Democratic Labour Party (DLP) president Verla De Peiza and St George North candidate Floyd Reifer have lambasted Attorney General Dale Marshall, accusing him of failing to deal with the current surge in crime.
The criticism came just a day after Barbados recorded its latest murder – 20-year-old Tremaine Cummings who was fatally shot in King Street, The City on Saturday night.
De Peiza told a political mass meeting at Market Hill, St George on Sunday that the current administration had offered “not a single policy initiative to address crime and violence”.
“Today, the chickens have come home to roost as we watch the blood of our sons pour down the streets of Barbados, as recently as last night whilst they were busy partying…. Pastor [David] Durant was keeping a record from the 1st of June, 2018. As of May 2018, there eight murders in Barbados. By the end of the year, they had 30-something. We thought that was horrible. Last year, they had 50 and this year the media so fed up they don’t even bother to count anymore,” she charged.
The DLP president said the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration had continually blamed the lack of scanners at the Bridgetown Port for guns being able to slip into the island. However, she contended, Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith had recently said otherwise.
“We get comments like ‘if the Democratic Labour Party had put the scanners in we won’t have the guns’, but just a few days ago the Commissioner of Police said we have the scanners and we still have the guns coming in so there is something more than that,” she said.
“Two weeks ago on Brasstacks, Kerrie Symmonds said, ‘we are just talking about murders but the rest of the crime is going down’. The Commissioner of Police put the lie to that too. Aggravated robberies and burglaries have gone up exponentially, and significantly too, in this country.”
De Peiza added that the same Attorney General who had called for the head of his predecessor, Adriel Brathwaite, was now silent while some of the most heinous crimes were being committed.
“In 2017, when we had one person murdered on Kadooment Day in the midst of the crowd, this present Attorney General piss parade all ’bout Barbados and wanted the head of Adriel Brathwaite. He said he was doing nothing that such a public execution could take place.
“Well, under the watch of the present Attorney General, somebody went inside Sheraton whilst the disabled were touring . . . and kill a man inside the mall in broad daylight and not a peep can be heard from the Attorney General,” she said.
Pointing out some specific crimes which occurred during the year, De Peiza spoke of one within the DLP family.
“This one is dear to the Democratic Labour Party family . . . . A young man was working on a party boat and he has not gone home to his mother and his grandmother yet, and not a word from the Attorney General. A whole family practically got executed in a house in St Philip and we can’t hear a word from the Attorney General. They are devoid of any policy. They like pretty talk, we like to work.”
Reifer, addressing the meeting after his party leader, also spoke on the menacing issue.
“The safety of the people of St George North must be a priority. I am calling on the Attorney General Dale Marshall, instead of talking about my opponent you need to talk to us about crime rates. You had a lot to say ’bout my friend, the former Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite. Where is your voice now?” he said.
The DLP hopeful demanded that Marshall answer to the country for the current state of affairs.
“Dale Marshall, you are a St George North resident. You are one of my constituents. You owe us answers on the crime situation, especially gun violence. They say I ain’t know nothing about national issues. They creating all kinda narratives ’cause they ain’t got nothing on me,” he said.
Reifer made reference to a crime committed at a church in the St George North constituency.
“I went to St Augustine Church. Reverend Clarke announced the lawnmower was stolen, the weed wacker was stolen, the place get broken into. It is bad when the church is being a target. So, Mr Marshall should be shame talking ’bout he has a solution for St George North and that solution is Moore. What Moore you talking ’bout, Mr Marshall? You talking ’bout more guns, and more murders, more break ins; that is all he could be talking ’bout. This is not good enough. The people want answers from you,” Reifer said.