In his second national report for the year, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis touted his administration’s successes in crime and education but made no major announcements in those areas.
“After many years of increasing crime rates, our neighborhoods are getting safer and more secure,” said Minnis.
“We are safer and more secure because of our comprehensive approach to policing but we still have plenty work to do.
“We have a long way to go but we are making strides in the fight against crime.”
Minnis pointed to the reduction in serious crimes such as murder, armed robbery and shop breaking and attributed the decrease to increased police visibility and geo-referenced based monitoring for the strategic deployment of police officers.
He noted that last year, 100 newly appointed police officers were deployed throughout the agency to provide additional manpower and assist with the overall management of crime on New Providence.
“We expect approximately 130 new recruits to be trained this year; 100 for New Providence and 30 for Grand Bahama,” Minnis continued.
“This year we will purchase 90 new vehicles for the police force.
“We will be relentless in preventing and fighting crime.
“We will relentlessly track down those who do us harm.”
The prime minister further pointed to the government’s procurement of modern technology to aid in the war against crime.
This includes the installation of an additional 507 CCTV cameras throughout New Providence that would bring the total number of cameras to 750 on the island, as well as the signing of a $1.9 million contract with ShotSpotter Technology to provide 92 sensors that will be able to trace gunshots in various areas of New Providence.
He said the government is also reviewing other technologies such as body cams and dash cams for law enforcement officers.
“To better protect our borders and to reduce illegal migration, we will install a land-based radar in Inagua in the Southern Bahamas,” Minnis added.
“Our multi-layered security approach will also include drones and vessels.
“We will enhance our interception capabilities by decentralizing the dispatch of vessels in the Southern Bahamas.
“We will expand base facilities to accommodate drone deployment.
“We are also improving our operational guidance capacity by engaging regional intelligence networks, inclusive of the United States of America, the Republic of Cuba, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.”
Minnis once again pointed to the government’s $2.6 million scholarship program at the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute and its pledge to provide free tuition to qualifying students to attend the University of The Bahamas. He said more information will be forthcoming on the latter.
“We must reform, transform, and improve every stage of learning; preschool, primary school, junior and senior high, as well as BTVI, the University of the Bahamas, and other education and training agencies,” Minnis said.
“We have to think big, and to act boldly to secure our future.”
He pointed to the Bahamas Early Start Project, the Universal Pre-Primary Education Initiative, the Lower Primary School Literacy effort, and the preschool tablet program, all which are designed to address early childhood education and development.
Lastly, the prime minister alluded to the government’s initiative to provide WiFi and internet connectivity in schools throughout the country.
Minnis said in his next national report, he will address other areas such as healthcare, the environment, energy reform, modernization, and various infrastructure projects.
Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications