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‘I Do Not Blame Bahamas For Boatmate’S Death’

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Kyle Bruner, who was shot and killed in Nassau.

By SANCHESKA BROWN

Tribune Staff Reporter

sbrown@tribunemedia.net

AMID fears that the murder of an American visitor could have a devastating impact on the economy, the owner of the boat on which the victim worked said “he does not hold the entire Bahamas responsible”.

Speaking with The Tribune, Thomas Crowley said he will not let this unfortunate incident affect his business here.

“We love the Bahamas,” he said. “We think it is beautiful here but we have the same concerns anyone would have if you have passengers and crew members in the Bahamas. We know this is unusual and we just want to get the assurance that things are being moved ahead as quickly as possible, as thoroughly as possible and that the family is kept informed. We are really more concerned about the family than we are about business. This is not a business issue, it is a family issue. A young man has been murdered and we have a business here and we hope we will be back. We think we will stay here. The police and the American Embassy have been very helpful in facilitating everything that we have been doing.”

Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe said, however, that we are meddling with disaster and if we do not bring these sort of situations under control it will have a devastating impact on our economy.

“We need to get a handle on the serious crimes in this country or we will chart a course for devastation. We need to appreciate that yes, there is crime, but we promote tourism as our principal interest. We advertise the friendliness of our people and a safe environment. We cannot do that if crime is out of control,” he said.

“Even if it is just a few men doing these things it causes serious damage to our image and our reputation. We are just fighting our way back from a recession and are just starting to show signs of growth, this kind of thing cannot happen. This was on the front of the Chicago Sun, which caters to about 415,000 people and it was on television and other news outlets this is not what we need. The crime in this country needs to stop. We have to declare war on these people who are causing destruction in our streets. We need everyone to come together, the government, the opposition and the church and say enough is enough. We have to get these young men to understand that having a gun does not make you a man.”

Police say that Bruner was walking north on Mackey Street approaching East Bay Street with another man and two women, when they were approached by two men dressed in dark clothing, demanding cash.

One of the men was armed with a handgun. Rolle said the man was shot when he apparently tried to stop them from stealing one of the women’s jewellery.

He apparently got into a row with one of the suspects and was shot in the neck.

The suspects fled on foot in the area of Okra Hill. The victim was taken to hospital by ambulance where he later died of his injuries.

Bruner had worked across the continent and had been living aboard the ship in Nassau while it prepared for its summer trip to its home port in Boston.

He was due to leave the Bahamas next week.

In February, US State Department officials again warned American visitors to avoid “Over The Hill” areas after dark in its annual crime and safety report.

This year’s report did not include criminal threat ratings for New Providence or Grand Bahama; however, the country was said to have a “moderate” threat of trans-national terrorism due to “porous borders.”

Officials also underscored concerns for residential security, minimal enforcement of traffic laws, and an “upsurge” in criminal activity that could put innocent bystanders at risk.

The report said: “Much of the violent crime on New Providence Island happens in non-tourist areas referred to locally as ‘Over the Hill.’ These areas are generally south of the downtown Nassau area south of Shirley Street.

“These areas are not clearly defined but encompass the lower income areas on New Providence. Visitors should avoid these areas, especially at night.”

Comments

henny 1 year, 2 months ago

THE COURT SYSTEM HAS A LOT TO DO WITH THE CRIME GOING ON IN NASSAU. MOST OF THOSE ALLEGED CRIMINALS OUT IN THE STREET ON BAIL AND THOSE WITH ELECTRONIC BRACELETS NEED TO BE IN JAIL. THEY KNOW THEIR CHANCES OF BEING FOUND GUILTY ARE SLIM AND WILL CONTINUE TO DO CRIMINAL ACTS. IN THE US ELECTRONIC MONITORING IS MUCH MORE CONTROLLED. AT THE SAME TIME ALL CRIME CANNOT BE ERADICATED NO MATTER WHERE YOU LIVE BUT THE BAHAMAS IS SO FAR OFF BASE WITH THEIR LAWS. GOVERNMENT LOOKS THE OTHER WAY AT WHAT IS NEGATIVE AND HAS DONE NOTHING TO CHANGE. PERFECT EXAMPLE...SELLING COUNTERFEIT GOODS AND ALLOWING THE WEB SHOPS TO OPERATE. I KNOW THE POLICE KNOW WHO MOST OF THESE CRIMINALS ARE BUT WHY AREN'T THEY BEING ARRESTED? WHAT ABOUT THE DRUG LORDS AND THE GANG LORDS? YOU CAN'T TELL ME THE POLICE DON'T KNOW HOW TO FIND THEM AND GET THEM OFF THE STREET. THE ISLAND ISN'T THAT LARGE IT'S NOT LIKE LOOKING FOR A NEEDLE IN A HAYSTACK.

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Fedup 1 year, 2 months ago

Yes the court system may have some to do with the ongoing crime problem in the Bahamas....but people come on. These guys are kids what 18, 19 and 20 year olds (KIDS). While we continue to point fingers at the courts and Government lets sit back for a minute and ask ourselves a few questions. What//when & who are in the lives of the young generation from birth to 21? Where are the parents? Are they getting a proper education? Kids are are having kids no family structure, from what I've heard teachers are afraid to discipline students nowdays, in fair of be attack at the end of the school day by PARENTS. Young guys hanging on the blocks smoking, drinking mouth full of goal and sagging pants. Young girls pretty much of the same, scantly dressed in clubs gyrating and spinning on there heads. And we wonder why crimes is so high? I say start with parents, your minor child commits a crime, I want to know where were you and what have you done leading up to. Parents take controll of your kids, set a solid foundation NOW before it's to late.

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Brunerr 1 year, 2 months ago

My name is Rick Bruner. I am the father of Kyle Bruner, the sailor who was killed in Nassau on Sunday. I would like to say up front that I don't blame the people of the Bahamas for my son's death. This sort of thing can and does happen in many cities around the world. My son was killed by a person and some will say he shouldn't have been in that area or he shouldn't have become involved in the struggle between the woman being robbed and her assailant, but he was not a person who would stand by and watch someone being victimized. His death has created a a whirlwind of talk and warnings and suggestions; it is my hope and I know it would have been his as well that this death in some small way reminded people that to affect change takes the will to change. This doesn't mean relying on government to create that change, after all government is merely a reflection of a country's citizens, it means that ordinary people have to make the commitment to change what is happening and work together to achieve their goals. Some might say that I have no business telling Bahamians how to conduct their affairs and they would be right, I am not telling you what to do. I am merely saying that no family wants to be notified that their child has been senselessly murdered, whether they are American or Bahamian.

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steplight 1 year, 2 months ago

A ray of hope flickers in the Bahamas through your words and accountability for where one stands in the midst of crisis says alot. To stand idly by and allow something to take place when one can make a difference by being true to the call of humanity in the midst of cruelty says alot. It is evident that men of substance show up when they are needed most. What a treasure to note that in Kyle's death you as a father speaks volume of how change can take place without blaming. An indepth sympathy that extends much gratitude for who your son was and you are, Mr.Bruner. May the peace and assurance that the greatest power on earth is love be that which surrounds you and yours, now and always.

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Unproud242 1 year, 2 months ago

Mr. Bruner I am so sorry that lost someone so special in such a senseless way.

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Tom_Liberty 1 year, 2 months ago

My name is Tom Crowley, Business Manager for the schooner Liberty Clipper. Kyle Bruner was our Chief Mate. Kyle was murdered on Sunday morning, Mothers Day. I have been in Nassau since Monday morning with the other young man from our crew who was with Kyle when he was attacked. I echo and support the brave and intelligent words of his father, Rick Bruner. Over the last 48 hours we have been working with the Bahamian Police, the American Embassy, and the Ministry of Tourism to ensure that Kyles death was not in vain and that his murderers were found and will be prosecuted. Yesterday, the prime witness identified the shooter, last night we saw Kyle at the Butler Funeral Home and paid our respects to honor him. We have had nothing but support, encouragement, patience, and diligence by everyone in the Bahamas. We have been further supporting by the sympathies of the Bahamian people from the Cricket Club to the Towne Hotel and everywhere in between.
I want to clarify the accounts in this paper and every other news service on a very important point; The schooner Liberty Clipper was NOT passing through the Bahamas. We have been here since 2009 taking up to 24 passengers a week from December to May on 6 day sailing adventures to the outer islands. Our crew and passengers spend a lot of time and money here eating in your restaurants, staying in your hotels, and visiting the many wonderful sites in Nassau and the outer islands. Five years is not passing through. It is a commitment to and a significant investment in the Bahamas. Accordingly, we have the same hopes, dreams, and expectations of all Bahamians for truth, justice, and extreme diligence in the protection and safety of all persons living in or visiting the Bahamas. No life is worth more than another. An 11 year old Bahamian or a 34 year old American. We must all demand that every effort is made to increase this protection and pursue criminals with speed and diligence that must transcend politics and posturing by government officials. As the Captain on the ship orders when there is a job to be done : "MAKE IT HAPPEN!" You may look for the Liberty Clipper again next year. After all, we are from Boston, Massachusetts where we are proud to say "BOSTON STRONG!" Thank you - Tom Crowley, Liberty Fleet of Tall Ships, and the Schooner Liberty Clipper" from Boston & The Bahamas.

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Fedup 1 year, 2 months ago

Mr Rick Bruner, my condolences to you and your family during these trying times.

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sandra 1 year, 2 months ago

How very sad and senseless. Mr Bruner is correct in saying that Bahamians should not only rely on Government to "fix it". Bahamians, especially those who are dependent on the tourist industry for their bread and butter need to let these "bullies" and "murderers" know that they are killing them also when there is a slow down and cessation of the tourist industry. When this happens EVERYONE is affected. The Bahamas is not the only island with sun, sand and sea. Don't let these criminals take over the Bahamas. Now when I envision our flag, I see Black, Yellow, Acquamarine and Red (for all the blood that's being shed). My condolences to the Bruner family and to all the other families that have been taken down by the "bullies" and "murderers".

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Right242 1 year, 2 months ago

My deepest condolences to the Bruner family & the crew of the Liberty. I cannot fathom the devastation a mother experiences when she gets a call on Mother's Day that her son was murdered. As an ex-pat living here for over 2 years, I've seen a dramatic increase in violent crime and the inability of the Police Force to control the problem, or solve even the most basic crimes. The Bahamas, especially New Providence and even PI, are NOT safe. I personally know at least 4 friends that have been held up at gunpoint as well as many more home break-ins, including myself. I no longer recommend traveling here for tourism to my friends and family. It really is sad that that's the case given that this country has some of the world's most beautiful waters & beaches. I will be leaving as well at my soonest opportunity.

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carlh57 1 year, 2 months ago

The american government should put an alert out that no american should come to the bahamas for the next 90 days and see how this nation resolves the "crime" issue then....loss of income, jobs etc will maybe wake this governments from their little nap.

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