Categorized | National News

Englerston MP: Level of Violence Serious

Following the mass shooting that shocked the Montel Heights community on Sunday, Englerston Member of Parliament Glenys Hanna-Martin said recent statistics that crime is down have ‘no relevance,’ as she believes the country has a serious problem of violence, which has caused an increase in the fear of crime.

According to Hanna-Martin, the mass shooting has highlighted the vulnerability of law abiding citizens to wanton violence in their own communities. 

“Fear is now heightened,” she said.  “The time must now come for us to get at the root of this rapid decline in public safety. The statistics politicians like to boast of have no relevance and appear self-indulgent, when we continue to see this sustained level of violence in our country and the tragic fallout.”

Last month during his contribution to the 2019/2020 Budget Communication, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames announced that nationwide crime is down seven percent for the first three months of 2019 when compared to the same time last year.  

However, Hanna-Martin acknowledged firmly that The Bahamas has a serious problem of violence.

“We must name it and work together to solve it,” she said. “This is not about political trophies, but about preservation of our shared way of life and the sustainable quality of life for our people.

“We must look with honest and realistic eyes and face the dilemma of the Bahamian people with less political patting on the back.  Guns are apparently readily accessible, potentially putting every one of us at risk.”

In an effort to alleviate the scourge of violence, Hanna-Martin said she is willing to collaborate with the government to fight crime to ensure that such incidents, like the shooting in Montel Heights, are not repeated.

On Sunday, 17 people were injured during a shooting in Montel Heights, where one of the victims was a 10-year-old.

“This is a shocking incident, which thankfully did not end with much more serious results as well it could have, given the deadly nature of the assault, apparently with the use  of a semi-automatic weapon,” Hanna- Martin said.

“This gratuitous violence has shaken a close-knit community and caused trauma, pain and suffering and has interrupted a community’s collective peace of mind.”

Call for National Approach to Crime

Also responding following the mass shooting in Montel Heights was New Covenant Baptist Church Pastor Emeritus Bishop Simeon Hall, who called for a national approach to crime reduction.

“While any and all rationale efforts to reduce the murder count should be embraced and supported by all well-thinking Bahamians and residents, a national approach to these efforts is an imperative,” Bishop Hall said.

“Political tribalism remains the greatest impediment to solving most of our national social issues. Statistics and even positive prognostications might impress certain voters, but hardly frighten or deter criminals.”

Bishop Hall pointed out that in the last three decades, both major political parties have sponsored respective Crime Commissions, yet the outrageous crime problem remains incessant. 

“There continues to be a clarion call for a national, bipartisan approach to the perennial problem of crime – one which involves all political parties and relevant social, civic and religious groups. This has been a repeatedly, strong and worthwhile suggestion,” Bishop Hall said.

“A national, long-term crime plan would dispel the political blame-game politicians play and help to realistically lower the murder count.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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