PM pleased with downward murder trend

Minnis predicts country will record fewer than 100 murders this year

 

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – With just over three weeks remaining in the year, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis suggested yesterday that the country was on track to record fewer than 100 murders for 2018 and said he was “pleased and encouraged” by the efforts of law enforcement agencies to curb criminality in The Bahamas.

The last time the country recorded fewer than 100 murders was in 2010 with 94 murders.

Minnis was responding to questions from the media surrounding two double murders in fewer than 48-hours.

“Police are investigating those matters now and my understanding is they may have leads… but they’re doing what they are supposed to do, and I’m convinced the police will do the best they possibly can,” he said.

“However, when you look at what they are doing compared with the past, murder is down over 36 per cent, which is quite a great accomplishment in such a short time.

“These two murders would have taken it (the murder count) up to 82, 83, but still, it’s been years since The Bahamas has [had] less than 100 [murders].

“But one murder is still too much and the police are working aggressively.

“I cannot discuss their strategic plans going forward, but they’re working aggressively to ensure Bahamians are safe.”

A man and a woman were shot dead on Monday near the entrance of Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre on Fox Hill Road.

The woman, identified as Ashlee Sarah Hilton, 30, was found in the driver’s seat of a vehicle near the entrance of the compound.

She was shot several times.

Police also found the body of a man lying on the ground with gunshot wounds not far from the vehicle.

He was identified as George Deveaux, 33.

Police believe that Deveaux was the intended target.

Two men were also shot and killed in Jubilee Gardens, off Fire Trail Road, on Tuesday night.

Officers found the bodies of the men sitting inside a vehicle parked in front of a residence with gunshot wounds.

The engine of the vehicle was still on when officers arrived on scene, police said.

As of November 30 2017, there were 118 murders in The Bahamas.

During the same period this year, there were 79 murders.

This means murders were down 33 per cent between January 1, 2018, and December 1, 2018, when compared to the same period last year.

Yesterday, Minnis said despite the recent incidents, the fear of crime is also down compared to last year.

“When you talk to the average Bahamian yesteryear, there was great fear of crime,” he said.

“They were fearful of coming out of their homes, fearful of driving around, etc.

“That fear has been relaxed.

“They’re no longer fearful of crime. They’re no longer fearful of going to shopping centres [and other] environments. We… will decrease that even further.

“I am greatly pleased and encouraged by what the police are doing.”

In a separate interview yesterday, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said despite the murder decrease “there is still a level of concern for me”.

He said there was still a lot of work to do.

Of the two double murders this week, Dames said the incidents were “somewhat concerning”, but isolated to a “certain group of individuals”.

“I am satisfied that the public has no need to be concerned in regards to those matters, other than, what the intel is telling us is they are confined to a certain group of individuals,” Dames said.

“My only concern is when this small grouping of individuals come out in the public sphere.

“We cannot tolerate that. We won’t tolerate that.”

He expressed confidence that police will arrest those responsible, and we’re making good inroads with their investigation.

He expressed confidence that law enforcement’s crime-fighting strategies will continue to bring crime down.

Last month, Dames told Eyewitness News crime was down overall.

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