By Ed Fields
Downtown Nassau Partnership
The US State Department issues annual advisories for countries around the world, which our local media has on their annual calendar as a headline story for years. So let’s kill the story. Not by asking them not to report on it, but by eradicating the cause.
There are five concerns that the US has as it relates to crime. Murders, Armed Robberies, Sexual Assaults, the FISH FRY and Jet Skis.
1 There is no problem when it comes to visitors being murdered. The amount of visitors fatalities over the last 40 years is statistically negligible and while we would wish for no resident or visitor to be fall into that category, it is important that we highlight that the loss of life of a visitor due to murder is statistically nonexistent. Therefore, at the end of the year when we do our year in review lets highlight that.
2 Armed Robberies: Though again statistically insignificant, but traumatic for victims, the police department can easily see where these types of incidents are happening and private security and policing measures (CCTV, regular Patrols, etc) should be put in place to prevent them from being repeated. Visitors should also be advised not to go off the beaten path unless in groups and to take precautions as they would anywhere else.
3 Sexual Assaults: The reports that I have seen indicates that sexual assaults occur (through no fault of the victim) as crimes of opportunity. Women should avoid taking rides from non-licenced public transportation providers; NEVER accept a ride on Jet Ski, and to NEVER go into a hotel room with a stranger whether it is a resident or visitor. STRANGER DANGER is the protocol that should be employed.
It would also be advisable to have all rapes be dealt with by a specially trained unit, so that sensitivity to the victim is exercised diligently
4 Jet Skis: This industry is simply not being controlled as it should and can be. All this is required is the following; both as it relates to safety and the ELIMINATION of sexual assault. There are two major areas where Jet Ski Operators ply their services. Paradise Island and Cable Beach. The Port Department, Marine Police and/or the Royal Bahamas Defence Force should have the following protocol in place.
a. Buoys are placed in sight of the shore at both locations, restricting where visitors can venture on watercraft.
b. At each of the locations mentioned, Law enforcement should be stationed and have jet skis that can be deployed to bring back anyone that goes outside the buoys, unless it is the operator himself. Operators can be made to wear a specially issued life vest. Allowing anyone else to wear the vest would warrant revocation of his or her operator’s licence.
c. No operator is to leave the buoyed area with a passenger unless it is another operator. No guest can EVER leave the area with the operator. If this is breached the operator’s licence would be revoked.
Not only would this protocol work to reduce to zero instances of sexual assault, but also it would indicate to the U.S. that we are serious about solving the problem. To date we can’t say that we have made the effort or to be consistent with the effort.
Any attempt to dispel the financial viability of these measures should be measured against what we stand to lose by not taking them.