Murder count exceeds 100

Murders up 16 percent over last year 

The murder count in The Bahamas reached a grim milestone of 100 late Wednesday then climbed further to 101 last night.

Commissioner of Police Clayton Fernander had repeatedly expressed hopes that 2022 would end at under 100.

There were 87 murders recorded in the first nine months of 2021.

The 100th murder was recorded on Abaco shortly after 11 p.m. on Wednesday, police said.

Police said a man was shot and killed at a business in the area of Crossing Rocks, South Abaco. The officers recovered a black .9mm pistol with a magazine containing two live rounds of .9mm ammunition.

Abaco is a mostly peaceful island; the vast majority of murders happen on New Providence, where the majority of the Bahamian population resides.

This Abaco murder occurred nearly four weeks after former Olympian Shavez Hart was shot and killed in Mount Hope, Abaco, just three days before his 30th birthday.

The latest New Providence murder occurred last night.

Police reported around 10 p.m. that they were investigating a shooting death at Theodore Lane, off John F. Kennedy Drive.

On Monday, police reported the murder of a British man who lived in The Bahamas.

Marcus Hinsbey was found dead in his Cable Beach condo with lacerations, according to police.

Police said yesterday they had no one in custody in relation to the Abaco murder or the murder in Cable Beach.

It was unknown whether anyone was in custody last night in relation to the murder on Theodore Lane.

Since records have been kept, The Bahamas first reached 100 murders in 2011.

At that time, the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), led by Perry Christie, was in opposition and called an urgent press conference to decry this “intolerable state of affairs”.

Christie said the crises demanded “immediate and sustained attention from all of us — from the government right on down to the ordinary citizen and resident”.

Months later, to highlight the crime plight ahead of a general election, the party erected billboards around New Providence blasting the murder count.

The 100th murder for 2022 occurred on the same day Prime Minister Philip Davis addressed Parliament and said his government was looking into additional options to fight crime.

“… This is a matter around which the government will explore a number of policy options, which may or may not require legislative action to implement,” Davis said.

He also invited MPs to “consider issues specific to boys and young men in their constituencies, and to share any findings of note with the government, that we might come to solutions which are best for the whole country”.

The prime minister said, “We are in danger of losing a generation, and it is incumbent upon us all to ensure that that does not happen.”

On August 9 when the murder count was at 85, Commissioner of Police Clayton Fernander reported that 55 percent of the people murdered were out on bail at the time they were killed.

Fernander, who became commissioner in July, said many of the men who were killed were on bail for murder, armed robberies and other serious crimes.

“Shortly after they are released from prison, they are dead,” he said.

“Based on our intel, we suspect that the suspects for that are the rival gangs. Their enemies are responsible for that.

“Again, you can see that the solvency rate is 58 percent. Yes, we find them and put them behind bars. We go above and beyond to convince the court that if this individual is given bail either he gets killed or some other relatives or friend who he hangs around becomes a potential target.”

Police have not provided a recent breakdown of murders, but 75 of the 85 murders that took place up to August 9 happened on New Providence.

The majority of murders happened on the weekend between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., police said.

On August 9, Fernander said, “We got off to a bad start [with] 85 [murders]. I still believe we will be able to finish the year strong [and] still be under 100.

“In 2018, before I went on leave, we had the count under 100 after two decades. After two decades we were able to bring the murder count under 100. I believe that we will do it again.”

But the killings have only continued.

On its current track, the murder count would exceed last year’s.

There were 119 murders in 2021; 73 in 2020; 95 in 2019; 91 in 2018; 122 in 2017; 111 in 2016 and 146 in 2015, the current record.

Fernander said last week police were recording some progress in fighting crime.

The commissioner said intelligence was coming in “and we are making some great headway as we continue to move”.

Police have established a task force to focus on firearms trafficking, Fernander said, adding that there is also a special anti-gang unit.

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Candia Dames

Candia Dames is the executive editor of The Nassau Guardian.

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