It is a mere fantasy by those who believe getting rid of the commissioner of police would be the silver bullet to solving crime in the Turks and Caicos Islands, while refusing to come forward with vital information on criminality, this sentiment was expressed by Deputy Commissioner of Police, Rodney Adams.
The second in command to the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force (RTCIPF) was addressing the First Annual Commemoration of those killed by gun violence between 2017 and the present.
In recent months, members of the public have been calling for the resignation of Police Commissioner Trevor Botting, who they claim is incapable of managing crime in the country.
Between 1st April 2017 and 31st of May, 2022, 60 people have been gunned down at the hands of criminals across the Turks and Caicos Islands, which according to the deputy commissioner of police, averaged 12 gun murders per year, which he said was sad for a population of about 40,000.
“It is totally unacceptable, and we should be ashamed of ourselves as a nation,” Adams charged.
“The noise has started in the market of who should be fired and who should not be fired – that is all fine. At the end of the day we, as a people, have a responsibility, and that responsibility is the God-given right to look after each other.
“No matter who the commissioner of police is or where they come from, at the end of the day, that person being the lead law-enforcement officer would certainly need the help of the society in order to be more efficient and effective in doing his or her job,” Adams insisted.
He bemoaned the fact that those who continued to keep illegal firearms were given the opportunity through a gun amnesty and an extension to turn those weapons in, but save for two, they all refused.
“In late February of this year, we launched a firearm amnesty, and the purpose behind that was to give each and every person with an illegal firearm in this country the opportunity to step forward and turn it in to law enforcement.
“Some people said to me, ‘you guys are foolish for doing this’. Maybe we were. But we had given each and every person an opportunity of a lifetime, to turn in any unregistered firearm to law enforcement. We went further and extended it to the end of April.
“There was a total of two firearms that were turned in. One was turned in by the family of a deceased former police officer…so, I think it would be safe to say that was not one that was out there that was being threatening to anyone. “And then someone called in, finding one in their backyard. So clearly, there was no willingness at all on our young men, who believe that having an unlicensed firearm is the way to go,” Adams said.
He reminded the gathering that the RTCIPF could not solve crime on its own regardless of who was commissioner of police, stating that the public had two choices – to continue to complain about the country’s crime rate or take a proactive approach that would ensure those who plan to choose a life of crime can be dissuaded.
“We cannot wait until a person reaches 18-19 and talk about intervention. It is absolute nonsense,” Deputy Commissioner Adams charged.
Admitting that he was not banking on data, the 30-year RTCIPF crime-fighting veteran concluded that probably most of the young people who have been wreaking havoc across the country might have had bad experiences at some point earlier in their life.
“We have got to get back to basics and deal with these issues as a people, otherwise, the next 10 years, we will be here doing the same thing again. So, my appeal to all of us, the government and the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands, we must decide what sort of country we want for the future generation.
“At the end of the day, no matter who the commissioner of police is, in my view, if the community is not willing to help and step forward, nothing will really change,” Adams emphasized, stating that if one believes he or she cannot trust the police to provide information, to find a close friend or a pastor.
“You hear the rhetoric about ‘we can’t trust the police, we can’t do this, that and the other’. Trust yourself then. Trust a friend or pastor. Get the information to us. The police cannot work miracles, we need your information to assist us in moving forward with any investigation,” he encouraged.
The tough-talking Adams also blasted those in government departments who have chosen to work in isolation, making problem-solving disjointed.
“As a country, we need to also look at serious preventative measures. A lot of great work is going on in the Education Department and other departments. DG (Deputy Governor), the problem is that everybody is doing things in their own little silos, and they are not coming together…we have got to fix that as a country moving forward.
“I am here to push these initiatives…I speak about proactive action in terms of a ‘PIER’ approach – Prevention, Intervention, Enforcement and Rehabilitation. And my desire is to see us having national leads under each of those pillars moving forward. I have a plan that can make things different, but I need the help of each and every one of you,” Adams pleaded.