A casual conversation with a colleague recently frames in sharp relief the defining events of this year. He related that his daughter who is an avid television viewer, has turned increasingly to viewing cartoons rather than the networks, apparently to switch off from the disturbing scenes being played out across the world.
The COVID-19 pandemic lingers on, there is instability brought on by various conflicts, there is a resurgence of cold war- rivalries and a hot war is now being waged in Europe. It does seem that the international order is unravelling.
Unfortunately, as a Nation, we cannot switch off. These events are part and parcel of our lived reality. Here at home, we have confronted our challenges with the resilience that defines the Barbadian spirit.
Throughout this year, we in The Barbados Police Service have endeavoured to carry out its mandate of protection of public safety and to deliver the services you request and deserve. We have embarked on a programme, in collaboration with international partners, to provide our leadership teams with the skills that are required in a modern police service. This will continue in the coming year as well as Agency wide training, with particular emphasis on the softer skills relating to how our officers interact with the public in order to improve that experience.
Steps are currently being taken to make more use of modern technology to improve our efficiency and to serve you better. As an example, our officers are now deployed with body worn cameras. This signals our acceptance of the need for openness and accountability during our interaction with the public.
During the year, there was an apparent breach of confidentiality relating to a report that was made to us for investigation. We condemn such behaviour in the strongest terms. This does not accurately represent who we are.
Gun crime continues to be a stubborn problem. As citizens of this country, we all feel the effects. Our teams have worked diligently during the year to bring resolution to this problem. They have effected arrests and realised a record number of gun seizures. Our efforts have continued with the launch of Operation Restore Order. This will run well into the New Year. It signals our resolve to root out lawless behaviour. As always, we are willing to work with those other agencies that have a part to play in this endeavour.
This joyous season of Christmas does provide all of us an opportunity to enjoy the fellowship of family and friends and a respite from the daily run of life. It does also provide room for introspection. By all means, enjoy yourself but avoid excesses of intoxicating beverages, particularly if you have to drive on our roads. Please also take sensible measures to ensure your safety.
Let me express my thanks and appreciation to the men and women of The Barbados Police Service for their efforts and devotion to duty and to all our partner agencies and stakeholders for their support during this year.
To this end, I want to wish all members of The Barbados Police Service, Island Constabulary, the civilian staff and their families a safe Christmas and peace and good health for the coming year.