By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
OFFICIALS are engaged in “certain discussions” with US diplomats about crime and the country’s gang problem, Prime Minister Perry Christie said yesterday.
When asked about the United States Embassy in Nassau’s recent ban on its employees using Jet Ski rentals in the capital due to alleged sex crimes, Mr Christie said both National Security Minister Dr Bernard Nottage and US Chargé d’Affaires Lisa Johnson were at the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) headquarters in Washington, DC, meeting with officials to discuss crime issues.
Mr Christie said officials would also be engaging in discussions “that are all going to be relevant to what we do here in The Bahamas with respect to gangs, what we do with respect to crime.”
On Tuesday, the embassy said it has prohibited its employees from using Jet Ski rentals in New Providence, saying the water sports industry is “minimally regulated.” Days after an American woman was allegedly raped by a man riding a Jet Ski at Cabbage Beach, the embassy also advised American citizens not to patronize Jet Ski operators in New Providence as it also warned US citizens living in or travelling to the Bahamas to “be aware of their surroundings and remain on heightened alert to avoid being victims of crime.”
When questioned yesterday on the matter, Mr Christie said: “Dr Nottage and the charge d’affaires are now, yesterday and today, at the FBI headquarters in Washington where they are reviewing certain matters that will be important to what we do in the Bahamas.”
The most recent alleged sexual attack occurred on Saturday. Police said an American woman was on Cabbage Beach, Paradise Island around 5pm, when a man on a Jet Ski allegedly raped her.
A 29-year-old man was arraigned in Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday in connection with the incident.
Weeks earlier, in December 2015, police arrested a Jet Ski operator in connection with an alleged sexual assault of a female visitor. That incident also happened near Cabbage Beach.
In a statement on Tuesday, Transport and Aviation Minister Glenys Hanna Martin responded by stating that the government has a “zero tolerance” policy as it relates to the industry. She further stressed that the alleged attacker in the latest incident was not a licensed Jet Ski operator.