constitutional Commission to cause capital punishment to be returned immediately and to remove all barriers that prevent the carrying out of the law so far as capital punishment is concerned; even if this means changes in our judicial system.
These challenges we face are multifaceted in nature. And yes, with God’s help, a government that is resolute in carrying the sword and our many social partners sharing in the burden of governance, over time we will see even more progress one community at a time
~ Rev. Dr. Philip McPhee