Fort Fincastle murder leaves some residents shaken

Residents of Fort Fincastle yesterday expressed mixed feelings about the state of crime in the country after a man was shot and killed in the area the night before.

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis declared last week that Bahamians are no longer fearful of crime.

But some residents said they feared for their safety following the latest murder.

Ruth Ward, 86, who has lived in Fort Fincastle for more than 47 years, said she was sitting on her porch, just feet away from the murder scene, moments before the man was killed.

“I was sitting down right there on my porch,” Ward said.

“I had just walked inside my home. When I listened, I heard four gunshots, so I asked my grandson and he said, ‘Yeah, grammy, they are gunshots.’”

“I felt bad to be an old woman because right then I had my 16-year-old grandson with me and I wouldn’t have been able to protect him.”

When asked if she agreed with the prime minister and police who claimed that fewer Bahamians feared crime, Ward said, “Not me. It still makes me feel bad. I’m still scared.”

She said Tuesday night’s murder made her reflect on another murder that took place in the area last year.

A 15-year-old boy was killed on Prison Lane on October 17, 2017.

Ward said she knew the boy well and was traumatized by his death.

“Of course, I knew him,” she said.

“He got shot underneath my window. He wasn’t my family. He was just a neighborhood boy but he was alright. He was a good and respectful boy to me.”

Speaking on the issue of crime last week, the prime minister said a reduction in crime means residents feel safer.

“They were fearful of coming out of their homes, fearful of driving around, etc. That fear has been relaxed. They are no longer fearful of crime; they’re no longer fearful of going to shopping centers, environment, etc. And we will even decrease that even further. I am greatly pleased and encouraged by what the police is doing,” Minnis said.

There have been 84 murders in The Bahamas for the year so far. This compares to 120 murders around the same time last year.

Acting Commissioner of Police Emrick Seymour said on Tuesday there is a noticeable decrease in the fear of crime and “we are are feeling it; we are getting that every day from members of the public”.

Mark McKinney, 43, who grew up in Fort Fincastle said the public needs to stop worrying about “the what ifs and trust that God will protect you”.

“I don’t fear crime because crime is everywhere in the world,” McKinney said.

“You know, you can go anywhere and meet your demise so I walk by faith because you can’t worry about what hasn’t happened or what could happen.”

But Frankie Smith, 59, who has lived in Fort Fincastle for more than 40 years, said not everyone can walk by faith when “people can just pop up on you and kill you”.

“I am very fearful of crime and nobody’s speaking up for us in these neighborhoods because everybody here is afraid,” Smith said.

He added: “There is only one way into Fort Fincastle and one way out by vehicle, but there’s a lot of ways to get up here and out of here without a vehicle. If I’m a criminal and I have a motorbike, I can pop up the [Queen’s Staircase], bust off a couple of shots and pop back down the [staircase].”

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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