Days after a 10-year-old boy was murdered, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said yesterday, that while he believes short-term measures to lower crime in The Bahamas are working, deeper societal issues mean there will continue to be surges in crime until longer-term measures begin to take effect.
He suggested that the murder was the result of a turf war.
“You have the short-term measures, which are obviously working, but the medium- and long-term measures will take some time to take effect, unfortunately, but we’re committed to it,” Dames told reporters outside Cabinet.
“You’re going to have times when you see these surges and they’re driven by what’s going on out there on the streets and our ability certainly to deal with conflicts.
“There are persons out there who are engaging in very nefarious activities and they want to protect their turf. They want to protect their drugs. And this, unfortunately, sometimes spills over into these communities and, like in the case last week with young Kenron, innocent people are affected by it.”
On Thursday night, police responded to reports of a shooting on Finlayson Street, where four people – three boys and one man – had been shot. The 10-year-old boy who was killed has been identified as Kenron Dean. One of the injured boys is his twin brother.
Dames assured that police are working assiduously to solve the murder.
“This is to them and to all of us, a matter that must be solved,” he said.
“And I had an opportunity to speak to the commissioner yesterday, and got a full briefing and I’m very pleased with how they’re progressing with respect to the investigation.
“I had an opportunity as well to speak to Ms. Dean, the mother of the young man, Kenron, who just happens to be an employee at the Ministry of National Security. And she, too, I mean obviously, this is a very difficult time for her, but she is very pleased with how the police is taking care of this matter and keeping her and her family abreast as to how they are proceeding.”
Dames said there are too many guns on the streets.
“This is certainly priority number one for us as a government and I’m certain for the Royal Bahamas Police Force,” he said.
“You know, there are too many guns on our streets. Police continue to do a tremendous job in taking guns off our streets, but like drugs, as long as you have a demand, you’re going to see the proliferation, unfortunately.
“And for some time now, guns are the weapons of choice. We’re no longer in an era where someone pulls a knife out or a bottle or piece of wood or stone. It’s now guns.
“And unfortunately, many of our young men feel that this is the only way to resolve a problem.
“So, it speaks to a deep-rooted problem that we face in this country.”
Last year, two children died after being caught in a crossfire of bullets in separate incidents. In another incident, a girl was murdered alongside her mother in what is believed to have been a domestic situation.
‘We have to stop’
Yesterday, several senators decried the fact that children are being murdered in The Bahamas.
Senator Lisa Bostwick-Dean was emotional as she called for the issue to not be made political.
“To the family of that young boy and sadly, to the other families that have lost children to violence, to gun violence our The Bahamas, it is just inconceivable,” she said.
“We are killing our children by shooting them dead. Our children, when they are with their families. There is something just incomprehensible and horrific about where we are.
“…I am a mother. I implore us. We have got to stop. We have to find answers. This not FNM. This is not PLP. This is not DNA. This is not any other independent party out there. These are our children. And our children are killing our children. We must stop.
“I apologize for becoming emotional, but some things are not politics.”
Opposition Senator Fred Mitchell described recent events as “an avalanche of violence that exists in our country” and said he is at a loss as to what the solutions are.
“He had his whole life in front of him and I keep wondering what we actually do,” he said, speaking of Kenron.
Mitchell added, “Arguments seem like they end in someone shooting a man at point-blank range in his head.
“I mean, what invites this kind of violence and anger amongst young people? You can’t go out anywhere and just have a good time. I mean, what are you fighting for? What are you shooting for? It just doesn’t make any logical sense to me.”