Friday, June 10, 2011

44 percent of the murders committed so far this year in The Bahamas are linked to drugs and criminal enterprise says National Security Minister Tommy Turnquest

44% of 2011 murders linked to drugs

Guardian Staff Reporter

Nassau, Bahamas

An analysis of the 57 murders committed so far this year shows that 44 percent of them are linked to drugs and criminal enterprise, according to National Security Minister Tommy Turnquest.

Turnquest said yesterday there is no question that there is a strong link between the drug trade and serious crimes in general.

He said police could not determine the motives for an additional 16 murders.

However, police suspect that they may also be drug related but do not have sufficient information to officially make that declaration.

If those 16 murders are included, that would mean that nealy 72 percent of the total murders so far are linked to drugs.

Turnquest did not provide the established motives for the remaining 16 murders.

“What we are seeing today is the result of the drug trade that sadly gripped our country a generation ago,” said the minister, while contributing to the 2011/2012 budget debate in the House of Assembly.

“The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in a 2007 report, draws a line between the illegal drug trade and other crime, including crimes such as illegal gun smuggling, illegal immigration and crimes of a very violent nature such as murder.

“The trafficking of drugs and firearms into and through our country continues and it remains a matter of concern. This is borne out by the statistics on the amount of marijuana, cocaine and illegal firearms seizures that have taken place in our country over the past five years.”

During that time period, more than 370,000 pounds of illegal narcotics were seized, according to information Turnquest tabled yesterday.

The report also shows that over the past five years authorities seized 1,211 firearms. And so far this year, 184 firearms were seized.

“With this in mind, the information gathering, research and coordination work of the National Anti-Drug Secretariat (NADS) is putting us in a better position to make the connections between drugs and crime, so that we can do more about them. It also reduces the scope for duplication of efforts of various national bodies,” Turnquest said.

The minister revealed that NADS brings together concerned government ministries/departments, non-governmental organizations and civil society, so that their combined expertise and experience can be pooled in crafting responses to the drug problem.

“To further strengthen this approach, my ministry seeks to merge the NADS and the National Drug Council, now under the portfolio of the Ministry of Health, so that the drug challenges can be more effectively and efficiently addressed,” he said.

Jun 09, 2011