Fernander: ‘Family island courier services easy target for gun import’


Tribune Staff Reporter


AFTER Police Commissioner Clayton Fernander highlighted gun trafficking has now trickled into the Family Islands as a result of people abusing courier services, local courier businesses said they are open to help preventing weapons from being brought into the country.

Following shooting incidents over the Easter Holiday weekend, Commissioner Fernander said there is a lingering question on how firearms continue to enter the country. He spoke to reporters during a press conference at the Paul Farquharson Conference Centre at police headquarters. He said The Bahamas is still working with the United States to tackle gun trafficking.

However, courier businesses are a challenge for police as guns are sometimes smuggled through shipping services. Commissioner Fernander noted that “about two weeks ago” a “package” came to the Berry Islands.

“We know now that the Family Islands are being targeted. Easy target with weapons coming in. And eventually comes down into New Providence the big city through couriers. We are dealing with that in terms of putting a plan of action in place. We are working jointly as well with our Customs Department. We are getting some excellent results,” he said.

One of the owners of CUBIX, Gia Knowles, said since being operational for six years their shipping company has not experienced guns being trafficked in their packages. She said her shipping company diligently checks every single package before it leaves the United States to make sure it’s safe and properly invoiced.

“When I see reports and things like that of these things getting in, I always think that there’s someone who knows what’s going on and is just trying to get away with the law versus not following and that in hand makes it bad for all of us even the ones who are following the law,” Ms Knowles said.

She added she hopes the issue of gun trafficking can be put to an end to ensure the safety of Bahamians in general.

Asked if she believed courier businesses were being scapegoated, Ms Knowles said she couldn’t necessarily say. She noted it can be a situation where a courier service is voluntarily involved in bad business or a courier service could fall victim to a deceitful client who was involved in illegal activities.

Christiana Green, manager of Ship Coast to Coast, also said their company has never experienced gun trafficking either.

Commissioner Fernander during the press conference said police were putting a plan into action regarding gun trafficking through courier services. It is unclear what the plan will entail.

Ms Green questioned what additional measures could be added as the Customs Department is responsible for thoroughly inspecting packages. However, she said, if officials can create additional procedures to prevent and minimise the smuggling of weapons it would be good for all businesses.


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