ON THE RISE?: Crime on Family Islands could be on upward trend

ON THE RISE?: Crime on Family Islands could be on upward trend

Minister says recent murders on GB appear to be gang-related

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — While murders on Grand Bahama and the Family Islands appear to be either on par or marginally down over the previous year, the majority of these incidents and numerous other shootings have taken place in the last couple of months.

However, it remains unclear if this is indicative of a trend.

There have been three murders on Abaco this year: January 3, March 14 and June 1.

Another murder was recorded on Harbour Island, Eleuthera, on February 5.

The six murders recorded on Grand Bahama this year so far took place between September 17 and December 3, with four of those killings occurring in the last month.

Minister of National Security Wayne Munroe.

There have been numerous shootings in recent months on several Family Islands, including Bimini and Abaco.

When contacted, Minister of National Security Wayne Munroe said Grand Bahama is an island that experiences murders in cycles that tend to be gang-related.

“They’re the other island that would be the subject of murders,” he said.

“The other smaller ones, you don’t generally see it unless it is retaliation where someone has gone to the island, but Grand Bahama goes in cycles and it is generally gang-related.

“So, for instance, when there is [a] power vacuum, there is a bit of violence from what I could tell from my law practice — you have violence to fill power vacuums.

“The profile in Grand Bahama has been, it appears to be, related to that.

“I think you had some shooting on a gambling game, but apart from that, they appear to be street-gang-related.

“The one [shooting] in Bimini was domestic, wasn’t it, and you’ve seen a couple of domestics in New Providence, some of which hasn’t ended in death.

“So, when it’s domestic, domestic ones can take place anywhere.

“The ones that you generally wouldn’t expect to see in the Family Islands would be gang-related and street-gang-related.”

If I had on my defense lawyer hat, I would say the uptick in Grand Bahama following a large cocaine bust by the police may or may not be related.

– Minister of National Security Wayne Munroe

Asked if he believes what is taking place on some Family Islands is a culmination of the socioeconomic conditions post-Dorian and the ongoing pandemic, which brought about a nearly halted economy for 10 months, the minister said: “The domestic ones are just poor socialization.

“Most of them, you see an inability to have proper anger management, proper dispute resolution going on.

“The street-gang-related ones are generally related to an event that happens.

“If I had on my defense lawyer hat, I would say the uptick in Grand Bahama following a large cocaine bust by the police may or may not be related.”

Prompted on whether additional attention and police resources will be placed on some islands where there have been more serious crimes of late, Munroe said that was a decision for the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) and its commissioner.

CCTV cameras.

He said the commissioner of police is working on the policing plan for the upcoming year.

“While they may let me know what has happened, to keep me informed, operational matters are dealt with by them,” he said.

“Where, as minister, I engage with them is if they said they need some resource, it is my job to go and get it for them.”

Munroe has said a closed-circuit television program will be among the security programs that will be significantly expanded.

He said there is a gradual plan to expand the program in phases, but the “operational aspect of it, we leave to the police professionals and the most they have to do is justify to me why they need the resources and if there are resource issues, what is of greater priority”.

About Royston Jones Jr.

Royston Jones Jr. is a senior digital reporter and occasional TV news anchor at Eyewitness News. Since joining Eyewitness News as a digital reporter in 2018, he has done both digital and broadcast reporting, notably providing the electoral analysis for Eyewitness News’ inaugural election night coverage, “Decision Now 2021”.