By MORGAN ADDERLEY
Tribune Staff Reporter
FOREIGN Affairs Minister Darren Henfield yesterday said the government’s independent probe into the mysterious deaths of two Bahamian men in Italy was launched to ensure it has done all it “possibly can” to attain satisfactory answers regarding this tragedy.
Mr Henfield added as far as he is aware, the government has not yet received the toxicology reports of both men - sentiments previously echoed by the mother of one of the victims.
On August 7, Attorney General Carl Bethel announced the Minnis administration’s independent investigation, noting the government is determined to leave “no stone unturned in finding out the truth of what happened” to Alrae Ramsey, 29, and Blair John, 28, whose bodies were found in the Po River in Turin on June 4 and 5 respectively.
Mr Henfield discussed this probe in an interview with The Tribune yesterday.
“The Attorney General spoke adequately to the process,” Mr Henfield said. “As to why we’re doing it, we want to be sure that as a Bahamian people, in the interest of Bahamians, that we have done all that we possibly can to arrive at a place where we’re satisfied with the answers that we’ve received thus far.
“And so the Italian law provides that we can, as the Attorney General explained, provides that we can have a third party intervention what can require certain documents from public officials in Italy and have scrutiny of them to objectively, from our perspective, look at the evidence that’s available to us and satisfy ourselves that the evidence is in fact what it ought to be in an instance where we’re hearing findings of accidents.
“And that’s basically what we’re trying to do— all that we can in the interest of Bahamians to follow up and satisfy ourselves as a government and as a people, that we’ve done all that we can.”
According to some Italian news outlets, results of the autopsies conducted in Italy state drowning as the cause of Ramsey and John’s deaths.
Italian police ruled the deaths were accidental stating it appeared the men fell into the river; however, family members have rejected these theories. They have urged Bahamian officials not to sweep the matter under the carpet.
John’s father, Randolph John, previously told this newspaper he does not accept the autopsy results. He added that if the men indeed drowned, it meant that they were “incapacitated” before being tossed in the river.
When asked if the government has received the toxicology report, Mr Henfield replied: “Not yet. Not yet.”
“That’s something that the investigation will look at,” he added. “Toxicology reports, from my mind, and from the doctors that I’ve spoken to in the Cabinet, normally takes quite some time. I don’t know where we are with it in the process and I hope I’m not misspeaking, but I’m not aware that we’ve received it as yet.”
On August 9, John’s mother Cathleen Rahming praised the probe in an interview with The Tribune.
She also said her family did not receive the outcome of the toxicology report from Italian authorities.
“What we requested of them, I don’t think it was delivered,” Mrs Rahming said at the time. “And I think that may have been one of the reasons why we had to take this route. We got no answers, in other words.”
Mr Henfield yesterday underscored the importance of this investigation to the Minnis administration.
“This is a very important matter to the government and to the people of the Bahamas,” he said. “Here we had two very bright young Bahamian men: Blair, a PhD candidate who eventually was posthumously awarded his doctorate.
“Ramsey, of course, a young, bright, upcoming foreign service officer on study leave, seeking to further establish his career. Very bright hope for the future in the ministry.
“And then they’re cut down in an untimely fashion. And so it’s a matter that we thought bore enough weight. And despite who they are, they’re Bahamians. Despite what their accomplishments might have been and despite what their future sons may have been, they’re Bahamian sons and we want to do all that we can to determine what really happened.”
Ramsey, a foreign service officer on study leave in Vienna, was reportedly in Turin on a break. He and his friend, John, were staying at a bed and breakfast at Via la Loggia 2 in Turin.
John, a Saint Mary’s University graduate student, was there to attend a psychology conference. Both men attended the same high school, Saint Augustine’s College in New Providence.