While the armed services in The Bahamas continue to provide help to those residents and communities devastated by Hurricane Dorian, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames yesterday warned that there is “no open season” for crime in The Bahamas.
Dames’ comments come weeks after Dorian flattened parts of Abaco and Grand Bahama, leaving thousands homeless.
“It’s very important that we understand that we are in a crisis,” he said at the police headquarters.
“We understand that we’ve just gone through the most devastating hurricane in our lifetime, and we’re working to put the pieces together, but one of the things that is not lost on us, is we can’t create a situation where there are open borders, and where we take our eyes off of safety and security and ensuring that there are systems in place.
“We still have to ensure that laws are respected and that people understand that not because we’re in a place as this, that it’s open season.”
Dames stressed that police and defense forces are still keeping the country’s southern borders safe and not “surrendering New Providence”.
There has been a spate of armed robberies and murders in the capital in the three weeks since Dorian.
Dames noted that while police are making arrests, too many people are on bail for murder.
“This was certainly a tough one for the police, but it’s not all the police’s fault,” he said.
“They continue to arrest these people. They have people in custody now for some of those matters that occurred this week, and they’re finding a nexus between quite a bit of them.
“So, they’re solving the matters. I mean, you have a situation where I think the last time I gave it, how many people do we have on bail for murder? Well over 100. That’s unheard of in any country. And how many in jail either on remand or serving time? I think it was well over 200. So, the police are in fact doing their jobs.
“Sometimes you arrest a guy and he’s on bail for murder.
“You arresting him for another murder, so the police are doing their jobs.”
On Tuesday night, police reported that a woman was stabbed to death on Grand Bahama and a man attempted to commit suicide at the scene of the murder.
Police believe the matters are connected.
Following the storm, hundreds of residents from Abaco and Grand Bahama moved into shelters on New Providence.
Dames noted that defense force officers, who are posted at the shelters, are there to maintain safety.
“We want to ensure that we know who is entering the shelters and who is leaving the shelters,” he said.
“That’s very important to us because we have to ensure that the persons in the shelters are safe and that others are not using the shelters as a means to create mischief or to commit crimes.”
Dames also denied rumors that contraband and gang activity is prevalent in the shelters.
“…There are no reports of any firearms being found in any shelters,” he said.
“Our first responders are more than capable, and I don’t think anyone would want to try to do any nonsense at those centers, because the response will be resolute.
“So, we’re not concerned about the level of security at any of those centers.”