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Wilchcombe: We Are All To Blame For Crime Levels

Former Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe.

Former Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe.

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Tribune Staff Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe said yesterday that all Bahamians should take the blame for the country’s “unacceptable” crime levels, which have sparked repeated visitor advisories.

Mr Wilchcombe said while the tourism economy continues to grow, the repeated advisories issued by other countries because of high levels of crime will eventually impact the success of the tourism market.

He was also adamant that while violent crimes are a challenge, the Bahamas has the lowest levels of criminality against tourists.

This comes after the Canadian government again warned its citizens last week about crime in New Providence.

The advisory, posted on the Canadian government’s website www.canada.ca, said that while there is no nationwide advisory in effect for the Bahamas, its citizens should “exercise a high degree of caution” due to “high rates of crime, particularly in Nassau.”

The warning comes just months after the US Embassy in Nassau issued a Christmas crime warning for American residents living in the Bahamas or planning to travel to this country.

“I think the Bahamian people should receive this flack for all of us because our nation is being poorly, in my view, defined because of circumstances and situations that come from a small group of people,” Mr Wilchcombe told reporters in the foyer of the House of Assembly yesterday.

“The truth is we have to deal with the issue, which means that our war on crime must be a very strong one, continuous, deliberate and very focused.”

He added: “We might not see the immediate impact but there is some impact and people might be hesitant to come particularly because of what the world is seeing with other types of crime. So when you say crime, the category is not necessarily defined and can send the wrong message about your country. The Bahamas must return to its image of a place of hospitality, a place where our people ensure that it is better in the Bahamas.”

Despite Canada’s recent crime warning, Mr Wilchcombe said this country continues to have a good response from visitors in that region.

“Our tourism industry has grown. We are having a tremendous response from the Canadian market (and) tremendous response from the United States and other markets around the world.

“And so the crime warnings have an impact. You don’t see it immediately but you begin to see a degree of hesitance (from) visitors or some having difficulty even considering the Bahamas and destinations that face such circumstances,” the minister said.

Meanwhile, during his budget communication yesterday St Anne’s MP Hubert Chipman slammed the government for its inability to get a handle on crime. He said despite the government’s promise to deal with the issue, the country was no safer now than it was four years ago when the Christie administration took office.

On Monday, National Security Minister Dr Bernard Nottage had very little to say about violent crime when he was questioned by The Tribune, however he told a local daily that overall crime was down this year compared to the same period in 2015.

On Sunday, three new homicides were added to the murder count, pushing it to 56 for the year. Up to this time last year, the country had recorded 69 homicides, a difference of 18 per cent. However, 2015 was a record-breaking year for homicides, with police recording 146 that year.

Dr Nottage added that Sunday’s murders were “unusual” considering crime trends this year.

This attracted harsh criticism from Free National Movement Leader Dr Hubert Minnis who said the comments were “deaf” and “insensitive.”

Comments

licks2 5 years, 5 months ago

GIVE IT UP MAN. . .THE PLP WAS THE ONES WHO SAID THAT THE FNM MESS THE CRIME SITUATION AND THEY WERE GOING TO FIX IT! We are not fools. . .we know that they are not totally responsible for the many crime acts. . .BUT YINNA SAID YALL WILL CLEAN IT UP!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 5 years, 5 months ago

Sorry Obie, but all of the blame for the very high crime levels rightfully belongs squarely in the lap of the corrupt Christie-led PLP government of which you are a part. Obie, you come across as a tired old fat headed corrupt politician trying to do what he usually does, i.e. spread blame where it does not belong.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 5 years, 5 months ago

Obie's close ties to the numbers' bosses, in particular Craig Flowers and Sebas Bastian, put him in the same slop bucket as Perry Christie, Brave Davis and Alfred Sears.

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John 5 years, 5 months ago

You do the math (some say maths). $10 million missing from the Public Hospitals Authority, $20 million unacvounted for at Urban Renewal, $47 million missing from Road Traffic ($1 million cold cash vanishing out a safe in broad daylight) $100 million plus additional millions in monies to BAMSi with no proper accounting, No one charged. No one gone to jail. Was anyone even fired? Hard earned taxpayer money just vanishing. foreigners getting tax concessions and free land while Bahamian getting goosey with tax after tax after tax and you don't know who is responsible for crime? You ainn serious!

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SP 5 years, 5 months ago

They told us we were stupid and ignorant. They obviously truly believe it!

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John 5 years, 5 months ago

Ain't this the same minister who lie and tell the Bshamian people they will never be locked and fenced out of Paradise Island beaches? And a few short weeks later they were locked and fenced out and arrested if they lingered. And you want know who is the blame for crime. Thousands of foreign workers brought in to work on Bah Mar and The Pointe and in Bimini while Bahamians sit idle and starving and you ainn know who cause crime to increase. Election soon come.

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John 5 years, 5 months ago

@ Obie: the next time you address a PLP convention or PLP rally look boldly into the eyes of your your audience and say, "we all all responsible for the increase in crime levels." Then you will be 100% correct.

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SP 5 years, 5 months ago

Education, hospitals, immigration, banking, tourism, BOB, BDB, customs ALL failures

Have the PLP and FNM ever accepted responsibility for anything?

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ohdrap4 5 years, 5 months ago

the copy desk made a mistake:

We Are All To Blame For Crime Levels

should read:

We, the PLP, Are All To Blame For Crime Levels

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TalRussell 5 years, 5 months ago

Our Minister Tourism headed Karnaval 2015, Karnaval 2016...and the so-called 650-Thousand Dollars Musical Festival, that just happened to have prematurely closed down quicker than the worst Broadway Play... but not before every red penny of state funds had been exhausted.
Comrades have you heard of them?
Have you heard that the much promised audited accounting for Karnaval 2015, has never been made public? They did spend even more state funds to publish a picture book...but with no $$$ numbers?
Have you heard just days ago, Paul Major said they were "still adding up the state funds money numbers" for Karnaval 2016?
Now, here comes the real comedy. Obadiah says, he is the best qualified to take over from prime minister Christie?

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viewersmatters 5 years, 5 months ago

I guess the people are sitting Government in the house and making the rules, laws and regulations for the Bahamas. This plain and simple says to the people of the Bahamas we are on our own and left to defend the little that we have, this statement truly proves that the government was never for the people and putting the people first isn't no accumption of deception but proves the people fully correct. Sad edcuse for a supposed to be sitting Government who never holds themselves response for anything in the Bahamas that isnt pleasing to the people.

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dstewart242 5 years, 5 months ago

Its soo funny that this same government was quick to blame the FNM for the crime problem and that they had the solution to the crime problem. Now they want to blame the entire Bahamian population. Well if you were able to provide more jobs with wages Bahamians could survive on then crime would go down. But all this government does is point fingers, raise the cost of living by adding VAT by the way where did all of that money go? How can we ever get a handle on crime when those in power are criminals themselves this government is corrupt and needs to go

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John 5 years, 5 months ago

Speaking of crime...do you know some maids in Freeport (the city that gets billions in tax breaks) are paid $3.50 to clean a hotel room? YES, Three Dollars and Fifty Cents! So to make minimum wage, these maids must clean at least 13 rooms per day, 5 days a week. They must scrub 13 bath tubs, clean 13 toilets and make over 20 beds. And when there is no work they are told to stay home. When there is little work, they can go home with less than $20 a day out of which they must find lunch and transportation to and from work. Some come from as far away as West End. Meanwhile some of these same rooms rent for more than $200 a night and the hotel properties gat massive tax breaks from the government. Does this seem like a reason for an increase in crime or is it a crime in unselfish? Can you get a joneser to clean your car for $3.50? Ok just to clean the outside.

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John 5 years, 5 months ago

What consecutive governments have failed to recognize is crime is a symptom of other major problems (social and economic) so one cannot fight crime without addressing the problems that cause it. When Grand Bahama and New providence had near to full employment crime was at its lowest. In fact crime was near none existent in Grand Bahama for many years, but when the magic left the crime came. Crime is lowest in places like North Abaco, The Berry Islands, San Salvador, and the Exumas, where employment is high, especially among the male population and the youth. Crime is also not bad in islands like Eleuthera, Cat island and Andros where, while there is serious unemployment and economic challenges, there is still a sense of community and close family structure. New Providence and Grand Bahama have the highest populations, the highest levels of unemployment and a corresponding high level of crime, violent and even deadly. In some instances it is a form of cannibalism and survival of the fittest. It is a case of the unemployed preying on the employed and the have not's taking from those who have. It is a matter of persons becoming anti-social or anti-society. There are generations of drug dealers, some who left school to pry this trade and who now find themselves otherwise unemployable. There is the "D" average school leavers, who are not being addressed, except to acknowledge that they are "D" average. Unfortunately these persons also have financial obligations and, if no opportunity is made available to them will turn to crime. Some may become parents or have parents they have to care for. Males do not usually take advantage of social programs and government must look at ways to provide or cause to be created employment for them. Then most businesses, like food stores, gas stations, fast food outlets and even hotels, have all become 'young people orientated' in that you can no longer grow old on their job. They take advantage of the high unemployment and change staff frequently. Hardly anyone in many of these business are over 40 or been employed there more than 5 years. So there is no job security. And when a worker gives these companies their best and brightest years, they find themselves being made redundant and having to go job hunting. Then there is a serious drug/substance abuse problem in this country. Everyone needs something, weed alcohol or a combination to take them away from reality. And there is moral decay; It is easier to get out a relationship and start over than to stay and make it work. And so many wires get crossed. And many people in this country do not know or fear God. Some have never been in a church and so they live only in the flesh. And they will kill without fear,especially when they believe there is no consequences for their actions.

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Tarzan 5 years, 5 months ago

If all are to blame, none are to blame. More hot, smelly gas, the natural byproduct of political decay.

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Greentea 5 years, 5 months ago

His breath must smell to high heaven cause the only thing flowing from his mouth is bulls$$t! GO AWAY!

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croberts6969 5 years, 5 months ago

Wilchcombe is the biggest ignoramus there is. What are we to do about crime. My house as broken into 5 years ago. Three different officer of the RBPF said someone was coming back to take my statement. 2016 and I still waiting.

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SP 5 years, 5 months ago

....................... Wilchcombe's panties are obviously too tight again! ..........................

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PKMShack 5 years, 5 months ago

bey listen to this, call election so we could send you all into the future, tell ya boy Big C what I say

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