Minnis says criminal deportees should be monitored
ROYSTON JONES JR.
Guardian Staff Reporter
Published: May 01, 2013
The Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) needs to monitor criminal deportees upon their re-entrance into the country if they are contributing to the high level of violent crime in The Bahamas, Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis said yesterday.
“If the police know and there was proper communication that these individuals were coming back, then the proper monitoring is necessary to ensure that their behavior is not viral to society,” said Minnis, who is also the shadow minister for national security.
“The individuals would have served their time, but I still think that generally speaking there should have been some form of record of these individuals, and the type of crime that they commit.
“Moving forward the communities and community leaders should be informed of such individuals within their community.”
Last week, Tall Pines MP Leslie Miller suggested that crime is on the rise in part because of the criminal deportees, who were deported from The United States (U.S.) over the years.
Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security, Keith Bell, criticized the U.S. government for issuing warnings to its citizens traveling to The Bahamas when it has deported a large number of criminals to this country over the years.
However, the U.S. Embassy’s Chargé d'Affaires John Armstrong has said the Bahamian government is informed before any criminal deportees are sent back to the country.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson said though police are aware when criminal deportees are sent to The Bahamas they are not required under law to monitor these deportees.
Minnis said the police say they monitor repeat and known offenders who have been in and out of Her Majesty’s Prisons because of the impact it can have on crime, and the same should be done for criminal deportees.
However, he said this should only apply to criminal deportees who have chronically offended or committed serious crimes, such as murder, armed robberies and housebreakings.
Referring to Miller’s comments, Minnis said without evidence it is a “blanket response” to say that criminal deportees are the reason crime is so high in the country.
He said a comparative analysis also needs to be done to determine how many criminal deportees have re-offended in The Bahamas since returning to the country.
As reported in yesterday’s edition of The Nassau Guardian, 99 Bahamians who had criminal convictions were deported from the U.S. in 2002; 123 in 2003; 95 in 2004; 120 in 2005; 68 in 2006; 72 in 2007; 82 in 2008; 99 in 2009; 89 in 2010 and 110 in 2011, according to information kept by the United States.
The major categories that people were deported for included, possession or distributing dangerous drugs, criminal traffic offences, assault, larceny, fraudulent activities, burglary, robbery, sexual assault, and family offences.