Attorney General Adriel Braithwaite, receives equipement (centre right) from OAS??Representative, Francis McBarnette (centre left) and Canadian government representative, High Commissioner, Ruth Archibald (left), while??Cheryl Willoughby, Director of the NTFCP looks on.?? (G.Brewster/BGIS)

The National Task Force on Crime Prevention (NTFCP) is now one step closer to setting up a National Public Security Observatory that would assist them in their data gathering on crime.

The first efforts towards achieving this goal took place this morning with the signing of an agreement between this country’s Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite and the Organisation of American States Representative, Francis McBarnette.??

The Observatory, which consists of computer equipment and software donated by the Organisation of American States (OAS) and the Canadian government, will be utilised to tackle criminality on these shores.

Director of the NTFCP, Cheryl Willoughby said data on crime was pertinent if the Force was to get a true extent of the problem as well as if they were to be proactive in their strategic approach to addressing the issues of crime.

She told the gathering that it was an opportunity for the Office of the Attorney General through the NTFCP to embark on an initiative which would benefit Barbados and the region on the whole.

She said: "Our efforts must be strategically integrated with what is happening at the global level and so this is an opportunity for Barbados to come up to the standards that our other stakeholders and partners are currently at."

OAS Representative, Francis McBarnette pointed out that public security was??high priority as they at the OAS continued to work with their member states to stem the tide of rising crime and violence that was affecting many countries.

"The Observatory is being established within the context of a region wide project, and it is equipped to collect data and relevant information on crime and violence utilising universally accepted methodologies of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)… hence, we decided to utilise the UNODC template in the collection of data to ensure that the information and resulting analyses render these outputs acceptable for all users, particularly for governments.

"We at the OAS believe that establishment of this Observatory is critical in the fight against crime and violence.?? All government agencies collect data and information but it is often not brought to a central location and the methods and methodologies differ … [thus] the Observatory will allow the authorities to have a better sense of what is

happening on a national scale and enhance the capacity to track trends to understand the dynamics of what is occurring," Mr. McBarnette explained.

Meanwhile, Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite stated the issue of crime could not be addressed without having the requisite information and research that enabled his Ministry to develop the correct policies.

He further underscored that the Task Force had an essential role to play in terms of the public’s overall response to crime.

"We know sometimes there is a bit of a differentiation between reported crime and unreported crime, that is an area where there is a difference in opinion in terms of what is the correct level of crime, not only in Barbados but in the region.?? I have seen information to suggest that in fact the difference between reported in Barbados and other parts of the region are sometimes double digits, so we need to get it right and that’s why we need organisations like the National Task Force to do our research and to set up Observatory’s like this," the Minister emphasised.

The Observatory comprises a drill monitor computer, lap top, scanner, UPS and external hard-drive.


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