Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) Acting Commodore Dr. Raymond King yesterday dismissed claims of increased looting on Abaco more than five months after Hurricane Dorian, noting that police and the defense force have a “firm control” on the reduction of the fear of crime on the island.
“The statistics [do] not support that there [have] been increased incidents in looting or recent reports of looting,” King said.
“The team went in. They’ve done extremely well. We continue to conduct operations. I really would not want to get into the specifics but we do it around the clock in conjunction with the Royal Bahamas Police Force and we do operations with The Bahamas immigration [department] as well. We undertake static, roving patrols, checkpoints.
“Through the community we do that. We also patrol whenever our vessels go into Abaco or Grand Bahama.”
Last week, Abaco Chamber of Commerce President Ken Hutton said there are still cases of looting on Abaco as security is still a “significant issue” on the island in the wake of the Category 5 storm.
“There still is definitely looting going on, significant amounts of it,” he told The Nassau Guardian on January 29.
“There’s still — in terms of the domestic ports — there’s still very little security there… So, no, the security situation is very tenuous here at best.”
Hutton called for more security presence on the island.
However, yesterday, King told reporters, “…I am quite satisfied that we have firm control along with the police in terms of reducing the fear of crime. It’s not to say that more cannot be done. We’re seeking to enhance our posture even farther. So, we continue to strategize based on the dynamics and how things are occurring.”
He said the RBDF is preparing to do “a bit more” as it relates to security on Abaco.
King said before the defense force moves forward, it wants “to place some emphasis on winning the hearts and minds of the community, the residents in addition to the security posture that we have”.
Abaco was ravaged by Dorian in early September.
The storm led thousands of Abaconians to flee the island in the days that followed.
Reports of looting began to surface on the island not long after Dorian.
On September 5, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames dismissed the claims as “grossly overstated”.
One month later, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis told The Guardian that he was “not happy” about the security situation on the island, noting there was a need for more law enforcement on Abaco.