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royalbahamasdefenceforce

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

royalbahamasdefenceforce

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.

 

The Survival of the Fittest: Most Men Were Rescued From the Capsized Boat. Women and Child Died

Only the strong survived the boat tragedy on Sunday when 17 Haitians including a child died when a human smuggling vessel capsized in Bahamian waters on their way to Florida.

The dead included 15 women, one man, and a child. The other 25 passengers were rescued from the 30-foot speedboat which overturned in choppy waters in Nassau.

It was reported that 60 people may have been on board the boat and authorities may be searching for up to eighteen missing people, unaccounted for.

In a picture issued by the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, only men were seen sitting atop the capsized vessel, awaiting rescue by divers.

A woman was pulled from the hull of the boat and was reported to have survived due to an air pocket.

Commissioner of Police Clayton Fernander said divers heard a knocking from the hull of the boat and found one woman.

“I think that’s what kept her alive.”

A graphic image showing the deceased recovered from the boating tragedy. The migrants were Haitians being smuggled to Miami, Florida.

Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry said he sympathized with the parents of the victims.

“This new drama saddens the whole nation,” he said. “While sympathizing with the parents of the victims, I launch, once again, an appeal for national reconciliation in order to solve the problems that are driving away, far from our soil, our brothers, our sisters, our children.”

The passengers who survived the ordeal said they paid smugglers $3000 to $8000 to catch the boat ride to Florida. Authorities have since arrested two Bahamian traffickers who are known for other criminal acts.

Enough is Enough: Bahamians Demand Action After Killing of RBDF Officer

Bahamians took to social media to express outrage over the country’s latest murder involving a service member of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force.

Joevonte Miller, in his 20’s, was killed on Thursday night around 9 pm after arriving home on Pineyard Road. Police say three assailants shot and kill the young officer as he attempted to open the front door of his home.

Miller ran and succumbed to his injuries on the verge of the street.

Since then, Bahamians have expressed anger as gun violence continues to soar, and the country’s young men suffer the most in these targeted attacks.

Thomas Porter demanded, “New day government, please do something.”

Da La Paige Carey called for punishment by electric chairs. “If the government does not want to put hanging back on the book, buy a few electric chairs because it’s ridiculous.”

Marolyn Wells joined the chorus, advocating for the return of hanging, “What a sin. When will all these murders end? It seems as though the government is not concerned. Bring back hanging” she said.

Others like Melba Collins Morley asked for the government to seek the assistance of “extra trained police officers from other countries to sweep the island from all sides to take care of these murders.”

Some believe the government’s stance on crime is too soft, calling for stricter measures implemented by Cuba, which has become known for its hardened approach to crime.

“We have to have an approach on violent crime as they do in Cuba. We have to stop taking it lightly. It is serious. It takes away people’s freedom. It messes up families forever,” Diane Delisle said.

Bengena Lafleur said she heard the barrage of 18 to 20 bullets being fired, but immediately thought it to be fireworks.

Press Liaison Superintendent Audley Peters said the details are still unknown, adding that “At some point, we would know the cause of this incident.

“We are following significant leads. This investigation seems to be promising. All the details must come together and we have to get the information from other stakeholders to know what happened, who is responsible, what is the cause of this incident and bring it to some closure so that we can get the adjudication process started.”

Coast Guards End Search. 20 People Onboard Boat from Bimini Missing

The US Coast Guard suspended its search for 20 people on board a 29-foot vessel that left Bimini for Florida, but never made it.

Officials say the blue and white 29-foot Mako Cuddy Cabin vessel reportedly left Bimini, Bahamas on Monday with 20 passengers and was expected to arrive in Lake Worth, Florida.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the missing people. I encourage anyone with information about the people aboard to contact us as soon as possible,” said Captain Stephen Burdian, Seventh District Chief of Response.”

Coast guard authorities said they along with the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and the Bahamas Air Sea and Rescue Association searched nearly 17,000 square miles of sea, for about three days, with no trace of the vessel.

A family member of someone on board the vessel alerted authorities in the Bahamas after a relative on board the vessel did not call alerting that they had arrived in Florida, according to Petty Officer Third Class Jose Hernandez. 

Hernandez told the Sun-Sentinel, “We don’t care if they’re illegals or drug trafficking,” Hernandez said. “We don’t want any lives lost at sea.”

What is not known

  • why the boat was going to Florida
  • which part of Lake Worth Beach it was headed to
  • the names and nationalities of those on board

Andros Sees 51 Illegal Migrants After Christmas

Fifty-one Haitian nationals were found on Andros on Monday.

  • 44 Haitian men and 7 Haitian women were arrested and detained by officers of the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) and Bahamas Immigration Department.
  • Their vessel ran aground at Mars Bay, Andros.
  • Immigration officials have been dispatched to Andros for investigation and further processing of the migrants who are presently being held at the Government Complex, The Bluff.
  • All migrants have received medical attention from the local Ministry of Health personnel, and are reported to be doing well.
  • The public is reminded that The Department of Immigration is committed to carrying out the mandates of our agency to combat illegal migration by establishing effective border control management to ensure compliance with the Statute Laws of our country.

This comes after 36 adult Haitian men and nine women were found in Long Island on Saturday after their vessel ran aground. They were captured and were to appear before a Magistrate in Long Island on Tuesday.

RBDF Finds T&C Fishermen After 8 Days Adrift

The Royal Bahamas Defence Force rescued two nationals of Turks and Caicos, stranded at sea.

The fishermen were spotted off Great Inagua in a 27 ft fishing vessel, drifting approximately 7 miles west of the island.

A US Police patrol vessel and Defence Force Marines boarded the vessel to investigate.

The men said they were stranded at sea for 8 days after experiencing engine problems.

They are reported to be in fair health and were escorted to Matthew Town, to a medical facility to receive medical attention before being handed over to Immigration officials for further processing.

Turks and Caicos Fishermen rescued at Sea
Fishermen brought ashore for medical assistance after 8 days at sea. Photo credit: RBDF

Featured image: RBDF

RBDF Lends a Helping Hand to Retired Officers Affected by Hardships of COVID-19

The Royal Bahamas Defence Force distributed bags of groceries to assist retired officers of the force and the families of marine officers who died.

The Royal Bahamas Defence Force Veterans Association teamed up with the force’s Veterans Affair Department to distribute over 100 parcels to provide relief to its members affected by the hardships of COVID-19.

RBDF Veterans Association assists Former Comrades
RBDF Photos: Able Seaman Fredrick Russell
RBDF Photos: Able Seaman Fredrick Russell

Spearheaded by President of the Veterans Association, Chief Petty Officer (Retired) Harold Bosfield said, “During these times of uncertainty, we thought it fitting to provide some relief of need, hardship or distress to our members.

“It is but a little gesture, but as a former member of the Defence Force, we are still one family.”

Commodore Raymond King commended the RBDF Veterans Association for their support to veterans and former comrades.

RBDF Rangers Clean Coral Harbour Community

The Royal Bahamas Defence Force Rangers are giving back in the form of community service.

They offered assistance to the Coral Harbour community in a clean-up effort, trimming trees off the sidewalks and removing unwanted debris from the main Coral Harbour stretch.

Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Dwight Rolle said, “Overall, it was a great learning experience for the young Rangers. They were excited about grasping the concept of giving back to the community.”

The RBDF Rangers program consist of junior and senior high school students.

At Least Three Deaths Investigated for the Coronavirus

As rumours swirl surrounding the death of a marine officer, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pearl McMillan said three or four deaths are being investigated for COVID-19.

During the COVID-19 Update, Dr. McMillan said health officials face challenges in COVID-19 death classification.

“The difficulty is getting all of the information to determine whether  or not a case that was not outright a COVID-19, fits within that…on the death certificate if COVID19 will be the major cause that contributed to that death.”

The Royal Bahamas Defence Force issued condolences for Leading Mechanic Livingston Pratt, who passed away on Thursday. Now many are speculating that his death was related to COVID-19, as the number of cases among law enforcement officers climb.

Dr. McMillan said three cases in Grand Bahama had to be reviewed by officials and those cases were added to the dashboard for the total coronavirus deaths.

She said a committee is reviewing the contributing factors of the three additional deaths to concretize whether or not they were COVID-19 deaths or COVID19 associated deaths.

Last-week the Ministry of Health confirmed three additional COVID-19 related deaths. The total COVID deaths now stands at 14.