NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Englerston MP Glenys Hanna-Martin yesterday demanded that the government articulate a clear policy on the strategies and tactics displayed in several viral videos which purport to show officers beating several men on the sidelines of the 2020 New Year’s Junkanoo Parade.
The videos have become the subject on an internal investigation.
On Sunday, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said the government does not condone officers abusing their power, though he reserved judgement on the matter pending the outcome of the investigation.
In a statement, Hanna-Martin said: “It has taken the minister of national security just about a week to comment, and it seems only through media prompting on the shocking images which have gone viral of violent encounters between members of the RBPF and private citizens at the recent New Year’s Day Junkanoo Parade.
“This lapse in response is telling and certainly not acceptable in light of the serious questions being raised nationally and the widespread controversy, which has erupted as to the propriety and legality of police actions.
Hanna-Martin said the minister should be well aware that he is accountable to the Bahamian people, who she said expects him to be aggressive and transparent in upholding the law while ensuring that civil liberties of people in The Bahamas are not violated by anyone, including law enforcement officers.
“Despite the proclamations by the minister as to what will and will not be tolerated the Bahamian people will be watching and waiting for the outcome of the investigation announced by the commissioner of police,” she said.
“We will also expect to hear articulation of a clear policy on the strategies and tactics that were deployed as shown in those videos.”
Dames has said the public will be apprised of the outcome of the investigation.
In two videos making the rounds of social media, police can be seen brandishing nightsticks and swinging into a crowd in front of the Bank of The Bahamas building on Shirley Street.
In one short clip, a man can be seen laying on the floor as an officer hits him.
In a third video, several police officers clad in blue uniform survey a group of men who are lined up against a wall.
At one point, an officer wielding a long truncheon strikes the backside of one man as he walks away.
The same officers lashes the next man in the lineup who runs away.
The incidents have renewed the spotlight over the police force.