NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Minister of Foreign Affairs, Darren Henfield said yesterday that the government has done all that is humanly possible to properly investigate the tragic death of two Bahamian men who met their demise in Turin, Italy earlier this month.
“I have engaged the Italian government in Rome where I speak, as need arises, with the Deputy Foreign Minister,” Henfield said.
“My officials have been in Turin since the incident occurred [and] I think that as a government, we have done all that is humanly possible to determine what would’ve happened, to keep the families engaged, and to have our sons return to the Bahamas so that we can have them properly buried.”
Henfield’s comments came on the heels of criticisms levied by Progressive Liberal Party Chairman, Fred Mitchell, who expressed in a statement last week that the government had not done all in its power to investigate the tragic deaths of foreign affairs officer Alrae Ramsey and PhD student Blair John.
But Henfield said yesterday that there will always be criticisms and someone will always determine that they can do things one way or the other.
“But ours is through diplomatic channels and I think we have been doing our best and trying to get to the bottom of the circumstances surrounding this unfortunate event,” Henfield said.
The bodies of Ramsey, 29 and John, 28, were discovered by Italian authorities in waters of the River Po in Turin, Italy on Tuesday, June 4 and Wednesday, June 5, 2019.
Shortly following their deaths, the government dispatched His Excellency Ellison E. Greenslade, High Commissioner of the Bahamas to the UK and Northern Ireland, to Italy, to make further inquiries.
Greenslade arrived in Italy on June 8th.
Autopsies were performed on both bodies on Monday, June 10, to determine the exact cause of death.
According to various Italian media reports, the initial findings of the autopsy, performed by coroner Paola Rapetti, indicated that the men died from drowning.
A toxicological examination was also performed.
Italian news agencies reported that the results of this exam revealed that no drugs were found in the system of both men but there were traces of alcohol.
Yesterday, Henfield said there has been, “no official [details in] the toxicology report or anything from the investigators to indicate more than what we’ve heard thus far.”
He added that the men’s bodies are being repatriated home and he remains in constant contact with the families.
“I think families are preparing for the funerals,” he said, adding that the Director General of the Foreign Affairs Ministry has also travelled to Italy to ensure that the bodies of Ramsey and John are safely returned to the capital.