Turnquest: Most violent crime drug-related
Random acts of violence are”more worrisome”to the police at the moment than gang or drug-related violence, Minister of National Security Tommy Turnquest contended yesterday, adding that much of the violent crimes are being committed by people involved in the drug trade and individuals out on bail.
Turnquest said the criminal enterprises that are complicit in many of the murders in the country are”not the most worrying”part of the crime problem in The Bahamas, though they cause the”vast majority”of the homicides in The Bahamas.
“When you look at what’s causing it and who is causing it, you know that these are not random homicides,”said Turnquest.
“And these are not instances that the police can resolve by themselves and nothing a social program can resolve.
“These are hardened criminals who need to be behind bars, and so that’s really the fundamental issue.”
While he agrees that there is a deep-seated social problem in The Bahamas that is also at the root of the crime epidemic that elevates the number of murder victims year-over-year, he said the drug trade plays a pivotal role in the high year-end murder rate.
The murder rate hit 88 over the weekend, already surpassing the previous year’s murder count.
“Yes the actual numbers have exceeded previous years and that is a cause for concern,”said Turnquest.
“The homicides are, in essence, members of criminal enterprises attacking one another, largely over the drug trade.
“And there are far too many criminals who are out on bail committing these offenses.”
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, while a guest on the Star 106.5 FM radio talk show’Jeffrey’, said the government is still mulling changes to the Bail Act that could curb the number of individuals released on bail-who also commit violent crimes.
Turnquest said previous suggested changes to the act were thought to be unconstitutional.
According to him, the focus of police has therefore been more on protecting the general public from random acts of violence, such as armed robbery and assault and not on the warring drug factions that often relate to those individuals out on bail.
“When we look at other crimes, where we see robberies and crimes against other persons(random crimes), that is more worrisome because that is criminals preying on unsuspecting victims,”he said.”And that’s where our focus really has been.”
Turnquest said he is satisfied that the police are doing a good job and that they have some strategies in place that they will continue.
Yesterday was the first time Turnquest addressed the press since the riot in Bain Town, as he was away on official business last week.
He described the incident as a”push-back”against the police and a disturbance, still shying away from the term riot and not wanting to get”caught up in semantics”.
According to him, the police are dealing with”very trying”circumstances when it comes to hardened criminals in some areas of Nassau who have no regard for the law or the police.