NASSAU, BAHAMAS – National security minister Marvin Dames suggested on Thursday that his ministry will not tolerate any form of corruption within its armed forces. His comments followed a number of alleged accounts of police brutality lodged by civilians.
The complaints were filed with the Royal Bahamas Police Force Complaints and Corruption Unit over the span of one week.
The first complaint was filed by a Jamaican national earlier this week after a video which showed him being slapped from a police officer went viral.
The second complaint was filed by a Bahamian woman who said she was a victim of police brutality during a national demonstration staged at Rawson Square and the entrance to the Sir Sydney Poitier Bridge on Wednesday afternoon.
Dames, who spoke with Eyewitness News outside of his Mount Moriah constituency office, revealed that investigations are already underway.
“I have spoken with the Deputy Commissioner of Police, who has oversight of discipline in matters of this nature, and I assure you that every complaint which is filed is being reviewed,” he said.
“Everyone has a right to report a matter if they feel that they have been treated unfairly. I encourage them to do so.”
He asserted that no stone will be left unturned in the investigation process.
“We’re not going to cover for any officers who abuse their authority,” he noted. “Now, after having said that we have to be careful too that everyone has rights. The citizen as well as the police, and we have to make certain that we balance that in fairness to everybody.”
The national security minister noted that the introduction of body cameras, which is expected to come on stream by mid-2019, will help in solving matters of disputes between civilians and the police.
“That’s why we’re big on the body cam,” he said. “This is a clear demonstration that this government does not intend to cover for anyone or hide for anyone. We are about the business of building and creating professional agencies and we’ve already started on that path and I believe the Bahamian public would be pleased to see what we have designed for the future for 2019 and beyond,” he said.