In light of the recent break-ins and thefts of personal property at Bahama Palm Shores, a community meeting was held at the High Banks firehouse on August 12. Presenting at the meeting were Chief of Police for Abaco Superintendent Noel Curry and Detective Farquharson from the Central Police Station along with Sgt Darville of the Sandy Point police station. Residents and local government officials travelled from Cherokee Sound, Casuarina Point, Crossing Rocks and Sandy Point to join the people of Bahama Palm Shores at this meeting. Also in attendance was Administrator for South Abaco, Lavon Harris Smith.
Sgt Farquharson of the Central Intelligence Unit gave an update on investigations into the recent break-ins in Bahama Palm Shores. He stated that all the information had been gathered from the six homes broken into, a number of suspects had been looked at and fingerprints sent into the fingerprinting system in Nassau but as yet no arrests had been made. He stated that the Toyota car, generator, F1 50 truck and trailer which had been stolen had been recovered and that the police will continue their investigations until they get results.
He hoped that they would see more people taking preventative measures such as looking to buy alarm systems, especially the second homeowners who are away for much of the year. He stated that they can even watch these cameras from their homes in the US. When asked if these cameras are helpful in catching criminals, Sgt Farquharson stated that indeed they have been very helpful in catching people who have been breaking into businesses.
Sgt Darville is responsible for the whole of the South of Abaco which includes Sandy Point, Crossing Rocks, Bahama Palm Shores, Casuarina Point, Little Harbour and Cherokee Sound. This is a very large area to cover and Sgt Darville stated that there has been a serious problem since January because the Sandy Point police have been without their official vehicle since it was damaged by an aeroplane during a police operation in Sandy Point.
This has prevented the police from doing patrols as they should although they have been using their own private vehicles whenever possible. The Jeep is now in Nassau undergoing repairs and it is hoped that it will be back in South Abaco soon.
Sgt Darville said that it would be a good idea for any residents of South Abaco when they go away to call the Sandy Point police station and let them know so that the police can check on their properties.
Superintendent Noel Curry stated that the location of the police station for South Abaco in Sandy Point does not make sense; it is too far from many of the communities and so presents a great challenge. More vehicles are needed and Superintendent Curry urged the residents of Bahama Palm Shores to write a letter to the Commissioner of Police in Nassau requesting more vehicles for South Abaco.
Superintendent Curry also stated that he is trying to establish a police station between Cherokee and Sandy Point and there is the possibility that one may be placed in Schooner Bay. “This would help in a tremendous way and would cut down the time it takes for the police to reach crimes,” he stated. Supt Curry continued to pledge to work with the people of the South and all of Abaco to keep it safe by arresting and exposing criminals.
He also stated that he would love to work to establish a Crime Watch group in Bahama Palm Shores.
Supt Curry also gave an overview of crime throughout Abaco and stated that, in fact, he was not able to bring with him all the police he had intended to that evening because just as they were about to leave a call came in that a boat had been sighted off Channel Cay and so Police, Defence Force, and Immigration officers had to be deployed immediately to investigate.
“Crime on Abaco covers a very wide scope,” stated Superintendent Curry who gave several examples of crimes which have been happening this last month in Treasure Cay and Marsh Harbour. “There are 15 persons currently in Abaco with monitoring devices on their legs, two in South Abaco and the others in the North and in Marsh Harbour. We can track them to the second,” he stated. “We have caught a number of illegal immigrants, and since January 1 and August 11, 105 were sent out of Abaco, three being just the previous day. I am pleased to announce that Joseph Aime was arrested in Dundas Town. He had on his person a wig, a dress, a crowbar and a gun and you know he was not going to any party,” stated Superintendent Curry.
“I am pleased to say that he is now in Her Majesty’s Prison”.
The meeting was opened for questions and suggestions. A suggestion was made that posters containing photographs of wanted persons could be distributed to the various communities and posted on boards for everyone to see and in this way maybe more criminals could be caught.
Another suggestion was that when construction is taking place in a certain area construction workers should be vetted very carefully and also residents should make careful note of any people driving in and out of their neighbourhoods. The police were asked if they check Bahamas Fast Ferries leaving Sandy Point and the reply was that yes they do, going out and coming in as well as Pinders Ferry at Crown Haven and boats coming into the port for any illegal persons, goods, drugs or guns.
In answer to the question as to how many police officers are on the island of Abaco it was stated that there are 59 officers altogether between Grand Cay and Moore’s Island, the majority of whom are stationed in Marsh Harbour. There are only two regular police officers for the 50 to 60 miles between Sandy Point and Cherokee Sound which was the main concern of persons at that evening’s meeting.
Supt Curry stated that there are also three reservists in South Abaco but that not all reservists continue to perform their duties. Shortly there will be a recruitment of reservists when the police are hoping to enlist several persons. Persons may apply from the age of 18 years and may serve as long as they are physically able.
Superintendent Curry encouraged people to frequently go onto the Abaco Police Community Page on Facebook since there they will be able to view all of the wanted criminals and also read about the results of investigations. He also very generously gave out his cell phone number, which is 424-4109, at which he can be reached day or night and he may also be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. The telephone number for the Sandy Point police station is 366-4044.
Bruce Smith, Chairman of the Palm Shores Homeowners Association, thanked the three police officers for coming and speaking at the meeting and advised all present to; “Be your neighbours’ keeper. Look out for one another and if you see a vehicle in your neighbourhood which you do not know get the license plate number and description of the vehicle and also take a picture if possible.”