Ferguson: Govt., stakeholders have more work to do with crime

Ferguson: Govt., stakeholders have more work to do with crime
Member of Parliament for Fox Hill, Shonel Ferguson.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Fox Hill MP Shonel Ferguson said while she was encouraged by the reduction in crime last year as evidence that the country was heading in the right direction, incidents of violent crime in recent weeks suggest there is a lot more work to be done.

A man was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting in Fox Hill on Sunday around 3:30 p.m.

Authorities have not released the identity of the victim.

“I was very encouraged by the numbers last year, that we were making some really good headway and there was just a sense that we were moving in the right direction,” Ferguson told Eyewitness News Online.

“And somehow, over the last month, this week, we seem to have had a spike.

Crime overall was down eight per cent last year in comparison to 2017, and down 14 per cent compared to 2016.

There was also a 25 per cent decrease in murders — from 122 in 2017 to 91 in 2018, the lowest since 85 murders were recorded in 2009.

There have been 16 murders in The Bahamas for 2019, representing a 24 per cent decrease.

Up to March 17, 2018, there were 21 murders.

“Even though these things are numbers, in real terms these are the lives of people; families hurt and they are torn apart; and [these are] families that live in the same neighbourhood,” Ferguson said.

“So, it is a very difficult thing to deal with.”

Asked whether the efforts to date to address crime, Ferguson said the government has more work to do, but noted that no government can address crime alone as “everybody has to be all in”.

She said this includes the church, parents, schools and communities at large.

“When we begin to lay crime numbers at the feet of governments, then we certainly are missing opportunities for other means and ways of having positive impact,” the Fox Hill MP said.

Ferguson said her efforts will continue in the community with stakeholders to encourage businesses to invest in the area, along with continued infrastructural upgrades to increase commerce.

However, she said focus must continue to be placed on issues that affect the lives of people in a direct way, including crime.

“There has to be a solution,” she said.

“We all have to find a solution. We were working towards that: community programs through Urban Renewal, through the churches, all of these things, to bring some lasting change.

“I know crime we will have always, but the violent crime and the life-ending crime, those are the things I think we really need to break the back of.

“I thought we were going in a good direction throughout the country post 2017, but it seems in recent times that we are back in some ways to the things that trouble our neighbourhood and rob of us our young people.

“There is no easy solution, but we have to find a solution.”