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'Gun Epidemic Closely Tied To Drugs Trade'

Minister of National Security Marvin Dames.

Minister of National Security Marvin Dames.

By Khrisna Russell

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

OF THE 762 murders in the country since 2012, 629 of these have been as a result of gun violence, National Security Minister Marvin Dames revealed yesterday. So far this year, he said, there have been 31 murders, but 87 percent of these or 27 involved firearms. Between 2012 and 2018, approximately 602 or 82.4 percent of the 731 homicides involved guns, he also said.

Together, the numbers paint a picture of what the minister called a “gun epidemic” intertwined with challenges authorities face with the transshipment of drugs. “The Bahamas does not manufacture guns either, however, the gun epidemic is closely tied to the transshipment of drugs,” Mr Dames told Parliament yesterday as he made a push for members to accept and pass the National Crime Intelligence Agency Bill 2019. “Further, more often, than not, small arms weapons greatly affect our incidences of homicides on our streets. Between 2012 and 2018, approximately 602 or 82.4 percent of the 731 homicides involved firearms.

“Concurrently, of the 31 murders for this year, approximately 27 or 87 percent involved firearms. Between 2013 and April 2019 of this year, approximately 1,486 pistols; 316 shotguns; 234 revolvers; 148 riffles; 84 imitation guns; and 18 prohibited weapons inclusive of flare guns, BB guns and machine guns were recovered by law enforcement.”

When it comes to drugs, Mr Dames said the country’s geographical location has plagued its national security. “The Bahamas does not grow coca plants, which are used to make the highly addictive stimulant known as cocaine.

“Between 2012 and 2018, approximately 1,424.4 pounds of cocaine and 6,856.4 pounds of marijuana were seized. There were an average of 1,432.3 arrests made for all types of drugs including ecstasy tablets, powder cocaine, liquid cocaine, marijuana and marijuana plants.

“Of the total arrests, there was an average of 1,029 cases which resulted in 1,179 persons being prosecuted. It should be noted that while Bahamian nationals made up the largest group for persons arrested for drugs, persons from as far away as Turkey were involved in the transshipment of drugs in The Bahamas. This further highlights the need for the gathering of intelligence, as crimes are now transnational in nature.”

Mr Dames said these facts help frame the question regarding whether interrelated domestic and transnational issues of national security are worth protecting. “The practical and patriotic answer is, ‘yes’. In context then, what does protecting a nation’s national security mean and how do we do it? Those small group of individuals, whether in The Bahamas or not, who wish to exploit our country and its people will naturally organise themselves and make plans covertly, therefore, law enforcement has to use covert means to expose them.

“With the proper legal authority, we have to collect intelligence so as to make known their intentions. Then the information collected has to be analysed and assessed thereby using the results of the findings to counter any potential harm to citizens and/or our nation’s national security.”

Comments

John 10 months, 2 weeks ago

It is definitely not normal for criminals or even gangs to want to possess or even tote AK-47 assault rifles. This is something very new and very strange to the Bahamas. And even in most police raids these weapons are hardly discovered. Criminals prefer small , handy weapons that are easily concealed and easy to discard. So where are these , assault weapons coming from and how are they getting into the country? Even with thousands of licensed shot guns around, these weapons are hardly ever used in the commission of a crime. The gun culture was something that started in the 1980&s and was promoted through movies, tap music and video games, especially among Black populations throughout the world. Every one feels they have to have a gun to protect themselves against the boogeymen. And usually the boogie man ends up being a friend a schoolmate or a rival gang member who was like a brother to you, except he joined a different gang. And according to a leader of a famous organization, their members are not allowed to carry weapons or even keep them in their homes for protection unless there was s some unusual circumstance. ‘Because once you arm yourself with a weapon, your next intention is to use it. And in the home it will usually be some friend or family member that gets shot and killed. And in Britain, where guns are more difficult to get, stabbings of young, black male has reached epidemic levels. Just like shootings iof young, Black men in The Bahamas and The Caribbean. Why the propensity for young Black men to kill each other? And the aids (weapons) so readily accessible. Sources say a gun on the street costs a few hundred dollars. And you don’t really need to buy one, you can rent them be or hire a hit man for a few hundred more. ‘ Cain where is thy brother? Are you your brothers keeper or have you spilled his blood on the earth and caused the soul to be cursed and with t cannot bring forth any fruit? Do you have the mark of Cain on your forehead?

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John 10 months, 2 weeks ago

So what is Marvin Dames proposed strategy to combat the gun culture? Join the police force and kill without question?

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