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Dames Insists Crime Figures For Abaco Are ‘Quite Correct’

NATIONAL Security Minister Marvin Dames.

NATIONAL Security Minister Marvin Dames.

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net 

NATIONAL Security Minister Marvin Dames yesterday defended the police crime statistics for Abaco, insisting the crime decline cited by Police Commissioner Paul Rolle “is quite correct”.

His comments come after the police chief told a local daily earlier this month that crime on the island had decreased by 39 percent compared with last year’s statistics.

The statistics were revealed amid heightened calls for more officers to be deployed to Abaco as looting and theft continue to persist on the island, hindering the rebuilding efforts there more than a year after Hurricane Dorian hit.

“Prior to Dorian, there were 48 police officers on the island and some 30 police reservists, many of whom were inactive,” the commissioner told The Nassau Guardian.

“Today we have 67 police officers on the island of Abaco – 45 percent more than prior to the storm. The police force took all of the available rental accommodations that they were willing to rent to us.

“So, while there is this great focus on the dysfunction of the police and the fake rise in crime, I believe that this is a great time for all concerned to ensure that the police have adequate living accommodation.”

Many Abaco residents have since criticised the Commissioner’s remarks, branding the statistics as “false”, “misleading” and not an actual representation of what’s happening on the ground.

Some observers have even noted incidents of theft and housebreaking to be an almost daily occurrence for the island and its surrounding cays.

On Sunday an Abaco resident posted footage on social media of two unknown men entering his property, as he appealed for public assistance to identify the individuals.

“It’s rampant. Theft is rampant here. It’s absolutely an epidemic,” the island’s Chamber of Commerce president, Ken Hutton told Tribune Business last week.

“You have to literally tie everything down in the night and hope it is there in the morning. My businesses are still getting broken into on a regular basis… It’s not that crime is down; it’s that people have lost faith in the system.”

However, yesterday Mr Dames defended the statistics, suggesting the decline does not mean officials believe crime is entirely absent on the island.

“Again, crime could be down and you could still have an issue,” he told reporters ahead of yesterday’s Cabinet meeting. “Policing is more than numbers you know. There are quality of life issues.

“Abaco and essentially to the same extent Grand Bahama that were impacted by Dorian, there are a number of other issues too and oftentimes, the police are put at the front and centre of those and so the commissioner is quite correct from a statistical standpoint, crime is down.”

He added: “But again, it’s the quality of life issues and it’s the feeling of being safe and when you are in such an environment where infrastructure would’ve been totally impacted, and the normal cause of life would’ve been disturbed significantly.

“That brings added pressure to this overall situation so as in our discussions, it’s a matter of keeping the communication lines open with law enforcement and whenever someone is experiencing an issue that they know exactly where to challenge that and how to get results.

“And so, it’s more than just focusing on a number and the commissioner understands that fully right as I said before, police is more than numbers.”

On Sunday, Mr Dames, Mr Rolle and Defense Force Commodore Raymond King along with other officials travelled to Abaco to address concerns by islanders in regard to crime and other issues.

Yesterday, the minister told reporters that the trip was “a very productive one.” He added that officials have been revising its strategies to ensure that the public is safe.

“We have a good number of officers on Grand Bahama, police and defence force and the commissioner and the commodore are looking at their strategies and looking on how they can improve on it,” he said.

“Sometimes it’s more than manpower, sometimes it’s more than that. In Abaco, for example, there was a lot of destruction and so it’s managing within a disaster as is often the case. You have to adjust from time to time and that’s what is currently being done.”

Asked if the new strategies will address the theft concerns of Abaco residents, the minister replied: “Listen, this is the normal course of doing business and so I don’t want to continue to beat down on that. The police and the defence force have been revising their strategies and not changing their strategies, making adjustments where necessary.”

Comments

DDK 1 week, 3 days ago

Someone needs to tell Dames what his officers do all day upstairs in their new home in The People's chillingly air-conditioned Government Complex in Marsh Harbour. They ain't walking the beat, that's for sure🤣😂🤣

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DDK 1 week, 3 days ago

The rise in crime is NOT fake like some people masquerading as caring and being capable of their stupidly appointed positions. The 2022 election cannot come soon enough, if only to rid us of this huge basket of deplorables, to borrow an apt description (in this case) from a politician from across the seas. How can we have such a deplorable incompetent in charge of national security, mr. incompetent authority??

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DDK 1 week, 3 days ago

This so-called national security person has conveniently "forgotten" the huge role played by his so-called defense force in the mammoth looting of Abaco homes and businesses, immediately prior to, and immediately following, Dorian's wrath, including that of relief supplies as they came into the accessible air and sea ports. SICKENING does not begin to describe it.

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DWW 1 week, 3 days ago

We don't know that the items were stolen. Perhaps they were merely helping the evacuating residents get their belongings and generators and furniture shipped to Nassau. i mean, i'm just saying they might have been shipping generators to Nassau with nothing but good intentions. No one can dispute that there were portable gasoline generators being shipped to Nassau by the pallet load during the months of September, October 2019

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birdiestrachan 1 week, 3 days ago

The Lady in Abaco said on one street the police were arresting people who broke the curfew., on the other street thieves, was stealing lumber from a lumber company.

That is all very funny. one has to laugh.

They say when you dumb you are dangerous and this Dumbness is deep in the FNM Government.

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avidreader 1 week, 3 days ago

Last week it was apparent that the phone number for the police office in the government complex was missing from the sign at the foot of the staircase leading up to their office. I remember that the number was clearly written on the sign at some time in the past.

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lovingbahamas 1 week, 3 days ago

Just another case of our government being totally out of touch with reality and not listening to the constituents living in Abaco. The excuse of not having rental accommodations is absurd when you see a fleet of motor homes and trailers by the government complex in MH. The number of police officers on island is inconsequential if they never patrol the streets. In Treasure Cay there has literally been no number to call the police since Dorian. How are you supposed to report a robbery if there is no way to phone them and no police present. This minister is in a “cover your a**” mode. Just like everyone in the government. Can’t wait for the next election to boot these novices out!

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TalRussell 1 week, 3 days ago

A Nassau neighbor of a friend last year said he had called the constabulary to report two individuals attempting to break into his garage, and they told him that they had an officer but no car and that he'd have drive to the station pick officer up.

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longgone 1 week, 3 days ago

Tell the Cop to call a cab!!

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DWW 1 week, 3 days ago

Lip service. Watch N & S Abaco go independent this go around. i wouldn't be surprised if Long Island and Lutra follow suit.

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The_Oracle 1 week, 2 days ago

Crime down 39% but population down by 70%........ Maths is obviously not his strong suit. Irrespective of that, what is the point of reporting crime? Is there ever a satisfactory resolution for the victim? Is stolen property ever compensated for? Recovered?

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H 1 week ago

Telling the truth would be like admitting they are not doing their jobs properly so its always going to be lies from our national leaders. You have to wonder how they sleep at night. And where is all the donated funds that was supposed to help ABACO's Dorian victims?

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