Cabinet tells lawmen it will provide resources to fight crime, while critic says criminals are daring cops to ‘catch me if you can’

The Government reportedly will be dishing out money from the Treasury to
tackle and bring under control the steady increase in criminal activities across
For the last several years, acquisition crimes – robberies and armed robberies;
break-ins and burglaries; and larcenies – have been on the increase, causing
distress to many residents and business owners who have fallen victim and
fear among those who have not.
Members of the public have been pleading with the Gaston Browne
Administration to put serious measures in place to tackle criminal activities
overall, and to stop using Antigua as a comparison point, with the excuse that
this country has the lowest crime rate within the region.
Accordingly, the Cabinet reportedly invited 17 officials to its meeting on
Wednesday, May 8, to discuss the increase of robberies involving young men
and other crimes with the use of firearms.
The top brass of the Police Force, the Defence Force, the Office of National
Drug Control and Money Laundering Policy (ONDCP), and the Fire
Department were present, as was an IT specialist in the government service
who collaborates with the law-enforcement agencies.
Prime Minister Browne is said to have assured these agencies that “the
Cabinet stands full-square” with them and promised that resources will be
made available to stem the tide of violent crimes.

This declaration has elicited criticism and disbelief from observers, who note
that this has been an empty promise over the years. They point to the failures
of the Cabinet – and of Minister of Justice Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin, in
particular – to provide even breathalyzers, promised since 2018, to the Traffic

They note, as well, the Administration’s inability to deliver the promised
forensic lab and its failure to update legislation to facilitate the use of donated
modern equipment, such as body cameras and tasers.

“These obvious weaknesses in the system, plus the lack of political will, are
what have allowed crime to flourish in the last several years – and, now, to
become a career path for young men,” says an Antiguan in the Diaspora.
“The criminals are basically telling the authorities, ‘Catch me if you can;’ and
they can’t,” he says.
Meanwhile, Police Commissioner Atlee Rodney is said to have stated that
there can be no statistics for crimes prevented; however, patrols and stop-
and-search exercises by the Police and military are a deterrent. He also noted
that persons of a younger age are choosing to become criminals and are
seeking out victims that are easier to rob.
The Executive and the law-enforcement officers reportedly agreed that all the
data collected requires analysis in order to determine the best strategy going
Meanwhile, this week’s Cabinet Notes say there will be collaboration between
the Transport Board and the Police to provide the names of owners whose
license-plated vehicles are involved in criminal activities.
The apparent absence of such a working relationship has been a regular
criticism by residents.
Meanwhile, assurances have been given that security for the Small Island
Developing States’ fourth conference (SIDS4); the ICC T20 World Cup; and
even Carnival 2024 is in place and will deter criminal activity. 
The IT specialist provided assurance that the public cameras are working and
that the monitors will show images of events taking place on the ground.