NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Assistant Commissioner of Police Clayton Fernander said police have seized Lincoln Bain’s gun as they investigate his decision last week to fire gunshots while warning Haitian nationals against cutting down protected trees and burning them on crown land.
A video that circulated on Thursday showed Bain fired gunshots from a semi-automatic weapon.
Police called him in for questioning on Friday but released him as a crowd gathered at the Central Detective Unit to demand his release.
Meanwhile, Minister of Environment Vaughn Miller said officials are investigating the clearance of trees in the pine forest off Carmichael Road and do not support efforts to make it about Haitians versus Bahamians.
“From our perspective this is not a Haitians versus Bahamians or persons of Haitian descent issue,” he said.
“That’s not our position. The position is we need to do what is right because like I have said, this has been a problem that successive administrations have not dealt with.”
Officials have said about 500 acres of land have been unlawfully cleared in the southern area of New Providence since July 2021. They say the culprits will be subjected to penalties after the Pine tree and the Silver Top tree were cleared down.
Acting Director of Forestry Danielle Hanek has said the trees are important for the public water system and that their presence affects air quality.
“We’ve been leading on this,” Miller said. “At this time I’m not at liberty to speak publicly about this matter but I assure you at the appropriate time I will speak. I assure you it will be dealt with. Right now it’s being discussed. When decisions are made, the public will find out.
“The perception may be that the government is doing nothing about it. That’s not the case at all. It’s just that the responsible thing to do is to do your investigation and preparation and do what is right in a responsible manner. We’re not just sitting idling by.”
For his part, National Security Minister Wayne Munroe said the tree clearing is being addressed and that “something will be said about it shortly.”
“We don’t do things off the cuff,” he said. “We do things in a considered way.”
As for Bain’s gunshots, Munroe said he will address the matter with police.