Categorized | National News

Nottage Responds To US Report

National Security Minister Dr. Bernard Nottage said he has no immediate fears of a travel advisory being issued in the wake of a scathing U.S. State Department report on crime levels in The Bahamas.

On Friday, Dr. Nottage said the mere fact that the report notes that the criminal threat level in New Providence is “critical” and the criminal threat level in Grand Bahama is “high” should come as no surprise.

Dr. Nottage said the new Christie administration has been left with a hefty task on its hand and is hoping the programmes it puts in place will work.

“Insofar as the U.S. report is concerned, there is no doubt that we inherited a situation where over the past 12 to 24 months there has been an escalation in serious crime in our country,” he said.

“We all know that last year, in 2011, there was a record number of murders. But these are things we are aware of; I don’t think there are any surprises in that report. And I don’t think Bahamians would have been surprised by it.”

Last year, there were 127 homicides in The Bahamas up from 94 in 2010.

So far this year The Bahamas has recorded 54 homicides, 10 more than what was recorded at this same point in 2011.

According to the report, New Providence, in particular, has experienced a spike in crime that has adversely affected the public.

Dr. Nottage said less than a week into his ministerial post he has even witnessed some assaults on tourists.

“As I stood in my office (Friday) I looked down at the port,” he added. “I watched the boats coming in and tourists coming off the boats and they were being harassed.”

“I made a phone call and that phone call should result in an effective response from the relevant law enforcement agencies to ensure that tourists have the protection and have an enjoyable stay in our country.”

He continued, “I hope to be able to engage people down there on the docks and dialogue with them so that they can appreciate the need for tourists to feel safe. Other than that, we are going to boost our tourist policing programme on the Cable Beach strip as well as downtown Nassau and we expect it to be able to provide increased safety.”

Dr. Nottage said right now he has no real fear of any travel advisories or tourists being afraid to travel to The Bahamas.

It has also been noted that armed robberies, property theft, purse snatching and general theft of personal property remain the most common crimes against tourists in The Bahamas.

The U.S. report found that in 2011, there was a dramatic increase in general crimes, with violent crimes typically occurring in Over-the-Hill areas.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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