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Where’S The Proof On Fish Fry Alert?

Minister of National Security Marvin Dames.

Minister of National Security Marvin Dames.

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

THE US State Department’s most recent advisory to its citizens warning them to avoid visiting the Fish Fry at Arawak Cay at night came as a “surprise” to National Security Minister Marvin Dames, who told The Tribune yesterday Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) officials were unaware of any serious issues of concern at the popular tourist attraction.

The advisory, issued on Wednesday, ranks The Bahamas at ‘Level 2: Exercise increase caution,’ stating that violent crime, such as burglaries, armed robberies and sexual assault are common, even during daylight hours and in tourist areas.

The State Department also maintained its stance banning embassy personnel from visiting the Sand Trap in Nassau or using Jet Ski rentals on New Providence and Paradise Island; however, its latest warning struck a major blow to one of the city’s most popular cultural offerings, the Fish Fry.

In an interview with The Tribune yesterday - the day after the cultural hub was singled out as dangerous - Mr Dames was adamant there certainly hasn’t been anything that would have caused any serious level of concern, especially at Arawak Cay where there is a police station on site headed by a superintendent and supported by the RBPF’s Central Division.

This is one of the largest divisions in New Providence and has the backing of mobile patrols, the minister said.

While maintaining that he couldn’t say, based on his daily conversations with Police Commissioner Anthony Ferguson what constituted the warning, the minister said the Minnis administration is in the business of fixing problems. He said if the United States is aware of certain issues, the doors are always open to discuss how they can be resolved.

“Am I surprised? Yeah. Of course I am,” said Mr Dames. “There is some level of surprise. Surprise from the standpoint that as far as I am aware, our level of communication with the US, I would say, is a very good one.

“If there were concerns, then one would have expected they would have been communicated to the commissioner. I speak to the commissioner on a daily basis and this is one of those things that came up this morning and he was not aware of any issues having to do with Arawak Cay

“And secondly when we look at our reporting matters, there certainly hasn’t been anything based on my conversation with the commissioner that would have brought about any serious level of concerns. As you are fully aware there is a police station on Arawak Cay and it’s headed by a police superintendent.

“That station is supported by the station just east of Nassau Street, which is supported by the Central Division, which is one of the largest divisions in New Providence and that too is overlaid by the presence of mobile patrol vehicles.

“Now I couldn’t say what constituted this, but we would, as we have always been, and certainly this government is in the business of fixing problems.

“So, if there are issues that the US may be aware of that we are not, our doors are always open to discuss how we can work together to resolve these issues because people are often affected by decisions that are made such as this and the key is what are the issues so that we can bring to bear whatever we need to ensure that all parties concerned are happy and that we can move beyond this.”

Mr Dames said while the government has made marked progress in the fight against crime, it realises a lot more must be done.

“This is a dynamic business and we will continue to work with residents, our partners and everyone else to continue to stop the flow of illegal firearms entering this country to mitigate the amount of firearms and drugs flowing through – we are responsible for neither manufacturing or producing - and to stop the trafficking in persons throughout this country and to reduce violent crimes to make communities safe and by extension the nation safe. That’s our objective as a government.

“While we know that we have a significant amount of work to do we are confident that as we roll out our policies and get the support of the Bahamian people that we’ll be ok.”

On the same day the warning was issued, Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar said the advisory was “odd and troubling,” adding he was “at a loss” over why the State Department would opt to target the area given there is an on-site police station.

Vendors on the strip underscored the critical importance of both local and tourist traffic, expressing major concerns over the advisory’s impact on eateries struggling to survive in the current economic climate.

Jason Burrows, proprietor of Deep Creek, called on the government to make an immediate intervention. The restaurant has been at Arawak Cay for 15 years.

Mr Burrows acknowledged the area was not immune to crime or conflict, but said it was important to contextualise incidents as it was not representative of the business community.

In line with previous travel warnings, the State Department also advises its citizens to avoid the Over-the-Hill area.

Comments

BahamasForBahamians 6 months, 1 week ago

Its exactly where the VAT money is.. you guys never proved it was stolen so why should Uncle Sam be forced to prove anything?

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SayWa 6 months, 1 week ago

He is using the same excuses that he criticized Bernard Nottage for. SMH!!!!

The more things change, the more they say the same.

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bogart 6 months, 1 week ago

Didnt the Police themselves recently like 2 weeks ago have a public advisory to women ....dressing scantily when going to Junkanoo and a local religeous leader also publictly supported the Police which caused an enormous bruhaha??? The distance between the Police advisory location Junkanoo and FishFry is walking distance plus with Junkanoo there is also a Central Police station just by East St. Police should know there are wutless fellows in the area cause even Bahamians can tell them dat. Suggest some police sting operations with police men and women to blend in the tourist crowds to get to the root of the problem.

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TalRussell 6 months, 1 week ago

Ma Comrade Bradda Marvin, what the US state department's travel advisory telling you is this is what going keep happening as long as your Nassau Town continues to substitute crime activities as the only means entertain the tourists.... those few who dare to ignore the warnings not venture beyond their tourism lodgings.
Minister, stop complaining and get together your minister tourism and begin to return Nassau Town to its past native entertainment values that was so enjoyed by we visitors... And, we Nassau Town is so damn disgustingly dirty nasty, where the clerks behind the cash registers are tired watching the tourists walk by their business establishments ... only to pokes their heads in to ask for directions how walk nearest american fast food franchise joint.
Minister, nobody likes complainer so don't complain, don't explain.......... so make it your New year's resolution change the look and the attitudes we Nassau Town and lots US travel sights will sing we praises.
Amen!

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sealice 6 months, 1 week ago

because the only thing cops are good for from Saunders Beach to the bridges are directing traffic? Letting the jitneys jack traffic up so bad that it don't move for an hour? Riding to the top of the hill by the monastery and sleeping in the shade of that tree on the corner? Arresting tourists on false pretenses and charging them on the site for their supposed crimes? Yelling at Bahamians who are trying to figure out how the traffic pattern has been jacked up today for the most recent government procession?

And so on and so on....

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sealice 6 months, 1 week ago

THE ONLY THING THE COPS DOWNTOWN ARE GOOD FOR IS PHOTO'S WITH THE TOURISTS......THEY LIKE THE POINTY HATS....

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SayWa 6 months, 1 week ago

Why is he so surprised? Did he think those advisories would stop because they are in power now? LOL!!!

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TheMadHatter 6 months, 1 week ago

The article says ... "While we know that we have a significant amount of work to do we are confident that as we roll out our policies and..."

I guess that "work to do" is the work to do that you ought to do. Maybe the message is a hint. "As we roll out ..."??????? You have secret policies you haven't "rolled out" yet?

Also perhaps this warning comes after the State Dept. read all the comments and feedback from the town hall meeting on decriminalizing marijuana and thus understood that our country still wishes to live in the stone age and focus on non-violent crime (like smoking in private) instead of dealing with vicious rapists and murderers and armed robbers.

So if we want to live in backward times then close up our tourist industry and follow the advice of the father of our nation who said who don't want to fish can cut bait.

We are a backward ignorant nation who has a fake government that is only there to carry out the wishes of the old old old Party stalwart councelors who actually run this county in conjunction with the pastors, reverends, deacons, and "prophets". Very much like the Mullahs and Imams in Iran control the Ayatollah and he is "behind the scenes" but in all reality outranks the President. Here in the Bahamas we are in the same boat.

Until THE PEOPLE stop giving money to give power to these damn churches - we will always be backward and ya chirrens what dis graduate from college ain't coming back here - cause education opened their eyes.

It's the people's time to choose their future. If they have an extra 10% of their salary to spare ... then give it to the hunger programs to feed the needy just like Jesus did with the loaves and fishes. He tried to lead by example but the pastors at the time ignored him and eventually crucified him. Trust me, if Jesus came back in mortal form today...he would get crucified all over again right in Rawson Square.

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John 6 months, 1 week ago

The US knows how to cut the cloth to fit its suit, so no use looking for a retraction, or even a rewording of the alert. The Bahamas, as a country, and Bahamians, as individuals,, must therefore continue to do as much as possible to ensure that every visitor that comes to these shores are kept safe, and the experience during their visit gives them satisfaction and value for money. And even more importantly to fight against and resist those wicked spirits that have our young people warring against each other. There is only one Bahamas and therefore only one set of Bahamians and we will not be disenfranchised. This also a wake up call to become more self sufficient as a country, especially with food supply as the rug can be pulled out from under your feet at any time and doors slammed in your face for no apparent reason. Let the saga play itself out. The world has become a hostile place and those given the charge to keep the peace sometimes turn to acts of aggression. For now we must turn the other cheek and continue to smile.

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TalRussell 6 months, 1 week ago

Da Comrade Bradda Marvin is learning this what happens when you does overreach the world stage platforms you're presented with whilst in opposition...... Marvin is not doing such good job handling he fate. Me's has laugh how bad a ducker he has become at governing.
There's no ducking the thugs in Nassau Town, even the policeman's scared go in some areas without their machine guns and armored protective dress gear... so stop trying bullshi# the US state department. Ever see Tribune photo when senior policeman's officers are visiting a neighbourhood.... there likes 20 senior policeman's and not without added uniformed policeman's..... what about how the Imperial ministers who since being elected have become so afraid of the criminals... are they not under close guard? Amen!

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Cobalt 6 months, 1 week ago

Where is the proof on the Fish Fry Alert???????????????????? Seriously?????????????????? Marvin Dames smoking grass a???? Are these government officials living on this island?????????

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ashley14 6 months, 1 week ago

What are we saying? Tourism is limited to the resort they choose. Are you kidding? What is the difference between Jamaica and the Bahamas. Jamaica is booming with tourism. They are happy and making money. And I had a blast and no one was warning the tourists of dangers.

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John 6 months, 1 week ago

Which of the past four US presidents and the one present will not visit the Fish Fry on a private vacation to the Bahamas? So hush your mouth and don’t let the Department of State play you.

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ashley14 6 months, 1 week ago

I wouldn't think of it. I have a loyal soul. I left my half of my heart in the Bahamas, and will make it whole again.

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Bonefishpete 6 months, 1 week ago

Blame the messenger, dat do it. Maybe treating the tourists with gratitude instead of servitude would go a long ways to improving the visitors experience.

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ykpbs 6 months, 1 week ago

I am sorry to say, but I agree with the US Alert... The fry is not the same years ago, and not a safe heaven for tourist. We turn a blind eye towards the change in this area. First the Fish Fry is basically a Bar Court than a food court. And truly not to discriminate, but weekend nights some areas reminds you of images of a garza....

Sadly there are some good restaurants that takes the downgrade that is not earned. To solve it! Fish Fry vendors need to create a committee and come to alliance of the image they would like to be portray for guest. The loud reggae tunes and dancehall to stop! and allow Bahamian music and calypso to play..... Most of these venues that plays the wild music and serve endless alcohol... were recent Crime Scenes in The Bahamas. Shoot Outs, stabbing, and assaults. Though the police station there, they dont patrol the area.... thats a next suggestion. The should implement undercover cops at the fry as well, because its also an area that tries to sell weed and dope to guest...

Its those stalls that earnings come solely from liquor , attracts a poor imagery for guest to the country. Not to say where tourist come from dont have the same thing....but you dnt travel to experience that.......

next will be taxi drivers band if they dont stop ripping off guest and selling drugs.....

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ashley14 6 months ago

Even in Fla lots of Coastal Restaurants could use some work and cleaning. That's for you to decide if it bothers you. One the Sea is rough on structures, but a bathroom that you wouldn't go back to is something else. Then anywhere that there is excessive drinking there will be fights and maybe guns fired. I'm not saying I approve. I just don't see any reason to warn people to stay away. Unless it's daily. That's a different story. If your concerned, go to the marina docks its a lot of fun, and you can buy wonderful seafood and make new friends, without drunks. Seeing what they caught that day is a lot of fun.

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