Thursday, Jul 18, 2019
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Attack at Government House

The attack and murder of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force officer on guard at Government House is a national tragedy.

The outpouring of sympathy and concern for the family of deceased Petty Officer Philip Perpall and for his colleagues in the Royal Bahamas Defence Force are natural and appropriate as are calls for a review of security procedures in place at all government installations.

The commissioner of police has informed the public that the tragic incident is under active investigation, and at this early stage of the investigation it would be unwise for him to speculate on findings.

The political statement issued by the leader of the opposition on the matter is sadly another display of the lack of maturity among too many in positions of political leadership in our country. According to its leader, the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) demands immediate statements by the prime minister and other Cabinet ministers providing an explanation for what happened and on the implications of the attack for Government House. And he is asking that the minister of foreign affairs brief the world on this Bahamian tragedy.

Surely, statements and explanations on the substance of the investigation of the incident ought properly to come from those charged with responsibility for these matters and not from politicians – and that appears to be what is underway now.

The leadership of the PLP appears to be unaware that regardless to security protocols of the highest standards, breaches, sometimes with tragic results, occur periodically, as when a U.S. Army major and psychiatrist turned his weapon on his colleagues at Fort Hood, Texas in 2009. That incident resulted in the deaths of several and the injury of many more.

In 2014 an armed intruder made his way into the front door of the White House in Washington D.C. That incursion was followed by 2017 and 2018 incidents when intruders scaled the walls at the White House. And, lest we forget, Her Majesty the Queen awoke one day in 2016 to find an intruder sitting at the foot of her bed! Others have scaled the perimeter walls at the palace prior to and after that event.

Closer to home, let us not forget the allegation of shots being fired into the home of then Prime Minister Perry G. Christie in whose government both the leader of the opposition and the chairman of the PLP served.

Yes, Sunday morning’s horrible tragedy must result in a review of security protocol at Government House, but this must be a review by professionals and not an opportunity for more hot air from politicians.

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