HomeNewsBriefAuthorities Blame Gangs for the Bahamas’ Bloody Start to 2017
BRIEF

Authorities Blame Gangs for the Bahamas’ Bloody Start to 2017

CARIBBEAN / 16 FEB 2017 BY MIMI YAGOUB EN

A wave of gang-related murders in the Bahamas has forced the military onto the streets, a worrying development in a country where violence is reaching critical levels.

The Caribbean archipelago of approximately 388,000 people has already seen at least 27 murders since the start of the year, with seven dead over the past weekend in the capital of Nassau, according to Tribune 242. If violence remains at this level, the murder count by the end of 2017 would hit 224 -- equivalent to a homicide rate of 57.77 per 100,000 inhabitants. 

The crime spree has prompted the government to deploy the army onto the streets to assist the police. National Security Minister Bernard Nottage announced this and a number of other security measures on February 15, including increased foot patrols, lockdowns and raids of "crime hot spots," as well as the creation of a gun interdiction task force.

SEE ALSO:  Coverage of the Caribbean

Minister Nottage attributed most of the murders to feuds within a small group of "violent offenders...affiliated with gangs, guns and drugs."

But the response to this year's bloody events has been mixed. On February 13, Prime Minister Perry Christie described the situation as "reminiscent of the Wild West," and said the state had to respond by "flooding the streets with officers," Caribbean 360 reported.

That same day, however, Police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade told the press: "It is a falsehood to tell the Bahamian public and the world at large that the Bahamas is in crisis, that is nonsense." He blamed the murders on youths who "have fallen through the cracks of our society," and assured law-abiding citizens they need not fear attack.

InSight Crime Analysis

The Bahamas is not typically considered a major center of criminal activity, but if the murder rate continues at its current pace it would be comparable to that of countries such as Honduras, which has long suffered from rampant insecurity in large part because of the strong gang presence there.

Disputes between gangs are often drug related, and narcotics trafficking is a key concern in the Caribbean country. Located only 50 miles from US shores, its 700 cays and islands make the Bahamas an optimal transit point for illegal goods.

The security crisis also speaks to the authorities' struggles to respond to violent outbreaks. The mixed messages being presented by state institutions are a possible indication that the government is not totally united on the security front. Police officers are also frequent targets of violence, as demonstrated by the shooting of two officers only days ago. This factor could well be hindering the police's ability to combat criminal groups. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

EL SALVADOR / 3 MAY 2021

The decision by legislators aligned with El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele to oust the country’s top prosecutor may spell the…

ARGENTINA / 1 FEB 2022

In 2021, most countries in Latin America and the Caribbean experienced a marked increase in murders. Resurgent violence was to…

JAMAICA / 19 MAY 2021

Street lamps are being pilfered rapidly in Jamaica, hampering government efforts to illuminate crime-ridden areas.

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…

THE ORGANIZATION

‘Ndrangheta Investigation, Exclusive Interview With Suriname President Make Waves

2 DEC 2022

Two weeks ago, InSight Crime published an investigation into how Italian mafia clan the ‘Ndrangheta built a cocaine trafficking network from South America to ‘Ndrangheta-controlled Italian ports. The investigation generated…