Mitchell: MOFA must “get to the bottom” of what caused Bahamian deaths in Italy

Mitchell: MOFA must “get to the bottom” of what caused Bahamian deaths in Italy
PLP Senator Fred Mitchell.

Says Ministry’s rep has been in Italy for two days and public has heard nothing.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Chairman of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), Senator Fred Mitchell, on Thursday implored the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) to continue to urge Italian authorities to investigate the recent deaths of two Bahamians, and at the same time be as “transparent” as possible about the efforts that are being undertaken by Italian authorities.

Alrae Ramsey, 29, was a Foreign Service Officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who was on study leave and Blair John was a PhD candidate who was studying in Halifax, Canada.

On Tuesday, June 4, Ramsey was found floating in the Po River in Turin, Italy and less than 24 hours later, Italian authorities reported that the lifeless body of Blair John, who was reported earlier to be missing, was also found floating in the same river.

And while the cause of the death is still unknown, Mitchell expressed on Thursday that while it was good to hear that the foreign ministry had sent a senior diplomat from the London High Commission to Italy to investigate the untimely deaths of Ramsey and John, it is important to get to the bottom of what happened, should the Government need to amend its advice for Bahamians travelling abroad.

“Nothing short is owed to the families of the deceased and to the Bahamian public,” said Mitchell in statement released Thursday.

“In addition, it is important for the Ministry to provide the families and the public at large with information as they receive it.

“The Ministry’s representative has been in Turin for two days and the public has heard nothing further.

“The families should be assisted in accessing the Italian authorities to the maximum extent possible,” Mitchell said.

The opposition’s shadow minister of foreign affairs noted in his statement that a key responsibility of the foreign ministry is to safeguard Bahamian interests overseas, and to ensure proper treatment of Bahamians abroad, within the limits of authority prescribed by domestic and international law and diplomatic norms.