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Briland Town Meeting: Tackling Crime
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Page 1 of 1Total of 3 messages
Posted by:Aug 13th 2004, 11:22:02 am
BrilandkidThank you Police Commissioner Paul Farquharson for the attention you have given to Harbour Island (Briland). I do not currently live in Harbour Island, But it is our beloved home and it was so unsetterling to hear about the open air drug dealing and the out of control immigrant problem some of which I wittness on one of my trips home. I do understand that there is some lack of cooperation by some not all, this action does not only happen in Briland, but in many small communites and in many parts of the world. This is in no way an excuse, but we are a unique place and people who boast of it's friendly people. we must maintain that unique image to go with that unique slogan. To my fellow Brilanders it would be in our best interest to work more closly with our law enforcement team, as I know you will. So as to maintain that "HOME OF THE fRENDLY PEOPLE" slogan. That slogan belongs to us let's all cooperate. The law is the law and it must be enforced regardless. Thank you again Police Commissioner Paul Farquharson for the attention you have shown our home.
Posted by:Aug 13th 2004, 11:21:59 am
MaddieOur rental house was robbed last March while we were home eating dinner and two of the houses we rented for my son's wedding guests in April were also robbed. One of the houses was robbed again since we left!
We have been coming to Harbour Island since 1956 and for the first time ever, we are now very nervous.
Commissioner Farquharson called me on Tuesday which I greatly appreciate; I only hope he can do some good...
If we have any problems while we are down this winter, I am afraid it will be the Bronsons' last trip to Harbour Island.
Posted by:Aug 12th 2004, 02:22:23 pm
Fig Tree News TeamHarbour Island crime concern
By Gladstone Thurston,Bahamas Information Services [Nassau Guardian]

Dunmore Town, Harbour Island
Police Commissioner Paul Farquharson has challenged residents here to "take a firm stand with the police against crime" and preserve this community as a premier tourist destination.

Addressing a town meeting here Monday night, Mr Farquharson produced statistics to show there has been a reduction in crime but a spate of break-ins recently was cause for concern.

Mr Farquharson had dispatched a crack team from the Crime Detection Unit (CDU). Stolen goods were recovered and arrests made.

Visitor exit surveys show that Harbour Islanders "are friendly to the world" but "somebody is spoiling that reputation because of the crime," the Ministry of Tourism's Director for Family Islands, Angela Cleare, told the meeting.

Member of Parliament for North Eleuthera, Alvin Smith, urged Harbour Islanders to appreciate the relationship between tourism and the community's success.

"Many Harbour Islanders are taking this success for granted," he added. "You can have it today and lose it tomorrow."

Residents of this island community off north Eleuthera, packed the Church of God auditorium and for two hours pressed Commissioner Farquharson and his team with their concerns.

They spoke of stealing, drug peddling, prostitution, the growing illegal immigrant community, traffic challenges with golf carts, trucks and cars competing for the island's narrow streets, the inconsiderate use of jet skis, insufficient police officers, and loud and obscene music.

Parents also came under fire for "cloaking their children in crime." One resident told the meeting: "We have a serious problem in this community with our kids."

A lady told of "young people allowed in clubs, dancing with their mothers and their fathers."

Also attending the Town Meeting were Administrator Alexander Flowers; Chief Councilor Eloise Knowles; Under Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Local Government, Colleen Nottage; Assistant Director of Social Services, Marva Russell-Minns; Police College Commandant, Chief Superintendent Quinn McCartney; Officer in Charge of the Complaints and Discipline Unit, Assistant Superintendent Stephen Newbold; Second in charge of Community Relations, Assistant Superintendent Elaine Sands; Officer in Charge for North Eleuthera, Superintendent Osborne Ferguson; Reservist in Charge of Eleuthera, ASP Livingston L Barr; Sergeant 1554 Frankiemae Mather of the Urban Renewal Programme in Nassau; and chairman of the Crime Watch Committee in Blair, Gerry Cartwright.

Home to the world famous pink sand beaches, Harbour Island attracts multi-million dollar yachts to its marinas and multi-millionaires to its shores. Real estate goes for nothing under six figures. Construction is brisk. Many workers come in each day from Eleuthera.

In a forthright discussion on Monday night, Mr Farquharson told of a "gulf" between Harbour Islanders and the police. "We must bridge that gap if we're going to approach any problems in this community at all," he said.

"And we have come to discuss how we can address those community problems. We want to help you, as a community, retain the beauty, security and the economic success of this place.

"From where we sit outside, we see some things which, if they are not addressed, we're going to be in trouble. We have come because we see our children being led astray by some of us adults."

He told of girls in Harbour Island having sex as early as nine years old. "That's bad business," he said.

And there are those "who are moving around the night clubs at a very young age.

"We have come to see how we can assist you by not allowing our young men to walk around and entering the homes of our customers the tourists who come here and the second home owners."

Second homeowners, he said, oftentimes leave their houses unlocked, "and a number of crimes that we call break-ins are not really break-ins the youngsters just walk in and take what they want."

Mr Farquharson called for co-operation from the residents in keeping the community safe. "Everybody looks at the police to solve everything," he said. "Well, we are only citizens in uniform.

"The 10 officers who are stationed here are not from Harbour Island. I have a very tough time finding a police officer who is willing to come to Harbour Island because some of us treat them badly. But yet they are here, sacrificing."

He told of an officer he brought in from Grand Bahama. He is married to a nurse and they have a daughter, 16.

"And they broke into his house a couple months ago," Mr Farquharson recalled. "He said, 'Commissioner, I have to go. I cannot take this Harbour Island any more because the people do not appreciate what I am doing.'

"I brought him because he is a good community relations officer, to see if we can work together to try and bridge this gulf that exists between us.

"We have to pull that together if we are to do anything at all in this community. We have some problems that we have to address together. The police cannot do it all."

He promised better conditions of service for the police. The lock-up and the police station in Harbour Island "are a disgrace," he said. "We have to do something about that. If I don't do anything else, the one thing I must do is improve the living condition of officers."

Last year police dealt with 27 files of house breaking, 23 files of shop breaking, and 42 files of dangerous drugs for Harbour Island.

So far this year there were eight house breakings, one shop breaking, and 25 drug arrests, he said.

The Commissioner observed that Harbour Island "is becoming a dope haven. And me and dope dealers can't go far. I can't tolerate dope. Harbour Island's name is being muddled in drug trafficking. That's a bad sign for the tourism industry."

He said criminals often travel under the guise of tourists. One detective sent to Harbour Island reported he was "amazed to see so many criminals in Harbour Island who are not from here. That's a big problem."

Director for Family Islands at the Ministry of Tourism, Angela Cleare said Harbour Island remains "the friendliest of all the islands."

But visitor exit surveys underscore visitors' concern about crime. Mrs Cleare referred to one.

"Our cottage was broken into two times while we were sleeping," the visitor wrote. "The police took our situation very seriously and even made an arrest but we feel our safety is compromised."

"This says two things," said Mrs Cleare. "They don't feel safe anymore and they were pleased with the timely response of the police.

"We want to be able to still say that the Bahamas is the safest place in the world. The only places now where we are getting these comments about crime is Exuma and Harbour Island.

"In Harbour Island we get comments that the people are friendly to the world (but) somebody is spoiling that reputation because of the crime."

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