By EARYEL BOWLEG
SOME Hope Town second homeowners are reconsidering their investments amid fears over burglaries and a decline in police presence.
The manager of Elbow Cay Properties, Hilary Thompson, who oversees 60 properties, told The Tribune: “It’s not like the same place it used to be where you didn’t have to worry about theft. It’s already making some homeowners question how much they want to put back into getting their house back up to rent. We have a homeowners chat so I’ve heard the homeowners go back and forth proposing to get security cameras, proposing to take matters into their own hands.
“We just had a homeowner that had three small gas generators taken from his house but we have no one to report it to so he has all the information that he needed to report it but unfortunately I contacted the police officer in Marsh Harbour, he sent me to somebody else and it was kind of, it was just dropped. There’s just no presence on the island. Normally you’ll file a police report and they would come and check it out, we just don’t have any of that. These generators, the homeowner is still there and we don’t know what the next step is.”
Chief Superintendent Wendell Smith said Hurricane Dorian destroyed Hope Town’s police station. He said since then officers have been sent to the area on a rotational basis. He insisted complaints made by residents are addressed in a timely manner when brought to the attention of police.
Long-time resident Junior Mernard, however, said he is concerned about security, noting Hope Town has a huge second home owner market that drives the island’s economy in direct and indirect ways.
“The whole life investment of these people is basically in the hands of property managers and caretakers that can only do so much and their homes are being burglarised and expensive items are being taken away from their houses,” he said.
Mr Mernard said he reached out to a top Ministry of National Security official on July 21 but has received no response.
“In one instance, we actually had a young man caught with stolen property in his possession which was a portable generator and the next day he was back on the island,” he claimed.
Chief Superintendent Smith said: “If somebody is taken in custody for questioning for any offence and we have no grounds to charge that person based on the information that we have that person is released. We can only hold a person during the time of our investigation. It does not mean that even if someone is taken into custody for question and released. If additional information comes in that merits that person arrested again and put before the court that happens.”