Governor deeply concerned over murders, drug problem
In the wake of yet another gun-related murder, Governor John Rankin has expressed deep concern over the proliferation of illicit drugs and guns in circulation and the challenges faced in effectively managing the territory’s porous borders.
“Overall, this is a safe place. Overall, our crime rate is low. But one death, one murder, is one too many in any circumstance,” Governor Rankin said recently. “And I’m particularly concerned about the number of guns in the territory because the majority of these murders are carried out through gun violence.”
Governor Rankin, who has oversight of the territory’s internal security, pointed to the record number of guns seized last year, but acknowledged that much more has to be done in order to control the escalating problem.
“We need to have effective arrangements through Customs, through immigration, through the marine police patrolling to try to prevent those guns coming in the first place,” Rankin stated.
And while advocating for more effective policing, the governor alluded to some of the challenges faced with illicit drugs coming into the territory. He further pointed out that there is a correlation between some of the murders that have taken place in recent years and the drug trade.
“A number of these murders are linked to the importation of drugs and drug wars. And again, that requires dealing with the customs, immigration and maritime controls to try to prevent the drugs coming in,” he expressed.
Governor Rankin has repeatedly expressed strong support in recent months for a revision of the territory’s Police Act, arguing in part that the existing legislation is deficient in the area of modern policing techniques, such as taking DNA samples.
However, the most recent draft of the Police Bill that was sent to the House of Assembly (HOA) failed to garner sufficient support from lawmakers after it came under intense public backlash and was rejected over some of its more draconian provisions.
In the meantime, Governor Rankin commented that there is also a need for attention to be given to the territory’s youth through training, education, and effective social services, so that they will not become involved in gang culture or connected to the drug trade and gun violence.