THE Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its sympathy yesterday to the people of the United States and residents of Orlando, Florida, following a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in the city early Sunday morning.
The shooting, which has been called the deadliest in US history, killed 49 people and wounded dozens more, according to international news reports.
“Orlando is a city with which our country has significant trade and familial ties,” the ministry’s statement said. “The state of Florida is also our closest trading partner. In addition there are significant familial ties with Florida. Our offices in Florida will be monitoring events to ensure that Bahamians are afforded the legal protections in the state and in the city.
“A diplomatic note will be sent expressing the condolences from The Bahamas.”
Yesterday, Democratic National Alliance Leader Branville McCartney released a statement that said: “The callous and violent act is being called the worst mass shooting to take place in US history and the most dangerous terror attack to take place on US soil since 9/11. Sadly, we now live in a world where such acts of violence are becoming more and more commonplace, where persons with alternative views and lifestyles become the target of terrorists both domestic and international. This is unacceptable and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms. It is our hope that the families of those lost are able to find some level of closure and comfort.
“Even as we mourn with the families of those lost in Orlando, we in the Bahamas have not been able to escape the scourge of violence. We also continue to mourn the loss of scores of Bahamians whose lives have been cut short by the violence on our streets. We mourn the deaths of young men and women whose families continue to seek their own closure and comfort. Unfortunately, many local families may never receive that closure. The continued backlog of cases within the judiciary and a lack of enforcement of the laws regarding punishment have only emboldened the criminal element. The DNA repeats its call for the legislative arm of government to oversee the enforcement of capital punishment in cases that warrant it. More importantly we as a people and as a global community must learn to co-exist, to settle our differences without turning to violence and live in brotherly love,” Mr McCartney said.
The gunman in Sunday’s shooting, 29-year-old Omar Mateen of Florida, called 911 during the attack to pledge allegiance to ISIS and mentioned the Boston Marathon bombers, CNN reported.
CNN also reported that Mateen “carried an assault rifle and a pistol into the packed Pulse club about 2 am Sunday and started shooting, killing 49 people and wounding at least 53.”
He was later shot dead by police.