Dames: ‘cowards’ in mass shooting will be brought to justice

Public nor govt. satisfied by statistics, says minister.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Minister of National Security Marvin Dames charged yesterday that cowards were behind the Montell Heights mass shooting Sunday that resulted in 14 people, including four minors, being shot.

Speaking to Eyewitness News, the minister said it is just a matter of time before those “responsible for this cowardly act are brought to justice”.

“We are not going to allow any individual or groups of individuals to cause mayhem in this country,” Dames said.

“If you commit an offense, you will be sought out wherever you are and we will use every effort within the framework on the law to bring you to justice.

“As in this case, the leads are moving in the right direction and it is only a matter of time before the persons who are responsible for this cowardly act brought to justice.”

Dames made the declaration outside Government House following the swearing in ceremony for Elsworth Johnson as the new minister of financial services, trade and industry and immigration.

He assured that the investigation into the shooting is progressing, and law enforcement remains on top of the incident.

Calling the shooting very unfortunate, the minister offered prayers for the victims, their families and the wider community of Montell Heights.

To suggestions that the incident and the spate of murders in recent weeks has challenged the Royal Bahamas Police Force, Dames said, “Every incident that takes place, the police are very much in tune and on top of it.

“If they have a victim, they follow certain leads; follow certain motives and they get information from the public as well as from their own investigative initiatives that will direct them into ensuring that there is no fallout, especially when something may be gun, gang or drug related.

“We’re extremely upbeat. The Royal Bahamas Police Force and the other law enforcement agencies have a vested responsibility in keeping us all safe.

“They take that very seriously. We as a government take it very seriously.

“We continue to provide to our law enforcement agencies the resources, be it human or equipment, to ensure that they remain at the forefront.”

Authorities reported yesterday that a man was shot and killed on Ragged Island Street, off Andros Avenue. A child was also injured as a result of the incident.

The shooting marked the 47thmurder for 2019.

There were nine murders last month alone.

This time last year, there were 54 murders.

This means murders remain down 13 percent over last year.

Dames said the public nor the government is satisfied with those statistics, though he assured that authorities have been doing their part in the fight against crime.

“Crime is trending down, yes, but we are not satisfied with that and the Bahamian people are not, and they expect more,” he said.

“We promise as a government that we will give more.

“We will not back down from our responsibility. We understand what that is and we take it very seriously, and so we will continue to work to ensure that this country of ours is safe for all to move about freely no matter where.”

Beyond improving crime fighting strategies and introducing state of the art technology to assist law enforcement, the minister noted that the government must continue to address the root causes of crime.

He said the Minnis administration must continue to create jobs, expand social services assistance, improve education, among numerous other efforts to positively impact Bahamian society.