The Bahamas government has held an “urgent conclave” to address the “sharp increase in murders” in the country, with Prime Minister Phillip Davis indicating that while much of the murders are gang-related “it is also clear that a range of other factors are contributing to this spike”.
Media reports say there have been at least 35 murders since the start of the year and Prime Minister Davis said “all sectors of society have a role to play in this partnership and, going forward, we invite the public to be a part”.
Last year, the Bahamas recorded 119 murders compared with 73 in the previous year, which had been the lowest figure recorded in the country in over a decade.
A statement issued following the conclave on Sunday quoted Prime Minister Davis as saying that “there are no easy, quick fixes to the crime dilemma, neither is there any one solution.
“We were able to identify immediate measures that will help to reduce levels of crime. I will have more to say on this issue in the coming days, but I want to express a heartfelt thank you to the various agencies who participated,” he added.
According to the statement the stakeholders that participated in the meeting included representatives from the Royal Bahamas Police Force, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, the Department of Public Prosecutions, the Bahamas Crisis Centre, The Hope Center, the Bahamas Christian Council, the opposition Free National Movement (FNM) and government ministers.
Opposition Leader, Michael Pintard, who attended Sunday’s meeting, while declining to reveal the specifics of the discussions, said the opposition had presented recommendations to the government to deal with the crime situation.
Some of the recommendations include the increased use of police mobile vans and the establishment of a crime commission that looks at how certain arms of government can improve collectively to fight crime.
“We presented the government with a list of recommendations of immediate, medium-term, and long-term steps that we believe would be helpful in addressing the crime situation. Our focus was on violent crime in general and steps that ought to be taken to address violent crime. That’s whether it resulted in death or maiming, whether it was the result of conflict between gangs or individuals or domestic violence.
“We wanted to make some recommendations because no doubt we were there because the surge in crime is what forced the kind of discussion we would have had last week,” he told the Tribune newspaper.
“Obviously, the public has been discussing it, but we raised it in particular last week and indicated we are prepared to sit with the government and other stakeholders with a view of arriving at some common solutions in terms of addressing violent crime.”
The FNM has also recommended that there be a police presence in hotspot areas.