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Wilchcombe: We Need To Stop Gun Smugglers

Former Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe.

Former Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

MINISTER of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe has said the country needs to tighten its borders in an effort to clamp down on the proliferation of gun smuggling from the United States.

As gun control takes centre stage in political debates in the United States, Bahamian officials are watching with a keen eye, hoping action will be taken that could alleviate the longstanding problem of gun trafficking in this country.

Asked about the matter yesterday, Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson told The Tribune to direct questions about it to National Security Minister Dr Bernard Nottage and Police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade.

Dr Nottage is having discussions with US diplomats and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) about crime and the country’s gang problem, Prime Minister Perry Christie said last week.

He is also expected to raise the issue of gun violence and what could be done to stop it, Mr Wilchcombe said yesterday.

“We need to have in place a comprehensive programme to deal with the guns,” Mr Wilchcombe said yesterday. “The president of the United States last week spoke about guns. He said there (were) 30 million guns purchased last year or somewhere around there. The truth is there are so many guns on the streets of the USA. We don’t make guns. If he’s talking about a proliferation of guns in America, people making guns, selling guns, what is he saying? What he’s saying in my view is that it can influence what happens in countries in close proximity.

“We should understand that we are being influenced by that and we should tighten our borders, whether it’s our port of entries or our marinas, wherever we encounter that, from Inagua to Bimini we have to ensure we have tighter control. According to Dr Nottage, conversations are continuing. We’ve always worked with the USA with the drug issue but this one in particular provides a challenge because of the fact that in the USA licensed guns are legal. They’re not in the Bahamas so what happens is, what do you do? We have to find the right mechanism and paradigm so they could help us to solve the proliferation of guns to our countries – but we have to face the reality, guns come from the USA and Venezuela. Let’s stop the killing and the way to stop the killing is to stop the weapons that are being used and the way to do that is through guns.”

According to statistics released by the Royal Bahamas Police Force last year, police took 400 illegal firearms off the streets – mostly from New Providence – in 2014.

Data from the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) showed 97.9 per cent of firearms recovered by local authorities in 2014 were purchased or acquired in the United States.

For years Bahamian officials have raised concern about the matter with their US counterparts, with Mr Christie talking directly to former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about the issue not long after his administration won the general election in 2012.

However, as last year’s record breaking homicide count showed, the government’s efforts to forge a cooperation with the US that would solve problem has made no demonstrable progress.

And in a sign of how important he views the issue, Commissioner Greenslade posted at least five images of guns officers have confiscated from around New Providence on his Twitter page in just the last week.

He also posted a photo last week of himself surrounded by 12 senior members of his team as they huddled around watching US President Barack Obama address his country on the executive actions he took to tighten rules for those selling guns.

Beyond the issue of whether the US will ever enforce stiffer gun laws is the question of whether the prevailing gun control proposals can do anything to curb the problem of gun trafficking from the US to the Caribbean and Latin American region.

Background checks are the centrepiece of gun control proposals in America, but according to reports, there are already more than 300 million guns in the possession of persons in that country.

Comments

bahamian242 5 years, 10 months ago

We need to Stop all types of Smuggling! PERIOD!!!! Stop talk fooliness!

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B_I_D___ 5 years, 10 months ago

Sheer genius!! Why didn't we think of that before!!

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GrassRoot 5 years, 10 months ago

well some people think about it only, and the government talks about it only. and no one is doing anything. How can you stop a boat smuggling a hand gun? Boats are smuggling Harley Davidson choppers and they don't get caught.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 5 years, 10 months ago

The same fat on the back of his head near the base of his neck is now all that there is between his ears!

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Honestman 5 years, 10 months ago

"We need to have in place a comprehensive programme to deal with the guns,” Mr Wilchcombe said yesterday.

Sorry but I thought the PLP's last manifesto promised that the party had the answer to ending violent crime?

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TruePeople 5 years, 10 months ago

That was just bait and switch marketing for their Campaign

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GrassRoot 5 years, 10 months ago

relax, its coming. "soon". our beloved great leader PGC said.

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TalRussell 5 years, 10 months ago

Comrade King Solomon tells all we that “wisdom helps make a life.” Da wisest of man's presents us three challenges for us to implement as we navigate through life.
I still trying me best navigate through why is it a minister of tourism has numbers shops in his ministerial portfolio?
Tourist ain't even suppose buy no numbers - right?
Solomon even talks all-about how it was a poor wise man who delivered the city by his wisdom. Yet no one in PLP Cabinet remembered that poor man playing the numbers?
Why is that? I guess will have ask ghost of Pindling who despite his closeness to my dear late friend Percy Munnings - his wisdom would never allow legalization the numbers rackets to take place as prime minister.

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GrassRoot 5 years, 10 months ago

agreed. seems Obie wants the gun portfolio now too, seems he wants to become the go-to-person for rackets and racketeers in the Government. Am sure it pays well.

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asiseeit 5 years, 10 months ago

Do not worry Tal, in a very few years the numbers industry will decimate the small family island community's. These community's are broke to begin with and now the numbers man is gonna take what little extra they had. It will not be pretty and that is when these people will realize the how Perry Christie and the PLP sold them down the river to appease their financial backers. Numbers are going top be a very big problem for the Bahamas in about 5-10 years. People are right now scrapping .10 cents to play numbers. Perry Christie will forever be know as the man that unleashed this hell on Bahamians.

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TalRussell 5 years, 10 months ago

Comrade Assiseeit both Pindling and Milo were so opposed to the legalization of the numbers rackets that Percy had long stopped bringing the subject up with Pindling - and without Percy's cash injections there might never have been a first PLP government.
The PLP is no longer the party of Pindling, Milo and Clarence Bain. Percy wouldn't dare approach Carlton Francis about the numbers.

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cmiller 5 years, 10 months ago

Wow! Did Obie think up that profound statement all by himself??

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Publius 5 years, 10 months ago

Why is a government Minister saying what we need to do? The government is supposed to simply do it, not come to the public stating the obvious about what is needed. That is the job of the Opposition, not the government.

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nassauboy 5 years, 10 months ago

They ARE doing what THEY are BEST at which is TALKING. :-)

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Sickened 5 years, 10 months ago

How is this man speaking about so many subjects NOT under his portfolio? Is it that he is personally involved in all of these things?

This guy is so nasty it is insulting.

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John 5 years, 10 months ago

So how much do they pay you for your racially motivated and degrading posts. Your neck must be red with venom

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Sickened 5 years, 10 months ago

I'm as confused as your post!

I am of mixed blood, get paid for my expertise and hold no political cards. I have voted for just about every political party... except the PLP. I just happen to hate thieves and liars.

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John 5 years, 10 months ago

The most effective way to stop gun smuggling is to start making (manufacturing) them here. Think about it. The US couldn't stop rum running, so now they started making rum. The war on drugs became too expensive so now they growing weed in the US. So maybe if you start manufacturing guns here they will step up their laws and their guns will stop coming here. Law of supply and demand

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spoitier 5 years, 10 months ago

It is a reason why gun smuggling is a bad thing, if the Bahamas start making them, the smuggling will cease but the bad thing will still exist. Gun Violence.

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MonkeeDoo 5 years, 10 months ago

I don't think they are smuggled, they just pay the Customs people to clear them ! Along with the High end cars and luxury goods. Mandate that All banks must disclose politician and civil servant account activity and you will start to stop the CRIME.

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nassauboy 5 years, 10 months ago

The island is 7x21 miles. When you think about it, not that hard to really blockade, and then raid from the outside inwards. Collect the guns and anything else you feel should be picked up at the same time.

Whats lacking is the will to do so.

Plenty talk, which is what I say Bahamians do best!

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