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Editorial: We Must Stop The Flow Of Automatic Weapons

In an instant, a celebration turned into horror. A birthday party for a pregnant woman in Montel Heights became the target of a mass shooting. Video clips circulated online showed how panic suddenly struck as people scrambled for cover.

Fifteen people were shot, ten of them female and four of them children. A ten-year-old was among those injured. Three more people were hurt with non-gunshot injuries.

It’s a miracle that no one was killed. Sadly, it was far more likely that such an attack could take place given the number of guns in circulation. More than that, while the investigation is still in its early stages, we fear for the type of gun that might have been used in the incident.

Last year, also in Montel Heights, another mass shooting injured five people, including a child, again at a party. In April, five people were shot with an automatic weapon in the Montagu Beach area.

Again in April, six people were injured in a drive-by shooting in Kemp Road as they stood outside a nightclub. The list goes on.

National Security Minister Marvin Dames sounded the warning alarm back in February. He said that assault rifles were the weapon of choice now.

“You know, people want assault rifles now. So one time you go to shoot, you fire and you hit one person. You have assault rifles now, you fire, you ain’t hitting one person, you hitting about two or three,” he said.

That’s far too dangerous a slope to go down, and we applaud every effort by the police in their battle against such attacks.

It has to start before responding to the scene, of course. We must find these weapons and stop them from getting into our country.

If that means police having to conduct more searches, so be it. If that means more road blocks of areas at risk, so be it. If that means thorough examination of imports, so be it. These guns are bigger than handguns too so should be easier to find.

And as a community we should know it doesn’t start with the police. If we know of someone with such a weapon, then it is for no good. We should tell the police so we can help them weed them off the streets.

If you know of someone with such a weapon and don’t report it – and it ends up being used in a crime – you are partly to blame. You could have stopped a shooting. You could have stopped a murder. Act before it gets too late and tell the police.

These types of weapons should never be acceptable in our communities. We must never let this type of attack become commonplace.

A devoted public servant

Brent Symonette has a long history of public service to the country.

As he steps aside from his post, we welcome that service that he has given – and will no doubt continue to give for his constituents in St Anne’s.

It is difficult in our country for successful businessmen to wear the hat of both private company boss and public servant as MP, and we thank him for seeking to serve at a time when he could easily have sat back and lived off the fruits of his business success.

At the same time, however, while we do not know the exact reasons for his departure, questions had certainly been raised about Mr Symonette – in one part over his part ownership of the Town Centre Mall where the new post office had relocated, and also about his connections to Bahamas Hot Mix and any contracts it had been awarded or was vying for.

Again, that can be difficult in our country. The reason that Hot Mix gets so many contracts is in part because there are few companies in The Bahamas of the size and reputation to rival them.

His departure eases that perception – but also removes from the Cabinet a keen business mind that is an asset to the country.

His successor, Elsworth Johnson, will have big shoes to fill. We wish him luck.

Comments

Porcupine 2 weeks, 1 day ago

Editor, you state, "We must find these weapons and stop them from getting into our country." During prohibition, it was probably said that, "we must find this devil's brew and stop it from coming into our country". Both statements are silly from the start. Stopping the guns coming into this country is an impossibility. As a boat owner who has sailed from the US to The Bahamas well over 100 times, and never, ever been boarded, alone shows how silly your statement is. The problem is clear. It is not easy. It is not quick. But, it is the only one that will work. We need to begin to care for our youth, such that growing up with no respect for human life cannot exist. This, is the crux of the problem. We have raised a generation, whereby too many have lost their respect for life. They have no job, no security, no electrical current, no schooling, no parental guidance, and/or parents who are not qualified to guide anyone, let alone themselves. We have, as a society, offered little to no hope for those who choose to remain in The Bahamas. Yeah, yeah, it is up to the individual. But, we have not provided most of our people with the resources to live in dignity. We, have not provided the true leadership needed to become productive, law abiding, loving citizens.
The crumbling of the social structure, in such short time as one or two generations is no accident. Stopping the flow of guns will do nothing to stem the violence. Violence is resorted to because of the lack of other means to feel needed, appreciated, valued. There seems to be no real national institution which has dealt with this. Not the family, not the churches, nor the government. This is a collective failure for which we are all paying.

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ThisIsOurs 2 weeks, 1 day ago

The birthday party wasnt the target. Those were just innocent people in the path of the gunfire. The target was a man who was walking in the street passing the house. 14 innocent bystanders having nothing to do with gang anything, and not in the company of gang members, were shot.

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TheMadHatter 2 weeks, 1 day ago

A pregnant woman? We still have them in this economy? Muddo.

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joeblow 2 weeks, 1 day ago

Stem the flow of automatic weapons, when the Defence force can't stop boatloads of illegal immigrants sailing undetected from Haiti to Abaco or Nassau? Really?

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John 2 weeks ago

Brent symonette was doing the country no favors when he claimed to be doing the country public service. On every occasion it became patently clear he was lining his pockets and paying himself well for whatever service he did. He came from a rum running family and he has proven time and time again how capable he is of operating outside the laws of the country and benefiting financially and substantially from it. And even though he has resigned, he still has $257 million worth of government contracts to be paid with the people’s money. The cabinet should also be held accountable.

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John 2 weeks ago

The flow of automatic assault weapons came about as a result of the US’s FAST and FURIOUS operations where hundreds of these weapons went missing. And around that very same time they started to show up on the streets in The Bahamas, Jamaica Cuba and in Mexico. Every diplomatic pouch does not carry diplomacy and, like other countries, the Bahamas must start gathering intelligence on diplomats operating in this country and deal seriously with any found operating outside our laws. Not because one is a diplomat from another country means his intentions are pure.

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birdiestrachan 2 weeks ago

Brent Syhamonette resigned after he and his family had all of the government contracts he wanted. not one day before. He and his have become richer under the FNM Government.

Stop the flow of automatic weapons if it has been written and said once it has been written and said a billion times.

NO Games. and his statement means nothing Zero, just plain crap. .

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John 2 weeks ago

Our leaders must adopt the policy of Donald Trump and attack a problem at its source. Find out where the guns coming from (we already know) and threaten that government with sanctions. I did say threaten them with .sanctions. Well maybe the government can get Donald Trump to threaten them

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proudloudandfnm 1 week, 6 days ago

Get Donald Trump to threaten the US with sanctions?

Huh?

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birdiestrachan 2 weeks ago

What has Brent Symonette done as a cabinet minister for the Bahamas That would make his shoes so big to full? Perhaps the Editorial page of the Tribune can point out what outstanding contributions he has made. What changes and what has he done to benefit the people of the Bahamas and its people,

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proudloudandfnm 1 week, 6 days ago

He's done more than most PLPs Birdie..... More than like 99.9% of the PLP....

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