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bahamas

Monday, February 6, 2023

bahamas

Timeline: The Long Road to Coleby-Davis Assault Case Closure

For almost a year, the public awaited the outcome of the investigation against Transport and Housing Minister Jobeth Coleby-Davis, who was accused of hitting an officer with her vehicle at a Carnival event.

Since politicians are rarely prosecuted in the Bahamas, many predicted that no charges will be brought against the sitting member of parliament even though the police claimed it was investigating the matter.

Commissioner of Police Clayton Fernander announced the case’s closure on Friday.

Here is a look at the road to the Jobeth Coleby-Davis’ investigation

May 21, 2022

A Corporal of the Royal Police Force was allegedly struck with a vehicle driven by Housing Minister Jobeth Coleby-Davis at Carnival Road March when he tried to prevent her from entering an area that was cordoned off on West Bay Street in the area of St Albans Drive.

Coleby-Davis was driving a silver SUV when the police officer told her that he was instructed not to let any vehicles through, to which she shouted, “Do you know who I am!’ as she attempted to go around the barricades and hit him before he moved from her pathway. A witness along with friends claimed to have seen the event around 10 am and filed a police report.

The officer was reportedly injured to the leg and received medical help at the hospital.

May 25, 2022

Coleby-Davis denied the allegations outside of Parliament stating that she would never react in the manner described since she was with her daughter at the time, hinting that she was politically targeted. “I stand by that and my grandmother always taught me that the last laugh is the best one and so it’ll be cleared up.”

Commissioner of Police at the time, Paul Rolle said the Royal Bahamas Police Force was investigating the matter and his assistant commissioner was finding out “exactly what happened.”

“We are dealing with that from within. I don’t have a timeline. Whenever that is finished, I don’t know that it’s something I will be discussing so much in the media, I don’t know what the outcome is going to be,” Rolle said.

July 6, 2022

Pressed by former Prime Minister Hubert Minnis who was asking for an update on the matter, Prime Minister Philip Davis denied there was ever an official investigation into the alleged incident during a debate in the House of Assembly.

He summed it up to be an internal inquiry to determine who was telling the truth, and nothing more.

May 30, 2022

By this time, a video to exonerate her, circulated on social media reportedly showing the incident. However, Police Staff Association Executive Chairman Ricardo Walkes said the video does not prove anything since it does not show what happened to the officer before filming began. “The video that’s going around shows what happened afterward, not what happened before the officer called and received backup,” Walkes said.

June 29, 2022

Former Police Commissioner Paul Rolle said he directed the incident be turned over to the complaints branch of the Royal Bahamas Police Force.

“We were trying to get Jobeth, Minister Coleby to give her statement. Because there were statements made in the public domain, but none was made, no complaint, no official complaint was made.

“The officer’s alleging that he was struck. And I think she was making some allegations as well.

“I want to hear what her allegations were. I said let me take myself out of it.

“They do the investigation and then make the recommendation to me.

“I do want to believe that she did make an allegation. Like I said, the officer was out sick. So, we…can’t proceed until he is certified to return to work to be interviewed,” Rolle said.

January 27, 2023

Newly appointed Commissioner Clayton Fernander said the matter is closed and the investigations show no evidence that the police officer was struck by Coleby-Davis. “… We deal with facts and evidence. That’s what we deal with and that’s what you need to go to court.”

The officer will reportedly return to his duties as an officer of the RBPF.

Family and Friends in Shock: Eleuthera Car Crash Victim Had an Infectious Smile

Family and friends are grieving the sudden loss of a guidance counselor killed in a car crash off Queen’s Highway, Eleuthera on Friday.

“I am in complete disbelief and feel completely broken. I don’t know what else to say,” best friend D’Licia Taylor said.

Chara Major, a resident of Tarpum Bay, was killed after 5 pm in Salt Bluff when her grey Nissan Note hit a Casuarina tree. Images circulating social media show extensive damage to the vehicle from which she had to be extricated.

Taylor who was also her makeup artist remembers her infectious smile. “It’s hard to say goodbye. It’s really bad and I’m trying. I have so many questions…How am I supposed to do your brows, which lipstick you want…No more nothing? That smile and that grin…I just don’t know.”

The 27-year-old guidance counselor was recently posted at three primary schools in Eleuthera last year September–Emily G. Petty Primary, Emma Cooper Primary and James Cistern Primary Schools–where teachers said she “truly loved what she did and cherished her students and colleagues.”

Minister of Education Glenys Hanna-Martin expressed her sympathies on social media, describing Major’s death as “tremendous loss to the nation.”

After her tragic death, family members were trying to locate one of her beloved pet dogs named Tavari which she often took with her to makeup appointments. Her aunt Anthea Karagiannis said the dog was apparently removed from an apartment where she lived on the island.

“Tafari is a member of our family and we are further distraught to learn that we can not locate [him].”

Major graduated from St John’s College in Nassau, studied psychology at Winston Salem State University and soon returned home to begin her career, which was short-lived.

Haiti Police Riot After Gangs Kill 14 Officers; Davis Orders Diplomats Leave the Troubled Nation

Haitian police officers rioted in the streets of Port-au-Prince on Thursday, demanding its government act after armed gangs killed 14 of their colleagues.

Dressed as civilians, officers blocked the streets and entrance to the country’s main airport as Prime Minister Ariel Henry arrived from Argentina where he attended the Community of Latin American and Caribbean Summit(CELAC).

Before flooding the airport, the rioters invaded Henry’s home where gunshots rang off.

Protesters attempting to break into the Haitian prime minister's residence
Protesters attempting to break into the Haitian prime minister’s residence.
Demonstrators break into the Toussaint Louverture International Airport to protest the recent killings of police officers by armed gangs, in Port-au-Prince
Demonstrators break into the Toussaint Louverture International Airport to protest the recent killings of police officers by armed gangs, in Port-au-Prince

Earlier in the day, reports were that police had stopped the local charge d’affairs and taken their vehicles and weapons.

Since then, Prime Minister Philip Davis who returned From Argentina on Wednesday ordered an immediate involuntary departure for Bahamian diplomatic personnel.

All diplomats are reportedly safe.

The National Union of Haitian Police Officers says 14 officers have been killed since the beginning of the year in gang attacks on police stations.

Seven officers were killed in a shootout on Wednesday alone, according to Haiti’s National Police. And in other instances, two officers were killed inside a police station in the country’s northern state, while four were killed execution-style in the streets of Port-au-Prince.

Video circulating social media shows the naked and bloodied bodies of six men stretched out in the street as their guns lay on their chests. Another video shows two masked men smoking cigarettes from the dismembered hands and feet of the dead men.

The gang who killed them, known as Gan Grif, still has the bodies, police said.

As the political and social conditions in Haiti continue to deteriorate, its citizens leave the embattled country in droves for greener pastures like the Bahamas and Florida.

 

Featured photos: Reuters/Ralph Tedy Erol

‘Humble, Respectful and Kindhearted’: Retired Teacher Mourns Man Killed by BB Gun

A former teacher of a man who was killed in an alleged accidental shooting over the weekend expressed fond memories of the victim.

Cleveland Ramsey who served as a principal and teacher in the Ministry of Education said Lavardo Fernander “was one of them in whom I was well pleased.”

“During my 19 years in education and 13 of my last years as principal, I have been afforded the opportunity to teach and help mold many outstanding men who are now making their contributions in their own unique ways in the Bahamas. Lavardo Ferguson was one of them.”

Ferguson, 37 was killed while enjoying a day with friends shooting canisters. A coworker’s BB-gun reportedly discharged while he was clearing the weapon and Ferguson was struck to his upper body and died on the scene.

“He was a hardworking young man who was destined for greatness,” Ramsey said of the married father of five children.

Another teacher Denise Hope said Ferguson was a “very respectful young man.”

Ferguson was expected to move to Eleuthera to begin a new job before the tragedy struck and cousin Valentino Williams remains shocked at his death since the two were just planning their birthdays in the Berry Island where they grew up and schooled.

After schooling, Ferguson worked as a boat captain, carpenter and cook.

Police said they are investigating the circumstances of his death and are questioning the 27-year-old coworker in regard to the alleged accident. But Ferguson’s mother Michelle Aranha told the Nassau Guardian that someone should be held accountable.

“They are saying it is an accident, but how can an accident cost me a child that I had for 37 years, leaving behind five children?… What is an accident going to do for them to be taken care of?

“But you can’t accidentally kill my son and just expect nothing to come out of it. That’s not fair to nobody.”

Deaths by BB guns are unusual in the Bahamas but Ferguson’s death proved fatal even though the rifle does not have the power of an automatic weapon.

‘This a Course I’m Ready to Go Down for’: Woman Dies Days After Viral Video About Poor Healthcare at PMH

Just days after decrying her stay at the Princess Margaret Hospital, a woman died from health complications.

Kenise Darville took to social media last week Wednesday in a more than 20-minute live stream video where she condemned PMH for its quality of healthcare.

The video went viral and blood donations were made to get her back to good health. She was said to be doing well since Tuesday when her husband Jerad posted to social media, “Because of your support we now have the best doctors tending to her. She is in special care and has improved tremendously in her spirits.”

Kenise’s passionate video showed her with tears streaming down her cheeks as she cried, “It [inadequate care] needs to stop. They [hospital staff members] are reckless, nonchalant, no empathy.”

Though details are limited as to the sickness she suffered and how she died, Kenise said she suffered from back pain which prompted her to check into the hospital at 3 am on January 2nd. Showing blood bruises on her hands, she complained that her blood count was low which doctors confirmed was at 20,000. This prevented her blood from clotting.

Kenise anticipated that doctors would order more platelets as promised but said they later returned on the eleventh suggesting that she seek blood donation from family and friends. At this time, her blood count was at seven thousand.

“These people doing a whole bunch of foolishness,” she said angrily. No hospital is supposed to run like this. PMH needs to be exposed.”

Kenise said had she known earlier, she could have asked family for blood donations a lot sooner.

“They didn’t see the urgency in that. They sit by and let all these days pass. No doctor came to see me on Friday. The weekend is hell. It’s worst on holidays.”

She was soon prompted to stop the ranting and recording by a nurse who stopped by her room where she lay in isolation.

“Miss, at this point, some people just have to go down for a cause and this a course I’m ready to go down for,” she said.

“When will you’ll start caring for people inside this hospital?” she asked the nurse.

The mother of three boys who was also the owner of a creative shop said her mother died weeks earlier and was buried three days prior to her admittance to the hospital.

And though she knew the bad experiences at the medical center, she had no medical insurance to receive private care at Doctor’s Hospital.

“No hospital suppose to run like this. PMH needs to be exposed.

“They [doctors] don’t read your notes and ask what you in here for. It’s ridiculous.

“This entire system just needs to change.”

Bahamas Murder Surge Shows No Sign of Abating in 2023

With a little more than 2 weeks in the new year, the Bahamas is now faced with nearly 10 murders, all but one instance, occurring in New Providence.

2022 ended with 123 murders and now it seems the murder rate is set to trend upward for 2023.

Killings have taken their toll on New Providence and it is worrying that the surge may continue.

Those most impacted are young men.

The latest murder case involved 30-year-old Defense Force Officer Alvarez McCoy who was gunned down at his residence in Fox Hill on Wednesday morning after arriving home in his vehicle.

About 4 hours before that tragedy, a man identified on social media as Robert aka Wong, 32, was killed on the front porch of a family residence on Sumner Street, Red Land Acres when gunmen exited a vehicle and fired gunshots at him.

Then earlier on Tuesday morning, a man in his mid-thirties was killed in his car on his way to work when gunmen intercepted him and shot through his car window, killing him instantly.

Then Monday, in Abaco, 24-year-old John Joseph, was killed around 6.30 pm as he arrived home in Bahama Coral. A gunman shot him multiple times and fled in a vehicle.

Why is this happening?

Commissioner of Police Clayton Fernander has attributed the heightened crime last year to illegal guns on the streets and bail granted to suspects charged with murder who commit other acts of violence after release.

Just Wednesday, he told reporters that the criminals charged with murder last year were already given bail and are back on the streets.

“When you look at the [number] of individuals who were charged last year, and the [detection] rate is high. You don’t see that in the world when you’re talking about over 60 percent [detection] rate with respect to homicides.

“And out of that 67 percent, you are looking at between 80 to 90 matters solved, and if you were to do your research, you would note that the majority of those individuals are on bail as we speak. That’s a problem,” he said.

“I’m talking about individuals who are on bail for two and three murders and something is wrong with that…

“Individuals who are found in possession of a firearm, 95 percent of the serious crimes that are occurring the weapon of choice is a firearm, so we want to work hand in hand with the … justice system to make sure that it works and we will do our part as law enforcement,” Fernander said.

Police Catch Young Gunman Trying to Flee the Crime Scene After Murder

An 18-year-old gunman was apprehended Wednesday morning after he allegedly killed a man sitting on a front porch while visiting his family in Red Land Acres on Tuesday night. 

The gunman, a resident of Kennedy Subdivision was attempting to run away after shooting Robert aka Wong, but was intercepted by officers of the Royal Bahamas Police Force.

Robert was 32 years old and died on the scene from multiple gunshot wounds.

Authorities are still looking for another man who helped the 18-year-old gunman. They ditched the getaway car, a black Suzuki Swift, in bushes near the scene of the crime and tried to escape before the young gunman was captured.

A cousin of Robert described him as “soft” and “innocent.”

“No Robby, no please tell me it’s a dream. [I’m] coming and hoping to see you when I come back in the hood to hail the family. How will I see my cousin’s soft and innocent smile again?” she lamented.

“He didn’t deserve this, not him. He had a head on his body not in the streets.”

A friend last saw him at the Christmas and New Year’s Day Junkanoo celebration.

Robert is seen in the featured picture

Loved Ones Shocked After Killing of a RBDF Officer

Grief and anger have overwhelmed loved ones after the brutal killing of a Royal Bahamas Defence Force officer early Wednesday morning.

Though details are limited, family and friends are reeling after the brutal killing of Avery McCoy circulated on social media.

 

The 30-year-old arrived at his residence in Fox Hill around 2 am when gunmen fired into the right window of his vehicle, shooting the officer, who was taken to hospital but died.

Friend Shawn-Gabrielle Gomez said, “This news still has me dizzy. I can’t believe it. Alvarez McCoy, my heart is broken.”

Another friend, Shonda Clarke said, “Now I know this can’t be real. Nope, it can’t.”

And Shanon Hepburn said, “This hurts me bro,” while Ashley Munroe said, “This better be some sick joke. What this is I wake up to?”

 

In 2017, McCoy joined the Royal Bahamas Defence Force where he served in the mechanic department at the Harbour Patrol Unit where his superiors described him as “energetic and dependable” showing “great interest in extending his knowledge in his craft.”

A former coworker who remembered him before his transition as an officer saw him as an inspiration.

“It was a pleasure working alongside you—them water park days. Watching you transition to the RBDF was inspiring to most of us, your team members—that there was more once we didn’t settle,” Lystra Bastian said.

Though police have not yet revealed what unfolded, his mother said he came home earlier in the night to retrieve a cooler for a Lodge meeting. On his second arrival home, she opened the house door to let him in and returned to bed. Soon after, she heard gunshots and screams from her son, who she said jumped out of the vehicle and ran to the side of the house, and collapsed.

“God is strengthening me and keeping me,” she told Eye Witness News.

When the new year rolled in, McCoy posted to social media, expressing hope for a fulfilled year. “Welcome to 2023 which marks the beginning of your season. In this season, I just want you to know that God will do more with your less. Stop worrying about what you don’t have and start thanking him cause it’s already done.

“Happy New Year. It’s winning season,” he said, not knowing that 18 days later he would meet his demise.

 

Over 150 Cuban Migrants Stage Hunger Strike, Threatening to Force the Hands of Officials

Cuban migrants housed at the Bahamas Department of Corrections have stopped eating.

After one week at the facility, 152 migrants are demanding to be confined elsewhere, routinely at the Bahamas Department of Corrections.

Hurls of insults in Spanish are echoed down the hall as they beat the prison gates and throw their clothing out of the cells into the corridors.

Fox Hill prison

Officers familiar with the situation said the group should not have been placed at the facility and is protesting to get the attention of officials.

It is reported prison officials have been trying to get immigration officials to visit the group but as of Thursday afternoon, no one from the Department had arrived.

Of the group, six men are confined to a cell and most are reported to be former marines from the communist island nation where they escaped economic and political woes, worsened by tightened U.S. sanctions and negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic— food shortages and inflation.

Prison officers fear the group may use its tactical skills on guards so attempts were made to keep the men in their cells.

A father and three adult sons are reported to be among the group.

Some have reportedly collapsed after refusing the food offered food by prison staff.

A man in the group translates their demands from Spanish to English.

In recent weeks, the Bahamas has seen a significant influx of Cuban migrants.

 

Nation Builder Rev CB Moss Is on Ventilator After Collapse at Majority Rule Church Service

Reverend CB Moss, a long-time advocate for Bain and Grants Town Over the Hill Community is hospitalized after collapsing at the country’s Majority Rule Day Service at St Agnes Anglican Church on Tuesday morning.

Moss, a member of the National Hero’s Committee, was in a procession in the church when he reportedly collapsed and was tended to by Health Minister Michael Darville and later transported to the hospital with FNM Leader Michael Pintard by his side.

Onlookers saw the pastor of Mt Olive Church stumbled during the procession, then wilted before he was assisted to a chair.

Moss is said to be connected to a breathing apparatus at Doctor’s Hospital as doctors try to keep him alive.

     

Moss, over the years, has contributed to the country’s national development through his involvement in various community, political, and religious programs. He manages the Bain Grants Town Advancement Association, organizing food and clothing outreaches for the residents of Bain and Grants Town where he was reared.

“I moved out, but I didn’t really move out,” he said during an interview in 2019.

He is a former Senator of the Progressive Liberal Party.