The Fish Fry at Arawak Cay.
By RIEL MAJOR
IN the wake of the US Department of State releasing a travel advisory on Monday, National Security Minister Marvin Dames yesterday highlighted the decline of crime in The Bahamas.
Mr Dames told reporters outside of the House of Assembly that the 2018 crime statistics were the best The Bahamas has seen in more than a decade and insisted numbers continue to trend down this year.
Mr Dames said: “Every country has the right to issue an advisory. A country issues an advisory based on whatever they feel that their citizens ought to know.
“We would have crunched some numbers during 2018 and from the numbers we would have crunched of matters reported to the police… Any crime against a visitor is one too many but we feel like those numbers can stack up against any country almost anywhere the world-over.
“We will continue to work with countries from around the world to see how we work together to collectively focus on the things we need to focus on to ensure that we meet a point where we’re all happy.”
He continued: “‘Are we at a place where we’re happy?’ No we are never happy because there is a lot more that we can do and we are doing it but it is a process. As I said before we did not get here over night.
“…These things have manifested itself over decades so it’ll take some time for us to address them in a very effective manner so Bahamians and visitors alike can feel safe to move about this country whenever and wherever they choose. I am pleased to say this we are headed in the right direction.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a press statement on the advisory yesterday, saying the warnings from the US to its citizens were in line with recommendations the Bahamas gives to its citizens travelling abroad.
“The government of The Bahamas takes all recommendations to travellers to any destination very seriously, not only to ensure their safety and security, but to ensure their enjoyment of wonderful, meaningful, fun-filled and memorable experiences in The Bahamas,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ statement.
The statement noted law enforcement has made strides in the fight against crime, with a reduction is serious crimes like murders, armed robbery and shop breaking.
“There has been and continues to be collaboration between the Ministries of Tourism and Aviation and Transport and Local Government with the Port Department to address needed changes in regulation and enforcement to ensure safe and responsible operation of commercial recreational water sport and excursion tour companies.”
The US Department of State issued a “Level Two: Exercise Increased Caution” alert on Monday which warned US citizens that violent crime such as burglaries, armed robberies, and sexual assault were common in tourist areas in New Providence. The alert noted the vast majority of crimes occurred in the capital and Grand Bahama, but added the Family Islands were not crime-free.
As in previous crime warnings, the alert also prohibited US government personnel from visiting the Sand Trap area in Nassau due to crime and criticised activities involving commercial recreational watercraft, including water tours, stating that they were not consistently regulated.
Visitors were also urged to exercise caution in the areas of Over-the-Hill and the Fish Fry at Arawak Cay.