Categorized | National News

No “Blow” To US/Bahamas Relations

The mugging of a US diplomat has not damaged the relationship between The Bahamas and the United States, according to Acting US Charge D’Affaires John Armstrong.

Mr. Armstrong, Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell and other officials all attended St. Francis Xavier Church with US Embassy Vice Consul Kathleen Cayer Sunday.

The 74-year-old American woman was assaulted and robbed on her way to church a week ago.

Police arrested a 27-year-old man in connection with the incident.

As a result of that crime, US officials sent out a stern warning to the government to get crime under control.

Her injuries also caused the US Embassy visa services to halt for a day.

But on Sunday, Mr. Armstrong said relations between the US and The Bahamas remains strong.

“We have in the past as Minister Mitchell pointed out that The Bahamas have issued warnings for the safety of Bahamians and we have issued statements to American citizens and of course those messages still stand. The Bahamas is a beautiful place, but don’t leave your street smarts at home,” he said.

“Our relationship with The Bahamas is incredibly close. As I told Minister Mitchell when we had the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. bust last fall in Bimini, we will never take The Bahamas for granted. Our friendship, our relationship is strong. This is a problem and we support The Bahamas dealing with this problem. We want to work together. We want to help and that’s where we are. I don’t think any interpretation of it being a blow to our relations, I think would be an over interpretation.”

Mr. Armstrong said the US would provide whatever support is needed to combat crime.

“We stand ready to support the Bahamian government in [its] efforts against crime whether it’s by capacity building, training, equipment and know how. With that being said, and I would be remiss not to say this – the main responsibility is the will of the Bahamian government. The Bahamas is an independent country and the Bahamian government is responsible for what happens here. And we stand fully ready to help in any way we can.”

Ms. Cayer said being attacked has made her more careful.

“Once you have been attacked you do have feelings. If someone stops you on the street – you kind of jump. But I’m fine. I want to thank everyone who has been supportive. Everyone has been terrific and I know that it’s just been one bad person and all of the Bahamians have been so nice and so supportive,” she said.

“I’ve lived in many countries and this isn’t a problem just in The Bahamas. I’ve lived in countries where you always have to watch what you are doing, where you are going and what’s happening and be aware of yourself and others and I will be even more aware now.”

Minister Mitchell said the main thing is to make sure that the vice cousul is fine.

“We deeply regret and deplore what happened. It’s not systematic of the general state of what is going on in The Bahamas. Certainly there is no intent towards US diplomats or toward our visitors. The country should be safe. The government is committed to making sure that it’s safe and all of the officials have been prepped about this to be sure that we do everything in our power to make sure that this never happens again,” he said.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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