Govt appoints committee to investigate shooting death of RBDF Officer

Minister of National Security, the Hon. Marvin Dames (centre), speaks with members of the Review Committee appointed to investigate security issues surrounding the recent fatal shooting of 30-year Royal Bahamas Defence Force Veteran, Petty Officer Philip Perpall, at the conclusion of a press conference at Cabinet Office, Wednesday morning, May 8, 2019. (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Four retired senior law enforcement officials comprise the independent review committee which will investigate the shooting death of former Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) marine, Petty Officer Phillip Perpall, who was allegedly gunned down by another marine on May 28thon the grounds of Government House.

National Security Minister Marvin Dames made the announcement at the Churchill Building on Wednesday morning.

The committee is chaired by Reginald Ferguson, former Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) Commissioner.

Ferguson is joined by Roderick Bowe, former RBDF Commodore; Douglas Hanna, retired RBPF Superintendent and attorney Paul Jones, who is also a retired police officer.

“This committee is being tasked with reviewing the incident and ultimately determining whether or not there were any breaches or failures in security at Government House during the morning of the incident,” Dames noted.

“In order to address this incident in a transparent manner, I am appointing [these] imminently qualified professionals of noted and associated backgrounds to form the review committee which will conduct their inquiry with immediate effect.”

The formation of the independent investigative committee comes a week and a half after the shooting death of Petty Officer Perpall.

“This review committee has the full backing of the government and are mandated to conduct their investigations over the next two months; after which they will report their findings which will be communicated to the Bahamian public,” Dames said.

The review committee will not only investigate whether or not there were any security breaches or oversights at the time of the incident, but they will also provide feedback as to what improvements could be made to the current security structure at Government House, according to Dames.

“The main objective is that at the end of the day, once the committee would have concluded their findings, they would also be making recommendations for improvement,” he said.

“That is the critical objective behind this overall inquiry.

“These men understand investigations, bring law to the table, and know how to keep that dividing line. They will ensure that from these findings we will bring about the needed improvements in the long term at a place like Government House and will assist us with some of the work that we already started as it relates to the protection at government buildings.”

According to police, Petty Officer Perpall was gunned down by another RBDF officer while he was on duty at Government House on the morning of May 28.

Less than one week later, on May 3, Jevon Seymour, 35, was charged with the shooting death.

Seymour has been remanded to the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services (BDOCS) and returns to court on June 20thfor a Voluntary Bill of Indictment (VBI).