By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
NATIONAL Security Minister Marvin Dames said yesterday he didn’t have any statistics to back claims from a recently released United States report that crimes against its citizens in this country had increased.
The US State Department’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) warned in its Bahamas 2019 report that despite publicised numbers, incidents involving US citizens increased by 32 percent.
The report noted this pertained to mostly rape, sexual assault and robbery/theft.
Responding, Mr Dames said: “I don’t have any statistics that will bear crimes against US citizens are on the rise.”
He continued: “But one thing I would say is that you can see (and) we can essentially feel that we are in a different place in this country as compared to previous years and crimes continues to trend down including homicide, armed robberies and the more serious offences.
“So we are very pleased with the direction in which we are headed as a country.
“I continue to hear it from persons on the street on a daily basis. Are we there yet? No. We are far from where we need to be but we are certainly on the right track.”
Officials are also making progress toward the implementation of police body cameras and the creation of a sexual offenders registry, he said.
Regulations for the latter, Mr Dames said, were on Cabinet’s agenda yesterday.
As for body cameras, he told reporters: “We basically would have completed the tender process and so once the tender process would have been completed and it was completed last week, we are in the process now of preparing the Cabinet paper and hopefully within the next two weeks we should have that before Cabinet.”
He also said: “As I said prior to this we’ve been running a significant amount of testing with the vendor and we were certainly able to get over quite a bit of kinks in relation to the system to ensure that we have something that’s custom made for the Bahamas and we are very pleased.
“Because the system would not only accommodate matters in relation to sexual complaints but also we are looking at disaster management as well.
“This is a very diverse system and the local company would have partnered with a very formidable company in the business and we feel that we have something that’s very special and that will work for us here in the Bahamas and so we are very excited about where we are with respect to that,” Mr Dames said yesterday.
As for a timeline for the sex offender registry, Mr Dames said officials were pushing to make it public as soon as possible, adding: “There is a lot of planning that will take place behind that and so we are a government that likes to get our planning in place before we roll these initiatives out to ensure that they work and they work properly.”