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Christian Council wants gun amnesty

The Bahamas Christian Council (BCC) wants to lobby the government for a gun amnesty, said BCC President Delton Fernander yesterday.

Fernander’s comments follows the killing of six people in New Providence since Saturday.

“We are definitely concerned about the rise [of crime] and especially this bloody weekend that we had in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and the mixture of murders,” Fernander told The Nassau Guardian.

“It’s seemingly that some were robberies that went bad when persons didn’t have the finances that robbers want.

“They shot them, one in particular, in front of his children.

“Children leaving their homes are caught up in shootouts; shootings in barber shops where the general public is there; it is indeed instilling a fear of crime in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

“As the church, we are doing our very best to continue to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but also we are working with some of the community crime watch initiatives.

“…I think it’s to the point now that if we do not get involved as a society and we don’t say enough is enough, these [people] that are perpetrating these assassinations and killings in our society will continue to do it, with impunity.”

Fernander pointed to the gun amnesty that was implemented when Bishop Simeon Hall served as BCC president.

“We are going to talk to the state again,” Fernander said.

“There are some mothers who are going to go through their house and find some guns and they need safe places to turn these in.

“Some fathers who are going to go through their houses, or in their vehicles, and find weapons and they need safe places to turn these in.

“Or some people who are trying to change their lives who will bring weapons to pastors to turn over the proper authorities.

“So, the church remains open, remains that safe haven that things can be done and we can do our part and just effect some change in our society.”

Asked whether he believes a gun amnesty would be a solution to the increasing crime problem, Fernander said, “It’s a companion.

“…We’ve proven this as the church under my leadership.

“There have been weapons turned in to me and I’ve turned them over to the proper authorities.

“And, so, although we don’t get into the papers and take pictures, this is companion work that the church does that we are able to take weapons off the street.”

Around 10 a.m. on Saturday Delano Cartwright, 18, and Malik Cartwright, 19, were shot at a barber shop on Jerome Avenue, off Pyfrom Road.

Around 10 p.m. on Saturday, Wilton Alexander Brown, 48, a taxi driver, was shot and killed during a robbery, at his home off Cowpen Road.

On Monday, around 10 p.m. a man was shot dead on Step Street, Fox Hill.

A security guard at A.F. Adderley Junior High School was shot and killed around 4 a.m. on Tuesday.

The latest incident was a double shooting on Cox Street, Fox Hill.

Bernard Anestor, 41, died on the scene and the second man was taken to hospital where he was listed in critical condition.

The latest incidents pushed the murder count for 2018 to 48, according to police.

This time last year there were 69 murders.

Acting Commissioner of Police Emrick Seymour on Tuesday assured Bahamians that authorities will change their operational strategies in response to the spate of recent murders, and will continue to increase efforts behind the scenes to keep the pressure on criminals throughout The Bahamas.

Fernander insisted yesterday that Bahamians also have to step up and be active.

“I have personally been out to police headquarters and seen the activated squad that is on the road at night while we are sleeping, so I know that there is a tremendous police presence on the road,” he said.

“It is just this premonition and this thirst to kill that seemingly is alive and well in our society and so the only way to combat that is to have a 24/7 watch.

“And I am not talking about police on the streets on every corner standing guard where we have a police state; I am talking about if we see something, say something.

“Our society has to become more conscious, more, when I am coming home, hopefully my neighbours are looking out, or if they’ve seen a vehicle pass through the neighbourhood on their surveillance and you got the license plate number and it’s passed through three times, capture it, send it to the proper authorities, send it to your community watch.

“We’ve got to use the tools as a nation to combat this, or else we can sit back and then complain about what’s not going right.”

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