September 24, 2020

“We need action now” says Morgan

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Ormong Morgan

His frustration can be measured in equal units of outrage, despair and longing. Ormond Morgan’s of West Bay Action Committee wants something done and after Saturday’s murder of Preston Rivers, they have some ideas.

“We made dozens of recommendations to [former Governor] Stuart Jack and the commissioners of police at the time,” he said, “but they all fell on deaf ears, with this combination of ignorance and arrogance. We said that each time you back off these [West Bay gangsters], they regroup and get stronger.”

One idea is a correctional camp, housing at-risk teenagers, providing job training, education and military-style discipline, for between six years and eight years.

“We need a serious talk with the parents, telling them that we will take charge of these kids in a correction centre. They can come and visit them, and if the kids cooperate, could have weekends off,” he said.

“The implications for civil liberties? Ask the parents if they would rather have their kids there than dead and buried. We will give them exposure to training, to authority and to the wider world.

“We need to treat crime like a business. Look what it’s costing this country. The police just got another $4 million: for what?

“We need foot patrols,” he said, asking when anyone last saw a police officer on the street. “We should be buying leather boots instead of new cars.”

Echoing the call by robbery victim Casanova Restaurant owner Tony Crescente two weeks ago, Mr Morgan called for patrols on Seven Mile Beach: “You need a half-dozen canine cops walking around in all directions on Seven Mile Beach.

“We need an ‘SSD’ law, stop, search and detain, a force fully equipped with sniffer dogs and random checks on everyone.

“Even Military Police  (MP), had a role. They can be staking out a place at 2am. If you see MPs at 2am at the George Town Post Office, it keeps the criminals on their toes. You come in with sirens and cars, they have no idea where to go.”

To get guns off the street, Mr Morgan said, “You need a special experienced force to come in.” While stopping short of demanding the RCIPS repeat their 2010 importation of UK officers to stem a crime wave, he called for up to 80 officers to stand guard.

“I’m no Communist sympathiser,” he said, “but how can people be so safe in Cuba with 12 million people? They have maximum respect for the police there and no one jokes with them.

“We need a comprehensive review of the whole system, and not just talk. We need action now. The police, are like a peacekeeping force. They have limited authority. They need to go out and be pro-active.”

The police were not solely to blame, however, he said. Change requires a “comprehensive dialogue”.

Mr Morgan recognised the efforts of RCIPS Detective Superintendent Marlon Bodden, in overall charge of last weeks’ investigations and passionate about stopping the violence.

“We need a half-a-dozen Marlon Boddens in place to take charge of this,” Mr Morgan said, “That is why we need a comprehensive review and meetings with the public. Nothing is going to get better ‘till the police sit down with them.”

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