By JADE RUSSELL
NATIONAL Security Minister Wayne Munroe said there was a police-involved shooting in Turks and Caicos which has left one Bahamian man dead, noting the incident involved members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force who were assisting the island.
According to the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force, the incident occurred on Wednesday around 11am.
TCI Commissioner of Police Trevor Botting gave an update on the police-involved shooting.
“At around 11am today (November 23) a police operation was carried out in the Dock Yard area on Providenciales. During this operation, a group of men, who were believed to be carrying firearms, were challenged by police officers.”
“One of the men, who I am now naming as Brandon Rahming, was shot by police officers and was pronounced dead at the scene of the incident in Dock Yard.
“Two non-police issued firearms were recovered at the scene of the shooting. During the same incident, another man was arrested for firearms and drug offences, and he remains in police custody,” a Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force statement said.
Commissioner Botting added: “As is routine in these types of incidents. I will be inviting an independent review of the circumstances of the discharge of firearms by police officers during this morning’s incident from a force within the region. I expect this to begin in the next few days.”
Mr Munroe on Wednesday told reporters there was a police-involved shooting in TCI which left Brandon Leonardo Rahming dead.
He identified the victim as being either a Bahamian citizen or of Bahamian descent.
“I’ve been briefed, and you can get a full briefing from the commissioner at the appropriate time that the part of the police contingent in the Turks and Caicos Islands was involved in a fatal shooting of a suspect wanted for a number of homicides in the Turks and Caicos. I’m advised that the individual is either a Bahamian citizen or descended from The Bahamas, Brandon Rahming.”
Mr Munroe said the victim’s address at one point was Grand Bahama, but he was also advised the victim was a resident of New Providence.
“So, the information is there was a police-involved fatality in the Turks and Caicos involving members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force who are down there assisting officers of the Royal Turks and Caicos Island Police.”
In October, the Ministry of National Security sent 20 Royal Bahamas Police Force officers to assist TCI in its rise of crime.
In a statement Mr Munroe said of the joint effort: “The Ministry of National Security and its regional partners recognised the emerging national security threats developing across borders throughout the Caribbean. However, the government of The Bahamas remains resolved in our strategic approach to mitigating external factors influencing our ongoing challenge domestically.
“The government of Turks and Caicos remains a critical partner in ensuring our people’s shared safety and well-being. We are confident that with these joint security missions between both countries, we can deliver an aggressive and robust counter-offensive against organised crimes impacting both The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos.”
However, there was some backlash to the announcement with some observers asking why the government would send police officers abroad while The Bahamas is grappling with a rise in murders and other violent crimes.
In October, Mr Munroe said of the criticism: “What’s the criticism? Does anybody know what they are going there to do? So, how can you criticise something if you don’t have a clue what their mission is?
“We have sent out a statement to show that it is a joint exercise, common sense would tell you that it’s something that is in the Bahamian national interest. If anybody believes that the Royal Bahamas Police Force shouldn’t act in the interest of The Bahamas, then that criticism is very easily answered,” he added.
Mr Munroe explained that the government would not “entertain” criticism that is not evidenced, or fact-based, as the operation’s details will not be disclosed due to the national security interests of both nations.