Mitchell wants further probe into deaths of Bahamian men in Italy

Progressive Liberal Party Chairman, Senator Fred Mitchell.

Says someone should be ‘watching over the shoulders’ of Italian authorities

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Despite Italian authorities ruling the death of two Bahamians whose bodies were pulled from the Po River in Turin, Italy earlier this month as “accidental,” Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Chairman Senator Fred Mitchell said the government should be pressing the Italian government for additional leads.

“The spokesman of the Bahamas government should have said – in a position like this – that we are pressing the Italian authorities to bring this matter to a conclusion and we will be following the investigation to make sure that the law is followed and we get to the  answers; this is what our responsibility is as a government,” Mitchell told the media yesterday.

The bodies of Ramsey, 29, a Foreign Service Officer and John, 28, a Psychology Ph.D. student, 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.

On Thursday, Mitchell surmised that the Italian government does not want it to be seen that there was foul play involved in the deaths of the men, or that they may have been attacked by right wing elements because of their race. He said the government must therefore dispose of such notions in an official capacity, by making a statement to refute these beliefs.

“Instead, you have this drip of information that is coming from the Italian press, which is having the result of sullying the reputation of these two young men, and it is completely unfair, and the government should have taken a strong stand against this a long time ago,” Mitchell said.

The PLP chairman said he has spoken to the families of both men, and he cannot imagine the distress that the news headlines in Nassau and in Italy would have created for them.

“I am just saying that the government needs to take a stronger position with regards to how the Italian authorities are on this matter,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said while he believes that Italian authorities has the capacity to investigate murders, someone should be watching over their shoulder to ensure that they are doing a proper job.

“My own view that I have been investigating is whether or not we should convene a coroner’s inquest to get to the bottom of what happened,” Mitchell said.

The PLP chairman said the Bahamas government also has a responsibility to ensure that if there is loophole in information issued about the two men who met their demise in Italy, the government must immediately fill it to ensure that the reputation of both men remain intact.

“I have written a letter about this because there has been an attack on the reputation of these young men and I made the point that these two men are some of the finest examples of Bahamian males.

“They do not deserve, in death, to have their reputation tarnished or sullied in any way, shape or form.”

Tamara McKenzie also contributed to this article.