Amid concerns from Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis about security on Abaco, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said yesterday that the police have the situation under control.
There have been reports by locals on Abaco of continued incidents of looting.
Minnis said Cabinet will consider implementing a curfew on that island.
When asked about a curfew, Dame said, “That option is always open to us.
“It’s not that we’re going to pull that trigger overnight. As I said before, based on our assessment over the weekend, we feel that the police and the defense force have the situation under control.
“We have never been in this place before, and you have an island that has been decimated and the infrastructure has totally collapsed. As you can see from the patrols at night, visibility is almost zero.
“Officers are getting up, getting out of their vehicles, checking areas [and] moving into the city area where everything was totally destroyed. We also visited the cays and it was great as we pulled up to the dock to see defense force and police officers on the alert.”
Dames said he spoke with residents on several of the cays and everyone commended the efforts of the law enforcement teams.
“All options remain open and as we move further towards the reconstruction, and more persons begin to come on the island, especially from New Providence and Grand Bahama and elsewhere to engage in construction, we will have to reassess our security measures,” he said.
“As I said, all options remain open.
“One thing is for certain, both Abaco and Grand Bahama are part of The Bahamas…and we will do whatever we need to do to ensure that security is maintained and the people are in fact safe and they feel safe.
“We know that in situations like this, there is always an opportunity. When you have buildings that are destroyed and homes that are destroyed, that the criminal element is always looking for the opportunity to steal. So, that certainly posed a challenge after the storm, but I can say based on what I have seen personally…that our law enforcement officers remain in control and we continue to expand our operations as well.”
Dames has come under fire over post-Dorian security concerns on Abaco.
The Tribune reported that the Free National Movement’s (FNM) chairman for the Central and South Abaco constituency is calling for the minister’s resignation over the matter.
While Dames said people are entitled to their opinions, he believes the security forces are doing their jobs adequately.
“We take security very seriously,” he said outside Cabinet.
“There is no compromise. There are no games here. That is what we do.”
He added, “I continue to say, if you have a concern for security, then we have a place there where you can go to share those concerns. It’s not productive to any of us if we just take to social media and blame the police without reporting the matters.”