|Police defend silence on rapes|
Guardian Senior Reporter
Published: Jun 27, 2012
A senior police official yesterday defended the decision of police not to issue a warning on rape until pressed on the matter by a Nassau Guardian reporter on Monday.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson’s defense came on the same day that Long Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner criticized the Christie administration for not speaking out about recent rapes in New Providence.
Ferguson said the incidents were included in the police’s daily crime reports as armed robberies or home invasions, but said the specifics of the sexual assaults were not spelled out to protect the victims.
He added that police repeatedly warned people to be vigilant in areas where the alleged incidents occurred.
“I think the police have been doing a good job in updating the public to crime that is happening but then they may not have understood it the way the police were making the report,” he told The Nassau Guardian yesterday. “[The police] are not going to come out and speak directly to those issues that have private implications.”
When asked if he thought an earlier warning on the alleged rapes would have protected more victims he said, “The police on a daily basis issue public awareness advising people how to move about, how to be careful, how to take note of things that are around their premises and all these security tips.”
On Monday, Ferguson said police had reports of numerous rapes that occurred in New Providence over the last few weeks.
The most recent incident involved a woman who was sexually assaulted in a suburb of western New Providence around 5 a.m. Monday.
Ferguson said four of the alleged victims, who live in eastern New Providence, reported sexual assaults over the past few weeks. Another four alleged rapes occurred in western New Providence in recent months, according to Ferguson.
He only revealed the specifics of the sexual attacks at a press conference after a Nassau Guardian reporter pressed him about the alleged rapes.
Butler-Turner, former minister of state for social services, said the two ministers responsible for national security and the female members of the Cabinet have been quiet on the issue.
“Thus far, the Christie administration has failed to speak out clearly and vigorously on the issue of rape, inclusive of advisories to Bahamian women on what appears to be an upsurge in rapes,” she said in a statement released yesterday.
Butler-Turner is the Official Opposition’s shadow minister of labor, social development and national insurance.
“As rape affects women and their families . . .this silence from the government is deeply disturbing,” she added.
However, Minister of State for National Security Keith Bell said he is satisfied that the police followed proper protocol and issued adequate warnings to the public.
“Mrs. Butler-Turner should be fully aware that you have to be cautious when you are dealing with these types of matters,” said Bell when contacted for comment.
“It’s a traumatic experience for the victim and society must be mindful of the need to protect the victim. I am satisfied that the commissioner of police and the police followed the necessary protocol to ensure that they protect the rights of victims.”
He said the Christie administration has a zero-tolerance policy for criminals and he is satisfied that the police are attuned to their mandate.