Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite.
(Photo Credit: Richard Grimes)
As Barbados joined with the rest of the world in celebrating International Day of the Girl, Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite has expressed concern about what he refers to as a “worrying trend” among young women who are increasingly becoming perpetrators of violent crimes.
He made this disclosure during the National Consultation on Violence being spearheaded by the Criminal Justice Research and Planning Unit (CJRPU), at the Sir Garfield Sobers today where he noted female involvement in crime is almost on par with that of their male counterparts.
“Research conducted over the past six months has identified that in the 1980’s boys were four times as likely as girls to be arrested for a violent crime. Today boys are only twice as likely as girls to be arrested for a violent crime. Therefore our females must also be targeted for intervention given that the nature of crime in Barbados is rapidly changing.”
He said the National Consultation will be used to formulate solutions to these issues and more with the goal of stamping out violent crime across the country. Brathwaite also said research conducted within the past year has identified several criminal risk factors that span all sectors in Barbados with the breakdown in family, poor parenting and drug abuse being at the top of the list. In addition, recidivism was also contributing to the crime problem as ex-convicts were having a difficult time reintegrating into society.
Brathwaite revealed immediate plans by his Ministry to tackle the increase in gun violence in the form of anti-gang legislation which will see anyone - both male and female - found guilty of being in a gang receive no less than 20 years in prison, while leaders of gangs would receive 25 years maximum. Brathwaite said he has received numerous reports of alleged gang members living in the society without fear of prosecution and to address such, he proposes the widening of police powers to stop and search at will as well as a mandatory 18 month no-bail period for persons who are charged with firearm-related offenses.
He added while he is aware it is not possible to "save all," policymakers are willing to do what is necessary to deviate more young people away from criminal behaviour.