Out on bail? Watch yuh tail!
The Commissioner of Police recently stated crime is down. Yay! However, he also highlighted a pattern of accused criminals posting bail and then being murdered while they await their trial. Oh no! Though not surprising, this pattern is alarming and presents several questions that need to be answered. Sadly, I don’t have a big enough word count to ask them all today. So, what I will focus on is this; should we do something about this pattern or let it continue?
Let’s talk about it!
To begin, let’s talk about the purpose of bail. It grants the accused a temporary release of while awaiting trial. Bail could be a good thing, as it allows the accused to still “be free” instead of being remanded while they await trial, normally months away. If granted correctly, bail can be considered a beautiful thing. However, this pattern pointed out by the top cop, presents one of the downsides of bail.
Let’s say I was accused of murder, went to my initial hearing, plead innocent, and was granted and posted bail. Yay! Although I still have to prove my innocence at trial, my family, friends and loved ones will all be excited because I didn’t have to wait behind bars. However, the family, friends, and loved ones of the person that I am accused of killing may not feel the same way. Some may be outraged because I allegedly took the life of someone they cared about and should be locked up.
However, with my conditional freedom, the victim’s family members may find joy, in anticipation of retaliation. Here lies the problem.
If the purpose of bail is to allow the accused to be free as they await trial, that purpose becomes null if I am killed before my trial date.
With that said, maybe, just maybe, I would be safer behind bars, where no one would be able to retaliate for the crime that I am accused of committing. Then, I will be able to stand trial and let the justice system work. And if the system is quick, then I won’t have to wait to begin my trial.
Well maybe, just maybe, I should be out on the road at the mercy of the friends and family of the person I am accused of murdering. But who are they to decide whether I should live or die? If I am killed, I mean, who cares? I was a “murderer” anyway, and the world may be a better place without me. But that would be taking away my right to be innocent until proven guilty.
So, I ask again, should we do anything about this pattern? I don’t have the answers. But what I do know is if you are out on bail, you better watch your tail!
Immigrants are people too! Shantytown Demolition Continues
As the nation watches the destruction of several unregulated communities, I pause to ponder if the displacement of hundreds of people is truly necessary; even if they are immigrants. I’m not sure where this conversation is going, but regardless, let’s talk about it.
Typically, these communities form when immigrants here in The Bahamas ban together, pool their resources, and create a space where they can love on, support and care for one another. Sounds good right? Like a little gated community of sorts? Well, the problem is that these communities are erected without going through the proper procedures. They just find a piece of “unoccupied land” and then boom, a mini-Treasure Cove is born. And what’s wrong with this, you might ask? Well let’s just say that it is giving Christopher Columbus vibes.
Imagine if an immigrant were to come into your backyard with their family, and build an entire community? “Well, the difference is that they don’t build on people’s property, they build on “unclaimed land.” Okay, well imagine if I, as a Bahamian citizen, went and just built a new community on a piece of “unclaimed land” next to your three-bedroom two-bathroom home that you paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for. “Hmmm….” Yeah, that’s what I thought. It’s illegal, and I would get in trouble for it, even though I am a Bahamian citizen. “Well, if you agree that they shouldn’t be having these communities, then what’s the point of this letter?” Calm down, I’m getting there.
I am not saying that the government shouldn’t destroy these communities, as I agree with its decision and the way they are going about it. In fact, this letter isn’t for the government at all, rather it’s for the Bahamian citizens, as we must remember that immigrants are people too! I know how it is to be a legal emigrant. Trying to make a just living in a foreign land is tough. And, of course, wherever there are people, there will be corruption. So, the option of working and living under the table will always present itself. Now, one must be strong enough to resist said temptation, and must also be wise enough to know when it’s time to pack up and go home. If you must ever do something sketchy to stay in a foreign land, then maybe you shouldn’t be there in the first place.
I believe that tough times do not warrant illegal action. However, I do believe that it is possible for tough times to lead good people to do bad things. So, as we sit back and watch the homes of hundreds of people, legal or illegal, being demolished, let us remember to have some type of compassion for others. Because you never know when the shoe will be on your foot.