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Threat Of Crime At 'Critical' Levels

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Staff Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

A DAMNING report by US authorities has blasted New Providence's criminal threat level as "critical" - and for the first time rated Grand Bahama's level as "high", putting the island on a par with the Dominican Republic.

Highlighting several incidents of violent crime involving tourists or tourist locations, the US State Department's 2012 Crime and Safety Report charged that the dramatic increase in crime last year has adversely affected the travelling public.

"In previous years, most violent crimes involved mainly Bahamian citizens and occurred in 'over-the-hill' areas, which are not frequented by tourists," the report stated.

"However, in 2011 there were numerous incidents reported that involved tourists or have occurred in areas in tourist locations.

It continued: "In late 2011, there have been numerous reports by cruise ship tourists and others regarding incidents of armed robberies of cash and jewellery. These incidents were reported during daylight and nighttime hours. In several cases, the victims were robbed at knifepoint, and gold necklaces and jewellery were taken. Cash for Gold is a new business in The Bahamas that may have resulted in the increase of these type of crimes."

Drafted to assist American travellers and businesses, the annual report addresses crime threats, road safety, medical emergencies, safety tips in countries that have established US embassies, and includes other relevant data affecting travellers such as political violence and environmental hazards.

Criminal threat levels are ranked as low, medium, high or critical.

Commonly referred to as the country's "second city", Grand Bahama has a population of just under 52,000. The Dominican Republic, also categorized as "high" this year, has a population of 9.9 million.

Other countries in the region also categorized as "critical" are: El Salvador, Guyana, and Ecuador. With a population of 6.1 million, El Salvador was described as one of the most violent countries in the world by the state department.

The report read: "The US Embassy has received reports of assaults, including sexual assaults, in diverse areas such as casinos, outside hotels, or on cruise ships. In several incidents, the victim had been reportedly drugged."

It added: "The upsurge in criminal activity has also led to incidents, which, while not directed at tourists, could place innocent bystanders at risk."

Citing The Bahamas' long history as a route and major transshipment point for illegal smugglers and drug traffickers, the report warned US companies against conducting business with "questionable persons or enterprises."

The report also noted that there is minimal enforcement of environmental standards "although The Bahamas prides itself on keeping the country clean."

Calls placed to Ministers of Tourism and Grand Bahama, Obie Wilchcombe and Dr Michael Darville, respectively, were not returned yesterday.

Comments

Arob 2 years, 4 months ago

This was posted on the CIA's World Book and was not a letter sent directly to The Government of The Bahamas. However, this could be the introduction to increased scrutiny by the U.S. Government. (The Progressive Liberal Party has an "embarrassing" history which is chronicled in textbooks (mainly written by Caribbean political professors) on the modern Caribbean Politics.)

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Rontom 2 years, 4 months ago

I will repeat this again until someone in power LISTENS- We NEED ANTI-TERRORIST LAW and by TERRORIST I mean: Anyone who, through an act of criminal violence, causes the death or inflicts harm be it physical, mental or emotional to any person within the territory of The Bahamas, or damage to physical property, or supplying or cause to supply, illegal weapons and its instruments, and through his/her actions has a history of recurrent, repeated offenses of similar or more eggregious actions contrary to the Law, shall be deemed a Menace and Threat to ALL civil society and therefore, through his/her own actions be known as a Terrorist and as such, will be viewed as An Enemy To The State Of The Bahamas, and will cause to be put into effect every means necessary to the Keepers of The Peace and Defenders of The Law, to rid such person, without inpedence and/or interference from existing Law, from this Land. ANY discussion be it public/private of this Law will be deemed given aid and abettment to Terrorist and will be subject to penalty by the courts.

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TalRussell 2 years, 4 months ago

Hubert and his FNM regime have knew the degree Bahamaland's crime epidermic had grown to, but Tommy would always appear in front of the media to downplay the truth. PM Christie all the force money can buy will not stop the thugs. New prisons and longer jail terms haven't made much sense over the past five years, considering out of the 500 murdered under the FNM regime's watch, less than a handful were actually solved. The FNM wanted you to believe the police were solving the murders but unless you have the alleged perpetrators arrested, tried and convicted you have not solved the cases. I got one message for Hubert. So you still think the tourist wouldn't find out the truth if you just sent out "government paid workers" to destroy PLP campaign signs telling the truth about all the murders Tommy ministered over?

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BigD1 2 years, 4 months ago

I pray for the day when crime stop being pilitical and all our citizens can come together and collective address these issues. It is obvious that no Goverment can stop criminals from being criminals but you can make an inpact on persons who have not reached that level as yet. You can invest in the Police and the legal system to arrest, prosecute and convict persons in the most professional, methodical and deliberate fashion. Find a way for all persons charged with murder or other serious crimes to be tried before the courts and not placed on bail for thier safety and the safety of the general public. You can work towards removing our country away from the privy Council so we as country can truly exercise our soveriegn right to deal with the issue of death sentences. So many issues the last thing we need is finger pointing. What we need is action.

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TalRussell 2 years, 4 months ago

I think it's fair to say that in the majority of cases when doing away with the Privy Council that makes it to the media concerns an appeal made by an convicted to quash or reduce their murder sentence. If you remove "murder" from the Privy Council then what is your argument for removing it? Let's not forget that out of the 500 murdered under Hubert's FNM regime's watch only a small handful were even brought to trail, much less convicted.

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BahamaSand 2 years, 4 months ago

I agree Bro, the finger pointing is LAME. Many folks point, point and point but have yet to put forth a plan of action and they too are LAME! We need REVOLUTIONISTS not big mouthed critics.

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concernedcitizen 2 years, 4 months ago

and your plan of action is ????????????

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BigD1 2 years, 4 months ago

Over the last 10 years there have been many death sentences overturned by the privy council. The latest was that of Maxi Tido (not sure of spelling) where in the councils judgement a person who was raped, tortured, head batched, burned and rolled over with a vehicle is not deemed the worse of the worse and therefore the death penalty should not apply. If this was your daughter how would you feel. The Privy council has no intention of approving any death penalties. So we can march up and down Bay Street and make noise all we want but we are still subject to British Rules.

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concernedcitizen 2 years, 4 months ago

the privy council makes big foriegn investors feel more secure ..and the death penalty doesn,t deter murder .we have the death penalty on the street faster than any court can meter it out and thats not stoopping them ,,it is about morals and upbringing and children without fathers in the house ,,its is our sexual habits and absantee fathers that are destroying us

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auditor 2 years, 4 months ago

British interpretation of our rules

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concernedcitizen 2 years, 4 months ago

we use the british system to elect our leaders and govern our nation ,,your point is??

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auditor 2 years, 4 months ago

I noticed an earlier comment that said that we were "subject to British rules," I disagree. We are subject to British interpretation of our rules. "Interpretation" is what the Privy council does. The do not legislate.

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auditor 2 years, 4 months ago

I noticed an earlier comment that said that we were "subject to British rules," I disagree. We are subject to British interpretation of our rules. "Interpretation" is what the Privy council does. The do not legislate.

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concernedcitizen 2 years, 4 months ago

our very rules our interpretation of british rules ,,westminister system ,house of parilment ,and you won,t find many laws on our books much diffrernt than englands ..that just the way it is

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TalRussell 2 years, 4 months ago

First, get the correct number of cases quashed by the Privy Council since 2007 before you decide do do away with it. I hope you're not going to suggest that the small number quashed, or even reduced, by the Privy Council has payed a role in the 500 murdered since 2007 under the watch of Hubert and Tommy? Careful Comrade that don't be paying more attention to the noise in the public market and not the price of fish?

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concernedcitizen 2 years, 4 months ago

how can we blame the privy council for us murdering one another ,amazing ..these guys know if you rip off the wrong people they will try to kill you and tthey have no fear of that ,,ask a certain politician whos son got mixed up in it and got killed ,,,would five hanging a year have stopped his demise ,?? there is tons of research availuable that shows the death penalty does nothing to deter murder aithough it may satisfy the bloodlust of the public ....anyway i think life in prison is a harsher sentence than the death penalty..

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BigD1 2 years, 4 months ago

There were 17 murderers on death row in 2006, when the Privy Council abolished the mandatory death sentence in the Bahamas, requiring all of them to be re-sentenced at new hearings. Today, there are five convicts waiting to be hanged with their cases at various stages of appeal. And if they remain on death row longer than five years, they can no longer be executed because such a delay is considered cruel and unusual punishment in and of itself. Isnt it interesting that murders increased immediately after this disision was made. The wonder of Google

We have not hung any one since 1997 because the appeals take too long and then the death penalty is quashed or the Privy Council deem it too harsh a penalty. Its evident that persons do not fear the law because they feel they wll not be put to death or because of the sloppy police work, inept prosecuters, savvy defence lawyers etc they can beat the case or get bail. In any event they get the street cred of being in jail and back on the street to continue their life of crime. So the death penalties cannot solve this problem on its own but it is one of many things that can be corrected to help with the crime fight. Pointing fingers solve nothing

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BigD1 2 years, 4 months ago

Fifty men have been hanged here since 1929. Five under the previous Ingraham administration; 13 under the Pindling government; and the remainder between 1929 and 1967. The last man to be hanged was David Mitchell, in January 2000. Another man was scheduled for execution at the same time, but he committed suicide first

Google again

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concernedcitizen 2 years, 4 months ago

no lets not point fingers at the absantee fathers ,or our not so subtle form of prostitution where you can sleep with a large number of young girls if you give them enough,,,lets not talk about our lack of morals ,lets not talk about beating the snot out of kids in anger as a form of discipline ,until they learn that conflict resolution involves violence ,lets blame some court 1000,s of miles away...

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BigD1 2 years, 4 months ago

Lets talk about all of these issues. I was refering to blaming the Government for crime. We are all bahamians and are effected by crime. So I am on your side. Do you have any suggestions on what needs to be done

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concernedcitizen 2 years, 4 months ago

it starts in the home ,morals and upbringing ,serious discussions about birth control ,..theres an old saying ,'people vote for the goverment that most represents themselves "" so a couple years into this new goverment you can make a informed judgement on the mojarity of the people and what they want ..good or bad.

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auditor 2 years, 4 months ago

There is a solution that will reduce violent crime and property crimes immediately. This solution is very practical and would not conflict with existing laws. I am so confident it will work, i would be willing to guarantee it. My plan involves targeting the root of the problem. And just as uprooting a tree rids the soil of that tree, so my plan will rid the Bahamas of crime. However, I can not post to many details here as it would divulge intellectual property. My plan is to write a letter to the government, and perhaps the private sector, detailing what needs to be done. I have absolutely no doubt that they will agree.

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concernedcitizen 2 years, 4 months ago

truth be told its about morals and our sexual habits ,,,we are just like other countrys in our region ,our ghettos will continue to grow ,our tourist will be encouraged not to leave thier resorts ,and those that can afford it will live behind gates ,,as long as you can sleep with young girls for money and a i phone and young mens mantra is "if you love me you,ll have a baby for me "crime will increase ,,look outside the courts ,mommas trying to get child payments and mommas crying about the police locking up their "good son" i am not negative but i am a realist

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auditor 2 years, 4 months ago

The symbolism of a "tree root" in my last post, represents our morals and values. I recognize this is where the problem lies. I don't mean to seem overly positive, its just that I know my plan will fix the problem.

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concernedcitizen 2 years, 4 months ago

for all of our sakes i hope so sir/mam ,,good discussions!!!

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auditor 2 years, 4 months ago

Yes, good discussions indeed! This is exactly the type of intelligent, cordial dialog all Bahamians should be having. Instead, we tend to ravish in the defeat of our own brothers and sisters, resulting in our becoming extremely selfish as a people. My solution addresses and will fix the problems we have with anger and the choices we make. Call it nationwide anger management if you wish.

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TalRussell 2 years, 4 months ago

Great discussion. The Privy Council has never rendered an opinion aimed at abolishing the death penalty and to mislead readers to the contrary is political nonsense. What they will decide is; was the murder a premeditated act? I am not exactly sure what murder is the worst of the worst. Do you get to decide that?

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concernedcitizen 2 years, 4 months ago

thats something to query ,apart from self defense or an accident when you take another life premediated or not isn,t it still plain old murder ,i know the courts see it different but is it really different??

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Rontom 2 years, 4 months ago

Not all Homicide is Murder, but ALL murders are Homicide. The problem we have in the execution of capital punishment is that we have not clearly defined what murder is and further what category of homicide is murder and what murder should be punishable by penalty of Death.

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TalRussell 2 years, 4 months ago

The Privy Council is there to hear submissions aimed to protect the fair trial rights of the convicted once they have exhausted all local appeals. To make damn sure that no inadmissible evidence was not used to order the killing of another human being. Comrades even a murderer is entitled to justice, yes- even when they might have not been fair to the deceased. I will wait to see how many of the defeated politicians are as eager to continue their campaign too kill another human being as they were when it suited their political ambitions?

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Rontom 2 years, 4 months ago

Not all Homicide is Murder, but ALL murders are Homicide. The problem we have in the execution of capital punishment is that we have not clearly defined what murder is and further what category of homicide is murder and what murder should be punishable by penalty of Death

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Rontom 2 years, 4 months ago

Our social problems notwithstanding, are morphing into something deadly. I doubt very seriously that the right way to go about it is to look to government, legislators, ministers of religion, teachers (within the context of the Bahamian experience). Social problems are best dealth with by sociologists, psychologists, psychiatrists historians--experts in their fields. Thinkers. My greatest disappointment in our progress, is how we have not embraced much of the good first-world education affords. Yet still we rely on the same broke-down, leaky boat to get us to 21st century shoreline in the form of religion, marches, politicians, and god-awful, insipid teachers talking down to all and their lives are no better than ours. We need to respect experts and knowledge and use the good from them to further this country along. Education is a tool and can be misused in the wrong hands. There is right way for things to be done, and then there is history. Values can be taught again. Socialization is still possible. Christian values are key to good socialization which is separate and apart from religion.

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concernedcitizen 2 years, 4 months ago

how true ' chirstian values are key to good socialization which is separate and apart from religion " there are some other values too ,perhaps budhist ??i,m not saying we have to become budhist just mulling over your comment ...

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TalRussell 2 years, 4 months ago

And, we don't have to worry about members of the Privy Council attending the local social events and running into the politicians. No waiting to see what corporate board, cushy law chambers or government posting or appointment they get after leaving the bench? Having the distance between the Privy Council and our politics everywhere Bahamaland is not such a bad thing.. Besides bringing home the Privy Council to wear Bahamian robes to me may be bad thing considering that the "majority" of prisoners serving sentences up at Fox Hill are there on minor "non-violent" crimes, locked-up, taken from the family islands and their support families to stick them up in an overcrowded Fox Hill laving the families to incur unaffortable expenses to visit them in Nassau, Something tells me that I don't want to trust the Hangman's Noose in the local hands of some of these Judges, Police and lawyers, if this so-called smarty pants bunch still after all these years cannot figure out how to properly deal with such minor offenses.

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Rontom 2 years, 4 months ago

I agree with you. The "local flavor" will always favor the privileged. People who find themselves in lower economic and therefore, less influential position, will be victims, maligned by Justice and punished by the Law misused by jurists...Wait, it's happening now!

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concernedcitizen 2 years, 4 months ago

crime is directly related to our sexual habits and morals ,as long as love is battered for i phones ,and hair do,s and clothes ,and men feed their egos by how many sweethearts they can buy we will continue to produce fatherless children ..a hog with warts could walk on his hind legs and impregnant as many young girls as he wants if he had a suitcase full of money ....and don,t say the girls have to do it to survive before prosperity here it wasn,t this way..it is the esteem issues of our males that will pay out the nose for sweethearts to prove what big men they are ,,can,t blame the girls they just figure out how to profit off the mans weakness ...and before anyone says i,m male bashing i am a man ,but my self esteem comes from so much more than how many girls i can buy ...

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TalRussell 2 years, 4 months ago

Handing the Hangman's noose back into the hands of our local politicians is more akin to the reliability of The Tribune's top party insider that they reported had told them Comrade Loretta would not face a challenge for the FNM's deputy leadership position. Great reporting Tribune, or could it be you are so attached to the FNM that you just can’t resist joining the “peep show” Hubert is leaving behind? And, some of the Bloggers on here, the FNM’s of course, even have gone as far as to accuse me of getting the facts about Hubert and his wretched FNM regime’s defeat all mixed up. Some balls they got ha? I say let’s leave the noose with our Queen Liz, cause somehow or another the Royals need to earn their keep and from the sounds some here it may be the only thing to stop them from hitching a mobile noose cart to the back of their cars to offer curbside hanging on the spot.

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concernedcitizen 2 years, 4 months ago

just read some interesting stats ,boys raised in fatherless home are 9 times more likley to engage in violent crime ..not that there aren,t good single moms ,but its alot more difficult ....men of the bahamas we have to do better ...it is up to us to show our young men values and morals and try to break the cycle...

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Mayaguana34 2 years, 4 months ago

I am not sure if I can accept the characterization of Grand Bahama - Even on a per capita basis crime levels are still relatively low - Unless my numbers are incorrect I would like to know how these categories are determined.

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