Minister of National Security the Hon. Marvin Dames said, on June 17, 2018, that the recent string of murders over the past two weeks, including that morning’s homicide, must be very alarming to the Bahamian public, and rightfully so. “The loss of any human life is a tragic and heartbreaking experience particular for family members and, at this time, I would like to extend my condolences and that of the Bahamas Government to families of all victims of violence in this country,” Minister Dames said, during a press conference at the Paul Farquharson Conference Centre, Police Headquarters. “Rest assured that the Royal Bahamas Police Force, and all law enforcement agencies, has the full support of the Ministry of National Security and by extension the Government of The Bahamas in providing necessary human capital and resources in the fight against crime fight.” Minister Dames pointed out that, as crime is a fluid phenomenon and much work is needed in the fight, law enforcement officials were making consistent inroads to reduce this menacing occurrence. To date for 2018, he noted, there were 51 homicides reported which for the same period the previous year was 70 reported homicides – which reflected a 27.1 percent decrease. “Although overall crime and murders are down we cannot take comfort in the fact that people are still losing their lives,” he said. “We cannot sit back while murders occur as one life is one too many.
Minister Dames added that the fight against crime and violence has to and will continue to be approached holistically. “As the National Security Minister I am fully committed to providing the necessary legislative and policy framework which will allow our respective law enforcement agencies to improve upon their tactical approaches as we address crime within this 21st century,” he said. “A key to the holistic approach to combating crime is the networking of all law enforcement agencies — locally and internationally. “In fact, over the past week, The Bahamas is hosting Tradewinds 2018, which has brought together regional CARICOM and international law enforcement agencies so as to devise transnational strategies that will have a direct and indirect impact on The Bahamas.” Minister Dames pointed out that The Bahamas does not manufacture guns or produce illicit drugs on a large scale, but the violence that had erupted over the past two weeks was directly linked to those illicit trades. He noted that the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF), which was the first line of defense in the detection, deterrence, and prevention of crime and violence was at that time undergoing organizational structural changes and all should begin to see the positive impact, in the near future. “The recently published Manpower Audit noted that training of officers is too basic and does not meet 21st century standards in order to tackle crime trends in the country,” he noted. “According to the 2011 study by Bradford entitled ‘Police Numbers and Crime Rates: A Rapid Evidence Review’, for every 100 officers recruited and deployed there should be a three percent decrease in crime statistics. Beginning with the recruitment of 105 recruits entering the Force, we will begin to employ some of the organizational strategies to remedy this vexing problem.”
Minister Dames revealed that he met with the Commissioner of Police and his Senior Command, and Commodore of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and his Senior Command earlier that afternoon to address the recent increase in homicides and to get their strategic input moving forward. “I am pleased and confident that the strategies articulated will address the current problems we face and there will be no let-up,” he stated. “The new strategy calls for the blanketing of New Providence which is increasing visibility, intensifying efforts against prolific offenders and continuing an all-out presence of hot spot areas with the intent to dismantle gangs and drug operations in particular. “An investigative and intelligence component to bring closure to these most recent matters is also a part of the overall strategy,” Minister Dames added. “I am pleased to say that the police have made a tremendous amount of inroads in these most recent matters and will continue to work to bring them all to closure.” Minister Dames issued a stern warning to parents of young men roaming Bahamian streets. He said: “We cannot have a society where young men are roaming our streets and taking out lives of hard working Bahamians. This will not be tolerated. We will use every tool at our disposal under the law of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, to ensure that every hardworking and law-abiding Bahamian is kept safe.” “If you choose to take on law enforcement with a firearm then there are consequences,” he added. “The police without question will abide by the law, but one thing the police will not allow is for innocent people to fall victim at the hands of gun-toting thugs.”