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Murder Count Overtakes 2016

Bishop Simeon Hall

Bishop Simeon Hall

By SANCHESKA DORSETT

Tribune Staff Reporter

Sdorsett@tribunemedia.net

WITH less than three months left in the year, the Bahamas has surpassed last year’s murder count of 111, according to The Tribune’s records.

Yesterday, several local pastors called on the government to institute a variety of initiatives, including a 30-day amnesty period for guns, in order to curb the escalating homicides in the country.

The pastors, including Bishop Simeon Hall, Bishop Victor Cooper, Bishop Gregory Minnis and Dr J Carl Rahming, claimed the “political rhetoric and pronouncements” made by politicians “has done very little” in the last 25 years to curb the escalating use of illegal guns throughout the country.

There have been 113 homicides to date, with four people being killed in the past four days.

If the current pace of killings were to continue, the country could come close to the 146 murders recorded in 2015, the highest in the recorded history of the Bahamas. On Tuesday, National Security Minister Marvin Dames said there has been a slight decline in killings under the Minnis administration.

Mr Dames told reporters outside Cabinet that, despite a recent uptick in homicides, the murder rate in the last six months of the year is slightly less than the first four months.

However, the figures he provided were inaccurate based on Tribune records.

According to Mr Dames, there were 58 homicides during the first four months of the year, January to April. He added there had been 54 murders from May to the present - not including this latest shooting death.

The letter from pastors read: “We call on Parliamentarians to lead the rest of civil society in an all out war on illegal guns.

“The tragic death of an infant and several teenagers in recent months all were perpetrated by criminals with illegal guns who have no regard for the sanctity of human life. Every facet of society must enlist in this war against those who have declared war on a civilized Bahamas.  Draconian measures must set fear in the hearts of criminals. The fear and dread felt by Bahamians must be transferred to the criminal-minded. The policies of political parties are usually determined by whether they are in Government or in Opposition. This is indeed unfortunate, but accurate.

“We, therefore, further call for a 30-year National Policy on Crime based on consultations with all relevant national stakeholders, and endorsed by all major political parties. When a little boy, sitting innocently in his mother’s house doing his homework, is gunned down, we must declare war on those without regard for human life.”

Some of the other policies suggested by the group include, considering a 30-day amnesty period in which persons are encouraged to turn illegal guns in; doubling the present penalty for those convicted of possession of illegal firearms; removing the current discretion from Magistrates who impose sentencing on those convicted of illegal firearms and disallowing bail for persons convicted of illegal firearms a second time.

On Tuesday, Mr Dames said he did not see the need for a gun amnesty because previous attempts did not produce significant results.

He underscored the Royal Bahamas Police Force has “adjusted its strategy” to target gangs rather than individual criminals.

Last month, Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson announced the establishment of two separate RBPF anti-crime units aimed at eliminating gang activity in the country and reducing the number of homicides.

Comments

BahamasForBahamians 1 month ago

Marvin Dames needs to be fired.

His success as a Minister of National Security thus far has been worst than his immediate predecessors - BJ Nottage & Tommy T in their first 6 months.

Marvin has to understand as a police who campaigned on having the answers based on police experience, more is expected of him than both fellas that sat in the chair before him.

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tell_it_like_it_is 1 month ago

I agree that the government has done nothing much to curb the crime problem, but the churches should be ashamed as well. What are churches doing today to play a MAJOR role in helping to curb social ills in the country? More has to be done by EVERYONE! Crime is not just a problem for the Government of The Bahamas. We ALL need to stop seeking to blame everyone else and start understanding ways we can PERSONALLY play a role in helping our communities. "It takes a village" ... after all.

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ConcernedCitizen242BHS 1 month ago

Solution for reducing crime & deterring criminal activity:

1) Create a new maximum security, Bahamas led and designed prison on one of our more isolated islands 2) Begin upskilling & training the current resources of able bodied Bahamian men held within the existing prisons to be able to work as skilled, building construction labour on the new prison site 3) Create new job opportunities for boatmen or aircrafts to be able to bring supplies to and from the new prison facilities

...

We really need to look at more effective and humane ways of preventing persons from wanting to stray off the straight and narrow path. And ideally we need to foster a better society based on togetherness where there are contributing members who believe in playing an active role role in our much better tomorrow.

Rise up Bahamaland!

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Sickened 1 month ago

"and endorsed by all major political parties."?

There is only one major political party and they are in power.

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Sickened 1 month ago

30 day amnesty to turn illegal guns in? This has been done before; it does VERY little. They mainly turn in guns that don't work or guns already used to commit murder. They keep their new guns. Plus, there is NO penalty enforced for getting caught with an illegal firearm or bullets. Our laws are weak and unenforced by the courts. WE ARE A JOKE!

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Sickened 1 month ago

"several local pastors called on the government to institute a variety of initiatives".

Jokes. Why don't they start an initiative to ask permission from every one of their parishioner's to be able to go into their homes and let the priest conduct a search for guns, ammunition or drugs? I bet you they would never ask and I bet you none of their parishioner's would agree to it 'cause they know what evil will be discovered!

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Sickened 1 month ago

What's this fool gonna say about rapists? Please turn in your penis? This guy needs a reality slap!

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IslandTransPlant 1 month ago

Since the government can't seem to handle this crime wave that's been sweeping the country for years letting these kids run wild like animals, and some of the citizens not doing there part to help curb this situation, I say kill them all and let God sort them out... # Tuff Love

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ConcernedCitizen242BHS 1 month ago

Similarly to building a new prison on one of our farther outer islands, we really need to look at effectively removing these persons determined to disrupt our normal society until they can be socially conditioned, responsible and contributing members of the Bahamian civil society.

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sheeprunner12 1 month ago

If the media would stop sensationalizing crime and murder ......... and let the SWAT commandos deal with the gangs, drugs and gun smugglers ....... and put in place the Singapore rules.

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sheeprunner12 1 month ago

Is there any more space on Bishop Simeon Hall's - Wall of Murdered Victims - on the East-West Highway?????????

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ThisIsOurs 1 month ago

"#On Tuesday, Mr Dames said he did not see the need for a gun amnesty because previous attempts did not produce significant results. He underscored the Royal Bahamas Police Force has “adjusted its strategy” to target gangs rather than individual criminals.

Facing the unpleasant reality that they don't have a plan and they will never have one. Their strategy if they ever had one is to have a continuous rollout of feel good new stories to keep the masses riding the wave of landslide victory and fake change.

Exactly how many times will there be an announcement of a change in strategy "THIS" week? and how weird is that that the new strategy is to "shift focus" to target gangs?? Didn't the last administration already identify this issue??? going as far as to enact a gang offenders law?? What is he talking about??????????

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