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‘Crime Strategy Still Right Path’

Minister of National Security Marvin Dames.

Minister of National Security Marvin Dames.

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter 

krussell@tribunemedia.net

NATIONAL Security Minister Marvin Dames is “pretty confident” the Minnis administration will get a handle on crime following an “unusual” spate of murders recorded in Grand Bahama, marking the first three incidents in the country for 2018.

In response to this, Mr Dames said yesterday a team of law enforcement officials will visit the island with a view to looking at the root causes of violent crime to mitigate further homicides.

While there have been no murders in New Providence for the year, the nation’s second city has recorded three - the victims all men who were shot to death in the span of less than a week.

Despite this grim, “concerning” prospect, Mr Dames said the government is confident its crime fighting initiatives will yield results, as he pointed to the last quarter of 2017, saying it showed a significant decline in homicide numbers.

However, overall homicides in 2017 were up compared with 2016. One hundred and twenty-three murders occurred in 2017, according to The Tribune’s records, compared with 111 recorded the year before.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest, East Grand Bahama MP, said the violence points to the issue of gun prevalence in the country coupled with unfortunate anger and deviant behaviour from some young men in the country.

As these factors continue to contribute to murders, critics have used this as a springboard to castigate the government for its crime fighting plan.

Among these are Progressive Liberal Party Chairman Fred Mitchell who said on Sunday the government’s crime plan is not working.

“It’s quite unusual for Grand Bahama but what I’m happy to report is that for the first two homicides, the police have already turned a corner in respect to both of them and as a result of their investigations to date I believe they now are moving on a number of other outstanding issues having to do with those first two homicides for the year,” Mr Dames told reporters ahead of yesterday’s Cabinet meeting.

“So those two are pretty much cleared. (In) the third one, there is a suspect and the police very much have that matter as well in hand. Listen, it points to the challenges we face in the country. The police have already cleared all three of them. It’s only a matter of getting the suspect in this last matter.

“We’re always concerned about homicides. There is no doubt about it. We feel confident that our initiatives are yielding some results. As I pointed out, there is a significant amount of work to do. But if we look at the last quarter of 2017, there was a significant decline in homicides as compared with the first and second quarter of 2017.”

He continued: “Are we resting on our laurels? No, not at all. We have a number of policy initiatives that we will continue to roll out as a government during the first quarter of 2018. One is our National Neighbourhood Watch Council. We have already completed all of the work in respect to that and we are just narrowing down on the launch date. Our Citizen Security Programme that was totally revamped, we’re about to launch that in a big way and it brings together all of the key stakeholder ministries like labour and the Attorney General’s Office, national security and education and youth and social services.

“And so we feel pretty confident that we are in fact on the right track we will continue to certainly put an effort in professionalising our law enforcement agencies and so we will introduce new technology. We will revamp training and we talked about the manpower audit for the police force and the (Royal Bahamas) Defence Force is currently underway and we expect to commence the corrections services very shortly. We are talking about the transformation of the corrections services - punitive to correction - and so what you expect to see in the upcoming months ahead is a transformation of these organisations that you would have never seen before and we are quite overdue for it.

“So in spite of those three homicides we are pretty confident that we will get a handle on it,” Mr Dames said.

Speaking of the murders which have plagued Grand Bahama recently, Mr Turnquest said he was hopeful the events did not foreshadow a lingering trend.

He said: “We are obviously very concerned. I don’t want to spread fear and panic. I think that these issues that arise from time to time are very unfortunate and certainly our hearts go out to the families that have suffered as a result of their loved ones being taken in such a senseless manner.

“I think this all goes back to the issue of the prevalence of guns, the unfortunate anger in our society, the deviant behaviour of some of our young men in particular and all we can do is appeal to them to recognise that they have a future that they have a place in this country that they can take their legal rightful role. There are better ways to achieve success than taking a gun in your hands.”

Asked to respond to the criticism towards the government in light of the killings, Mr Turnquest said it was “disingenuous”.

“Three young men have lost their lives and their families are suffering, now is not the time for this nonsense. The minister of national security and the commissioner of police have put forth their plan. It certainly will take time for it to take root and prove itself, but we believe they have put forth a credible comprehensive plan, which will extend out to Grand Bahama as well as to other islands of the Bahamas. I would only say give them an opportunity for the plan to take root,” Mr Turnquest said.

On Saturday evening in Grand Bahama a man was shot dead near a popular restaurant in Port Lucaya, a tourist hotspot. The killing came two days after another man was shot dead in Grand Bahama outside a nightclub on Thursday night and five days after a father was killed outside his home in Freeport.

Comments

proudloudandfnm 2 years, 10 months ago

No government has ever had the slightest impact on crime. Security is the one area we are completely lost in. No one in this country has the slightest idea of what to do about crime. When will we wake up and realize we need help?!?!?

There are countries similar to ours in size and culture that have successfully curbed crime. Go get help! Stop using crime as a campaign issue and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!

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TalRussell 2 years, 10 months ago

Comrade Marvin is just one more Imperial ‘red shorts’ cabinet minister foolishly stepping forward suffering from 2017 general election symptoms reckless promises amnesia diarrhea. And, him boss, the PM, has comes downs one serious case da bad runs shi#s.

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birdiestrachan 2 years, 10 months ago

It was never my view that any Government is or was responsible for murders in the Bahamas. but since the FNM Government takes the praise, they will have to take the blame...

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John 2 years, 10 months ago

If one (yea you) would look at the murder statistics from November 2017 to present, you would notice that there is a significant drop on the number of murders. In fact that period (November 1 to present may be a period where the least amount of murders occurred over that period of time in 10 years. So the murder rate in the Bahamas is definitely DOWN! That being said the question next is was the decline in murders due to the fact that some very notorious killers have themselves been murdered or received death threats or was it a fact that the police are making a more concentrated effort and they too are making a dent in crime, especially murders. Let there be no doubt thT the police response time, especially to serious crime has improved, significantly. And the statistics bare out the fact that the detection rate for murders have improved. To the point that the police claim that suspects for all three murders on the island of Grand Bahama are in custody. The all out assault on gangs and gang leaders is paying dividends. And the arrest and charges being brought against foreigners in the Northern Bahamas is testimony that the country must not only protect itself from the illegals sneaking in in the south, but also the guns and ammunition smuggling in the North and North West. Someone in the US said immigration laws cannot be enforced, but at least immigration and crime can be controlled.

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sheeprunner12 2 years, 10 months ago

Crime is based on self-discipline and personal integrity .......... Bahamians lack these variables.

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John 2 years, 10 months ago

you are a natural jack ass and your posts confirm it...you have sitting judges (in the US) running guns and weapons and drugs to the Bahamas and also policemen doing the same thing (US policemen) to the Bahamas and you still want blame our young Bahamian youth (who themselves are victims of crime and drug abuse. Many (young Bahamians) who have never let the rocks of the island they were born on..shame...shame on you sheeprundat!

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John 2 years, 10 months ago

The police may not have the authority to search diplomatic pouches, they have the authority to monitor and patrol those who import them. And as China has wowed to execute every foreigner operating contrary to its laws in its country. And time this country stop putting all its trust and. Confidence in every foreigner that comes here with a briefcase and wearing a necktie. It can’t be any clothan that.

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sheeprunner12 2 years, 10 months ago

John has attacked me for being honest about Bahamians generally lacking collective self-discipline and personal integrity .......... Well, just look around at the many examples ...... from road rage, kickbacks, pilferage, littering, D+schooling etc. ......... But, if it makes you feel better John, go right ahead ....... Maybe - the cap fits you!!!!!!

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John 2 years, 10 months ago

@Sheeprunner: YOU are not being honest, you are being disingenuous. You use every opportunity on this site to despise, ridicule spout venom or somehow belittle Bahamians. Your post above this one confirms this. You need to crawl back into your little damp, smoked out cave until you come to reality. BLACK people are just as much a human as you. And since most Bahamians are BLACK, they have just as much rights as you. There are also WHITE people who exercise road rage and sometimes it ends in someone being killed. Kickbacks are not exclusive to the Bahamas and dozens of governments around the world have toppled because of kickbacks and corruption. Likewise pilferage and littering are not exclusive to the Bahamas, and fortunately they are more under control in this country than in many (The amount of plastic floating in the ocean can form a mass bigger than Australia). And if you took a minute and some common sense to find out, a D+ under the Bahamian grading system is still a pass. It is not where our education system should be but these D+ students are not dysfunctional illiterates or incompetent or incapable of finding jobs and supporting themselves. Further a D+ grade is not permanent. Many D= students go on to take college level classes or other courses to improve themselves. You come here to try take control by making Bahamians feel they are below you and incompetent. In Canada over 20,000 residents were without power over the weekend when the temperature was as low as 32 F below zero. In Australia there were power outages when the temperature was 107F. And in California, persons who were lucky to escape raging fires over the past few months only to have them destroyed by mudslides. The point: IT IS STILL BETTER IN THE BAHAMAS! Beyond that there are hundreds of flights leaving this country everyday.

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sheeprunner12 2 years, 10 months ago

How many "white Bahamians" are in Fox Hill?????? ...... Ever wondered why?????? ........ Stop writing BS for a change and wake up to the reality of this country ........ The MAJORITY has to do better!!!!!!!!!

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TalRussell 2 years, 10 months ago

Ma Comrade Bradda been listening Minnis with his "People power is alive and well. Once the people stand together only positive things can happen"............ That is unless you're just happens be a Cabbage Beach Protester?

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hrysippus 2 years, 10 months ago

Sheeps, be encouraged, I don't think that I am alone in enjoying your more humorous posts.

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sheeprunner12 2 years, 10 months ago

Same here ........ I love ur rappertry

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bogart 2 years, 10 months ago

Google bahamas murder rate and there are a number of articles mid 2017 Bahamas has the 11 th highest murder rate in the world. EVEN Dr.Sands had also surprisingly pointed out that the leading cause of death is by bullet, not heart attacks or doabetes.

While the nomenklatura would say we are doing better reality is that Fishfry which a number of Bahamians thought was safe is now a place where tourists are now advised to avoid. Reality is both sides think we have a problem.

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