Listening to Tommy Turnquest, the ersatz Minister of national security, trying to split hairs as to whether it is fair for us to hold him and his government responsible, or not, for the escalation of crime and criminal activity, in the country, was like listening to two three year- olds, having an argument over whose is the piece of candy. Fact of the matter is, Minister, you and your Free National Movement government made crime an election issue in 2007 and by doing so you assured the nation that an FNM government would be more capable, than the PLP, of putting together the right formula for fighting crime, and containing this menace. It is not us then, Sir, who say that you should be held responsible, but it is you who assumed responsibility and committed yourselves, when you assured us that you were fully capable and that you had all the answers for solving this mammoth plague on our society; so yes we hold you, Tommy Turnquest, fully responsible. Crime is where it is, I contend, because your outfit is incapable of performing at the level you promised.
In your joint News Conference, on 25th August, 2009, with the Police Commissioner and Mr. Greenslade at your side, you boasted, Mr. Minister, that you knew who the criminals were and that you knew where to find them; well, Sir, that was in August, this is now December; where are the thugs? Have you and your 4000-man Police Force not been able to apprehend them as yet? Nassau is only a stone’s throw across and about 21 miles long; the Commissioner and his 4000-man army have all the tools at their disposal, to do an effective job, you said, so why haven’t the small group, as you said they were, been arrested? You knew who they were and you knew where to find them, remember? Our tourism industry is at the brink of collapsing, while an ersatz Minister and an equally ersatz Commissioner of Police suck their thumbs. I submit that the only thing you and your government are interested in is which job to give this or that FNM supporter. Reginald Ferguson was installed, Commissioner of Police, just to qualify him for the “Commissioner of Police’s” huge government pension; nothing more. Why else would he be appointed to this lofty position, only to be retired in a couple months?
Let’s face it, Tommy; the Police Force is in a chaotic and demoralized, state of affairs and who is to be blamed for this awful condition? Tommy Turnquest and his FNM government, of course. Police Officers lack motivation; they feel like, “why bother work diligently when, at the end of the day, with the stroke of that poison pen, Ingraham could send them packing with not even their dignity intact.” The Commissioner doesn’t command the respect of the Force, he never did. Police men and women see him as a major part of their problems, rather than the solution to them.
Recent crime statistic reports to the period, 24th November 2009, indicates that the murder rate has increased over the same period last year by ten percent(10%); from seventy(70) last year to seventy seven(77) this year. Armed and other robberies increased by 17-25 percent or from 896 in 2008 to 1069 this year. We heard Mr. Turnquest telling reporters again; “Let me say that the police know who the prolific offenders are, as well as their areas of operation, and they will be targeted. Every measure will be used to apprehend them and bring them to justice,” unquote. Did you not say the same things and made us the same promises, four months ago, Mr. Minister? You told us in August that you knew who the criminals were and that you knew the areas from which they operated, and that you would target, apprehend and bring them all to justice. I don’t know about anybody else, Mr. Minister, but I am tired of listening to your old, tired, stale, empty and meaningless assurances. This hot air that you keep spewing out of your mouth, Minister, has me in a nauseated state, so much so that you disgust me. Bahamians want to feel safe in their homes, they are no longer safe, Minister; do you understand that? Since the Ministers great proclamation in August, about his four prong strategy, going forward, in the fight against crime, there have been two major incidents involving two fairly large groups of tourists being robbed at gunpoint in broad daylight. One involved 11 tourists who were held up and robbed, at the world famous 66 steps and the other, just days ago, involving 18 tourists disembarking from the largest cruise ship to call at Nassau, to date. Neither we nor our guests are safe in this country and the FNM government seems oblivious to this accelerating, deteriorating condition. Extra!! Extra!!
It’s a news bulletin; I have just now been told that the murder count has smashed all records, in the country, and has now pushed the year- to- date count to 79. Two persons, apparently, were just stabbed around 3pm on Friday, in separate incidents, and have died from their wounds-so much for your crime strategy, Mr. Minister of National Security.
How many more must be robbed and stabbed and murdered? How many more groups of tourists must be held at gunpoint in broad daylight, Mr. Minister; how many more families must be traumatized by these few thugs you promised to have had apprehended since August, Mr. Minister? How many more, Mr. Minister, before you and your government get the message? I submit, for your serious consideration, that one more incident involving another group of visitors like the two I mentioned above and you could be very sure that the US Government will issue that, feared, travel advisory which we are all very worried about, and that will mark the beginning of the end for our tourist industry; trust me on this.
Forrester J Carroll J.P
Freeport, Grand Bahama
28th November 2009.