Govt spent nearly $500 mil. to fight crime in last five years
The government has spent nearly half a billion dollars over the last five years fighting crime, with the majority having been allotted to intelligence, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said yesterday.
Dames made the revelation as he opened debate on the National Crime Intelligence Agency (NCIA) Bill, 2019.
“The government of The Bahamas over the last five years has spent between $286 million dollars and $453.3 million dollars for the respective five branches of law enforcement agencies,” he said.
“A considerable amount of the allotted funds were for personnel to engage in intelligence activities.
“Most of the agencies, which I make no criticism of, conduct their operations covertly. All of whom have significant individual powers to gather intelligence in the protection of our national security.
“…This proposed bill serves to add to the annals of historic legislation designed to propel our nation forward and upward in its development. With all of the new legislation, new powers and new responsibilities of the five branches of law enforcement, there has been no substantial coordinated efforts or effective oversight.
“This new proposed legislation seeks to accomplish this significant milestone.”
Dames noted that The Bahamas continues to be at risk for counter-terrorist activity including the targeting of assets, financial and otherwise, as well as an ideal shipping route for transnational crimes such as human trafficking and smuggling, drugs and small arms trafficking and money laundering.
The bill, he said, is key to combatting these areas in the country’s fight against crime.
“Between 2012 and 2018, approximately 1,424.4 pounds of cocaine and 6,856.4 pounds of marijuana were seized,” Dames revealed.
“There were an average of 1,432.3 arrests made for all types of drugs including ecstasy tablets, powder cocaine, liquid cocaine, marijuana and marijuana plants.
“Of the total arrests there was an average of 1,029 cases which resulted in 1,179 persons being prosecuted.
“It should be noted that while Bahamian nationals made up the largest group for persons arrested for drugs, persons from as far away as Turkey were involved in the transshipment of drugs in The Bahamas.
“This further highlights the need for the gathering of intelligence as crimes are now transnational in nature.”
The national security minister further revealed that between 2012 and 2018, approximately 602 or 82.4 percent of the 731 homicides involved firearms.
Of the 31 murders for this year, approximately 27 or 87 percent involved firearms, he said.
Additionally, between 2013 and April 2019 of this year, approximately 1,486 pistols; 316 shotguns; 234 revolvers; 148 riffles; 84 imitation guns; and 18 prohibited weapons inclusive of flare guns, bebe guns and machine guns were recovered by law enforcement.