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Nottage Vow In Face Of 25% Rise In Murders

Dr Bernard Nottage

Dr Bernard Nottage

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

NATIONAL Security Minister Dr Bernard Nottage broke his silence on crime last night, contending that the government is “up to the challenge” as the nation continues to grapple with startling crime statistics.

During an hour-long televised address on ZNS, Dr Nottage vowed that the government has moved to tackle the “unhealthy levels of lawlessness” that presently exist in the country.

As part of that effort, he announced that starting next month, he will lead community walkabouts on a “regular” basis while urging interested persons to accompany him.

The Bains and Grants Town MP stressed that while overall crime has continued its downward trend, law enforcement continues to battle a rise in homicides and a spate of gun related offences.

He went on to lament the roughly 25 per cent increase in homicides so far in 2015 compared to the same period in 2014.

To date, the country recorded 97 murders for the year, outpacing the number of homicides recorded for the same period last year, which was 77. He added that a closer study of murders over the last few years have yielded clear patterns.

Of those patterns, he said six out of every 10 murders occur in inner-city communities.

Records also indicate that 56 per cent of murder victims had prior criminal records; seven per cent of whom were previously charged with murder. As for the suspects, nearly 80 per cent of them had prior criminal records; 15 per cent of whom were previously charged with murder.

Additionally, Dr Nottage noted that illegal firearms are being used in the vast majority of the murders committed in the Bahamas.

He indicated that between 2005 and 2014, local police seized over 3,000 firearms. So far this year, police have confiscated 260 guns and 5,273 rounds of ammunition.

“It appears that while more guns are being taken off the streets, criminals do not find it difficult to get firearms and commit more violent crimes,” he said.

Another issue addressed by Dr Nottage last evening was the statistics surrounding persons on bail, charged with serious offenses becoming the victim or perpetrator of other serious crimes.

He said officials have discovered that one of every three persons who were charged with murder, were also on bail for another serious offence.

Dr Nottage added that 15 of the 97 persons killed this year were also on bail for a serious offence.

“In other words, research has shown that persons who are charged with violent crimes - including murder - are more likely to become a murder victim than persons who are not charged with a violent crime. The truth is that if these persons who were charged with serious crimes were not on bail, less murders would have occurred and the murder rate would have been lower.

“To confirm this observation, last year, 30 of the murder victims were persons who were on bail for committing serious offences. Had they been denied bail, there would have been less than 100 murder cases last year.”

He admitted that the issue of bail has been a perplexing one for the Christie administration. In fact, the minister expressed his own dissatisfaction with the grant of bail, insisting that if he had his way, no person charged with murder would be granted release ahead of trial.

“I understand the right to bail as guaranteed by our Constitution but I confess that if it was in my power, I would not release any person charged with murder on bail. Constitutionally, however, that power is only vested in the judiciary,” he said.

Dr Nottage stated that at present, there are a total of 10 Supreme Courts now sitting and hearing criminal cases. He explained that this approach ensures that cases are heard quicker, resulting in a decrease in backlogged matters.

Marco’s Law

Dr Nottage also mentioned the enactment of amendments to the Child Protection Act, better known as Marco’s Law, as well as amendments to the Sexual Offender’s Act, which have been passed by Parliament.

Dr Nottage added that the legislation has led to the creation of a nationwide alert system for missing children. Already, he said, there have been two cases where the system has resulted in the safe return of children to their guardians.

He also said the sexual offenders register is currently being prepared.

During his address, Dr Nottage implored residents to support anti-crime initiatives. He said there must be no tolerance for crime and corruption.

“Crime reduction is being relentlessly pursued with a renewed emphasis and vigor on dismantling criminal gangs, the removal of arms and ammunition from our streets and the removal of illicit drugs from our communities,” vowed Dr Nottage.

“Those engaging in criminal activity can expect to face the full weight of the law. Those who would threaten the security of our nation and our citizens should know that we will not shirk from dealing with them.”

Dr Nottage last spoke on the issue of crime on July 8, when he announced that the government had received a $20 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to aid the fight against crime.

Many observers have criticised Dr Nottage for seemingly taking a laid back approach to crime as the murder count rises.

Comments

jackbnimble 3 years, 10 months ago

It's nice to see the good Doctor finally come up for air. I query the timing, though. Why give a national address on crime while everyone is running around preparing for a storm. I wonder if anyone even listened.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 years, 10 months ago

Anyone watching him last night surely was put to sleep. BJ, try as you may, you can't just jaw bone down the soaring rate of murders! You have failed and should do the right thing: RESIGN!

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Hogfish 3 years, 10 months ago

you going to go on a "Walkabout"!? - you FUCKING JOKING HEY??!

Save us all the BULLSHIT!

We need HELP! Yall have FAILED and NO you are NOT up to the task!!!!

We need HELP!! from either the FBI or Scotland Yard or somthing. I would prefer the Brits- They have some of the best Police.

For the sake of our Children!- Swallow your gaddamn pride and ego and get Help!

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Sickened 3 years, 10 months ago

I'm surprised he didn't say that he was going to pray for things to get better. What does prayer and a walkabout have in common? They are both a waste of friggin' time.

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shortpants 3 years, 10 months ago

Mr Gynecology you know nothing of crime ..But you say you'll had crime cover knew the answer on day one ,how can you put someone in charge of National Security to protect us from crime when he only have knowledge , vision of a Vagina .Please tell the PM he did a lousy job .Payback is the mother of all F---K ups.. Also they put Shame to steal all the cheese. Brave is a wrecking ball at the MOW. Lady Slop don't need no more wealth.All these positions are payback ...thanks for the lousy service. Also inform Mr. Jones you only have power(BEC) because the reapers are back.. I've never heard so much ass kissing since 2007.And nobody heard his speech last night because no one was informed .

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Regardless 3 years, 10 months ago

"Challenge" is the most overused word in The Bahamas. You hear it by most "managers" wherever you go but very rarely does anything ever improve. It is almost like there is an aversion to utter the word " problem ". Perhaps if issues faced were viewed more as a "problem" rather than a " challenge", situations may improve faster!

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proudloudandfnm 3 years, 10 months ago

This man is useless. That address was pure drivel. The PLP really and truly are not able to govern. They can bullshit better than most but when it comes time to actually work for a living they simply can't....

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asiseeit 3 years, 10 months ago

This country is governed by morons. They have no idea how to actually be leaders but they sure do know how to get rich.

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Wideawake 3 years, 10 months ago

Why do our crime fighters always compare this years' statistics with last years' stats ? Crime statistics EACH and EVERY year for the last THIRTY years were disgraceful, unacceptable, frightening and showed that law enforcement in this country has been fighting a losing battle for far too long!!!

Feeling relieved that this year's murder rate was less than last years is INSANE!!!

Instead of our recent crime historical stats, they should use as a yardstick, the murder rate in a law-abiding, peaceful European town, with a population of 375,000. It needn't be Pleasantville, but it should represent what crime-rate would be acceptable to us...say only 4 or 5 murders per year!!! That statistic should be, both the yardstick to judge our present situation, and our collective goal in order to create a Bahamas of which we all could be proud.

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John 3 years, 10 months ago

The minister of national security needs to bring in sociologists and criminologists to find out why young men not only feel the need to arm themselves but also to kill persons who offend them or who they feel are a threat to them. Speaking to someone about this murder problem, their insight is that a lot of young men in this country (New Providence mostly) are like dominoes lined off in a row, just waiting to fall. Some know when there is a hit out on their lives, and even though some may go to the police and ask for protection, it is just a matter of time before they are gunned down. Others just get tired of taking caution and eventually they meet their fate. In some instances, some young men are not aware that there may be a plot out to take their life. Lets say that someone's brother or best friend is murdered. Persons close to the one who is responsible will start to spread rumors that the brother or the friend is planning to take revenge. So the killer must now go after them because he feels they are a threat to him. And so in these instances these persons are innocent and gunned down in cold blood. This action leads to even more retaliation and so the battle goes on, the murder count increases and even more persons become ensnarled in the 'domino effect" of murder. These type of killings account for the majority happening in this country.

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Bahamianpride 3 years, 10 months ago

Agree with your statements John. I will add to that by saying there is also a huge problem with classism and giving back in our country that fuels this problem. Our system is set up in a way that once you are down u stay down unless someone cuts u a break and cracks the door open. Even with family members, many turn their backs on others once they have made it, I'm not talking about ignoring lazy people not wanting anything or giving without requirements but reaching back and uplifting those that are trying. Their are many good people working hard and trying in our inner city but the strain placed on families with the high cost of goods and services survival or upward mobility is difficult. Then their are no checks and balances with fighting our number one enemy, ignorance. I personally tell family members to their face about their ass, no more making babies u cannot support, cut the dumb shit and try to uplift them, I don't care what they say to me. And if u a criminal I turn your ass in if I know about it. I don't enable derelict behavior nor do I run and hide in my nice home, I go straight in the ghetto because that's where I'm from and they need the uplifting. If you serious I will do all in my power to open a door for you, if not I will tell u about your ass and at the same time tell u to come see me when u serious. People have to care more about others to help fight crime. But we have essentially created 3 classes of people in the Bahamas, the rich, working people who are one job loss away from poverty and don't realize they're really poor, and the poor. 40 years ago when everyone lived a certain way crime was low because envy and greed was low, the discrepancies between households was not so evident. People shared food and resources and looked out for each other. Now people go to work, go to church, stay inside with social media and associated only with people of a certain class or their family members, in most instances I don't blame them for this because times have changed. What's strange is that because of how we have become as a society I would not be surprised if many who murder each other may have just killed a distant relative unknown to them. With government corruption and a lost of all faith in the church, I think something dramatic politically has to happen for change, but we have very few individuals to choose from and the system is setup to keep certain individuals in power.

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