Law enforcement and national security officials in The Bahamas took a “proactive” step towards ensuring the continued safety of members of the Judiciary following the graduation of 15 Specialist Protection Officers from a Royal Bahamas Police Force-sponsored Training Course for Protection Officers for the Judiciary.

The 15, who are past and current members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, will be responsible for ensuring that there are no “breaches or interference” with the Judiciary or Agents of the Courts in the dispensation of justice. The Officers received specialist training in a number of areas that will assist them in the execution of their duties.

Minister of National Security, the Hon. Tommy Turnquest said while law enforcement officials in The Bahamas have not had to deal with deliberate threats to the Judiciary in the past, the illegal activities resulting from transnational crime and criminality – including drug and arms trafficking and human smuggling and trafficking, “bring grave challenges and problems with them outside of our country.”

“Whether we look at our own media here in The Bahamas or at the foreign press, we are made keenly aware of the compelling human tragedies happening all around the world,” Mr. Turnquest said. “Terrorism and transnational crime, including drug trafficking, arms trafficking, human smuggling and human trafficking, bring with them grave challenges and problems from outside of our country.

“We all know that respect for our laws and regulations, values and traditions has decidedly diminished over the years,” Mr. Turnquest continued. “A critical downside of this is the significant increase in crime and criminality and the fear of crime we have suffered as a consequence.

“It is good that, notwithstanding our transnational and national crime problems, we have never experienced a catastrophic encounter with terrorism. Neither is the deliberate targeting of our law enforcement officers and Justices a matter with which we are familiar in our country. Let me assure you that we must do whatever it takes to keep it that way,” Mr. Turnquest added.

Mr. Turnquest told the 15 Protection Officers that the safety and security of the members of the Judiciary and the Agents of the Courts is “unquestionably” important to the effectiveness of the country’s criminal justice system.

He said that during their time on the Royal Bahamas Police Force, they would have gained extensive knowledge of, and experience in, policing in The Bahamas and that their “police senses and law enforcement intuition” would have become highly developed.

Minister Turnquest said the specialty training they undertook has provided them with the tools to deal with matters that are, to all intents and purposes, out of the ordinary.

“Training and re-training are the hallmarks of continued efficiency and effectiveness in any discipline, but particularly in areas concerning the safety and security of people,” Mr. Turnquest said.

“The essence of this training, therefore, was to provide you with the additional training and skills needed to do extraordinary work. From this point of view, your training as Protection Officers is an initiative grounded in today’s realities.

“It is my hope that your training will enhance your capacity to think strategically about the security and safety of our judges and that it will sharpen your awareness of the myriad of threats in our volatile world. Threats to which countries and individuals such as those that uphold the law, can be exposed,” Mr. Turnquest added.