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A national focus on a high-profile killing

Published: Oct 28, 2013

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The murder of businessman Kurt McCartney last Thursday was shocking to many.  McCartney is well known and helps run his family’s chain of pharmacies.  He is also the brother of Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Leader Branville McCartney and played a key role in the party.

The numerous murder records in The Bahamas over the last several years have desensitized many of us to killings.  On a Sunday night or Monday morning it is common for reporters to get the question from friends and family asking, “How many people were killed this weekend?”

Many who die violent deaths in our country are from the inner-city communities of New Providence.  And it is widely assumed that they were somehow part of a nefarious trade – hence their violent deaths.  But when prominent members of society die we take note in a different manner.  We become concerned.

The McCartney murder case does not seem a simple one for police despite the various detailed theories in the public domain.  Police over the weekend made several public appeals for information that could lead to the capture of the perpetrator or perpetrators.

The force said it is “hopeful someone will have the courage to come forward with information that will solve this case” no matter how small or insignificant the information may seem.  A cash reward of up to $1,000 is being offered.  McCartney was at Gambier Village when a gunman shot and killed him.

McCartney’s death is tragic and unfortunate.  All people of goodwill grieve with his family.  The death, though, should not make us think that now the crime problem in New Providence is worse.  The levels of crime and violence on New Providence are too high for such a small place.  They have been that way for years.

“This is a perfect example of a young successful Bahamian man whose life is one of success through hard work and achievement, and for whatever reason he has met this untimely death clearly most unexpected,” said Prime Minister Perry Christie after visiting the McCartneys after the murder.

“Very tragic in its implications but a profound lesson to those of us who are responsible for public policy, and to all of our countrymen and women who oftentimes tend to believe that it is just those people over there who become perpetrators and victims and never us.  But this now is another reminder that one of us has been killed.”

There are few places to hide in New Providence.  Gated communities don’t even offer full protection from our crime problem.  We live in this place together and should know that the effort to restore order is one we all have an interest in.

When “those” people from poor communities are felled by gunmen, those of us who are privileged must learn to feel their pain too and not just dismiss the circumstance as “bad people killing bad people”.  Any one of us could be “the next one” on this island.  This crime problem can touch us all.

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