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Old 18-05-2015, 19:02   #1
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Bahamas Meltdown

With all the upswing in crime, security reports, drug gangs, corruption and general government malfeasance, is the Bahamas coming apart at the seams?

Is this just Grand Bahama and New Providence, or has the family islands also gone downhill?

Nassau has always been sketchy, but in the past I have always felt at home once away from the population centers. So sad to hear of running gun battles with the gangs, murders and rape. I can never recall so many security alerts issued for the Bahamas before, or at least in the last 20 years

So much potential, yet such poor results.
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Old 18-05-2015, 20:55   #2
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Re: Bahamas Meltdown

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Originally Posted by redsky49 View Post
With all the upswing in crime, security reports, drug gangs, corruption and general government malfeasance, is the Bahamas coming apart at the seams?

Is this just Grand Bahama and New Providence, or has the family islands also gone downhill?

Nassau has always been sketchy, but in the past I have always felt at home once away from the population centers. So sad to hear of running gun battles with the gangs, murders and rape. I can never recall so many security alerts issued for the Bahamas before, or at least in the last 20 years

So much potential, yet such poor results.
Sometimes this kind of upsurge in reports is just an effect of new reporting protocols or laws. But it does seem that much of the Caribbean is headed downhill fast...
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Old 18-05-2015, 21:54   #3
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Re: Bahamas Meltdown

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Originally Posted by redsky49 View Post
With all the upswing in crime, security reports, drug gangs, corruption and general government malfeasance, is the Bahamas coming apart at the seams?

Is this just Grand Bahama and New Providence, or has the family islands also gone downhill?

Nassau has always been sketchy, but in the past I have always felt at home once away from the population centers. So sad to hear of running gun battles with the gangs, murders and rape. I can never recall so many security alerts issued for the Bahamas before, or at least in the last 20 years

So much potential, yet such poor results.
I can't argue your post. I'd just like to add that Long Island, Chub Cay, Abaco, Great Exuma, and Cat Island I find to be pretty ok.. However when you get out of the Bahamas, and into the Caribbean Islands such as Trellis Bay, Virgin Gorda, Jost, Anagada, Anguilla and many others, you wont find any of the issues you posted about. I promise!
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Old 18-05-2015, 22:26   #4
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Re: Bahamas Meltdown

We (our family of 5) have spent many months in the Bahamas in the last few years, most recently last month, and we have never experienced a problem or felt threatened. We have been through the Exumas, Eleuthera, Rum Cay and a short stay in Nassau on the last trip. Never any issues in the Family Islands, and in Nassau and Freeport just choose where you travel, and use the same common sense you would if you were in Miami, Chicago or any other big city.

Still hard to beat the Bahamas - ease of access, nice climate, friendly people, good snorkeling and fishing. I've been through the Caribbean and much prefer the Bahamian Out Islands.


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Old 18-05-2015, 22:29   #5
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Re: Bahamas Meltdown

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I can't argue your post. I'd just like to add that Long Island, Chub Cay, Abaco, Great Exuma, and Cat Island I find to be pretty ok.. However when you get out of the Bahamas, and into the Caribbean Islands such as Trellis Bay, Virgin Gorda, Jost, Anagada, Anguilla and many others, you wont find any of the issues you posted about. I promise!
You are uninformed. Despite what most folks believe, these countries have never been "crime free". In fact, rape in at epidemic proportions here in the Bahamas.

The primary driver of most crimes in the Caribbean can be traced directly to the lack of long term mental healthcare facilities in these countries and the money and planning needed to operate them.

I'm not speaking so much about the recent burglaries and murders in Nassau but for many other such as rape and assault where no financial motive was indicated you can trace the root cause to the lack of mental care.

In most of these cases, the defendant has some history of mental illness and the country has limited resources to deal with the long term housing and maintenance of these types of personalities. The general method of dealing with these individuals is to treat them in patient for a few days, pump them full of drugs, give a prescription and send them on their way in the care of their families. In many cases these "families" are 70 year old grandmothers dealing with a sociopathic 17 year old. You will be absolutely aghast to find out how many of these folks actually make it to court.

I point you to the following report which contains the quote "The Territory never had a mental hospital—the community care paradigm is the
dominant approach to treatment. There is no forensic facility. There is one inpatient facility providing treatment for persons suffering from alcohol and substance abuse."

http://www.who.int/mental_health/who...report_bvi.pdf
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Old 18-05-2015, 22:52   #6
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Re: Bahamas Meltdown

I can't tell if the OP is just reading stuff on the Internet or is living in the Bahamas.

+1 that I don't feel any less safe in Nassau than many parts of Miami. They both have serious issues. I also haven't felt things getting any worse. I actually think Nassau's streets are cleaner and safer feeling than five years ago in the depths of the recession. That said, I am careful in Nassau especially after dark, use a marina with good security, and don't leave valuables lying around.

On the family islands, I simply don't worry. No place is crime free, but I think it is far less of an issue than in the US. We don't lock the boat unless we will be away for a full day.

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Old 19-05-2015, 05:25   #7
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Re: Bahamas Meltdown

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You are uninformed. Despite what most folks believe, these countries have never been "crime free". In fact, rape in at epidemic proportions here in the Bahamas.

The primary driver of most crimes in the Caribbean can be traced directly to the lack of long term mental healthcare facilities in these countries and the money and planning needed to operate them.

I'm not speaking so much about the recent burglaries and murders in Nassau but for many other such as rape and assault where no financial motive was indicated you can trace the root cause to the lack of mental care.

In most of these cases, the defendant has some history of mental illness and the country has limited resources to deal with the long term housing and maintenance of these types of personalities. The general method of dealing with these individuals is to treat them in patient for a few days, pump them full of drugs, give a prescription and send them on their way in the care of their families. In many cases these "families" are 70 year old grandmothers dealing with a sociopathic 17 year old. You will be absolutely aghast to find out how many of these folks actually make it to court.

I point you to the following report which contains the quote "The Territory never had a mental hospital—the community care paradigm is the
dominant approach to treatment. There is no forensic facility. There is one inpatient facility providing treatment for persons suffering from alcohol and substance abuse."

http://www.who.int/mental_health/who...report_bvi.pdf

You've got to be kidding right?? I dunno, I guess living and sailing throughout the Caribbean since 1996 has left me pretty uninformed. I skip Nassau although our Bahama offices are there, but I agree with Capt. Mark's post regarding the outlying islands. In all fairness, I'm working in Anguilla now, and we have not been to the Bahamas in three years, but highly doubt that it has gotten as bad as say Chicago or Miami.
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Old 19-05-2015, 06:53   #8
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Re: Bahamas Meltdown

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You've got to be kidding right?? I dunno, I guess living and sailing throughout the Caribbean since 1996 has left me pretty uninformed. I skip Nassau although our Bahama offices are there, but I agree with Capt. Mark's post regarding the outlying islands. In all fairness, I'm working in Anguilla now, and we have not been to the Bahamas in three years, but highly doubt that it has gotten as bad as say Chicago or Miami.
The local news in Nassua reports 54 murders so far this year. Considering the relatively small population relative to Chicago or Miami, the situation in Nassau is much worse. The local news claims that if the rate continues that only a couple of places in the world will have higher murder rates. They were expressing concern that this would kill the tourist industry as many nations are now putting out travel warnings, after a British national was robbed and murdered on his boat.

Chicago with population of 2.6 million has had 139 murders so far this year, Nassau with a population of roughly 250,000 has had 54. To be as bad as Nassau, Chicago would have to have had almost 550 murders so far this year.

Miami Statistics are pooled with Dade county, but Miami-Dade has a population almost identical to Chicago, and while I was unable to get stats for this year, they've been running about 70 murders a year since 2000. Nassau with 1/10th the population is approaching the number of murders in 5 months that Miami is averaging in a whole year.

Wake up folks, Nassau is a crime ridden cesspool, way more dangerous than even the most crime ridden US cities.

We are in the Abacos right now and the major crime issue is a boat theft ring. This is the local newspaper's claim not mine. They seem to be targeting high powered large center console boats. Two were stolen out of a Marina on Guana two days ago. A 26 footer and a 30 footer. There's a story that a previously stolen boat was traced to Andros because the owner had a Lojack installed. When he got back to the states he traced the boat and found it in a slip in Andros. He called the local police there to report the location of his stolen boat. The police officer asked how he knew the location and the owner told him he had a Lojack on board. Two hours later the Lojack signal disappeared. The thieves are targeting people who bring their fishing boats over and stay in hotels. Interestingly the local police report being able to recover several of these stolen boats because of tracking devices, yet have not arrested anyone. Perhaps possession of a stolen boat is not a crime in the Bahamas.

As a cruiser/liveaboard I feel very safe in the Out Islands, but I do not go to Nassau.

That being said I've also noticed a shift in attitude towards cruisers over the last couple of years. I personally had an incident where a local in Staniel Cay verbally abused me and my wife with a racist rant, implied she was a whore, and denigrating cruisers, all the while claiming he was an officer in the local PLP. The PLP is the current political party in power since the last election and who's motto is Bahamas for the Bahamians. Maybe he was the local nut case, but he was very threatening.

There was also an incident where the owner of a popular Stocking Island "beach" bar threatened to have a German couple killed and cut into pieces for bringing their own bottles of water to a yoga class. A few years ago he would have simply told the couple that Personal drinks were not allowed on his private beach and that drinks needed to be purchased at the bar.

These two incidents do not in themselves make a trend, but when take in to account with things like the Bahamas National Trust president making denigrating remarks about cruisers, though he later retracted them, and local newspaper articles attacking cruisers, there is a strong anti-cruiser sentiment developing in a portion of the population. My view is that this is a deliberate ploy on the PLPs part. When governments can't solve local problems, they often resort to blaming an outside group to divert attention from their failure to perform. This is not unique to the Bahamas by any means, but a common ploy by politicians everywhere. I am afraid that it won't be too long before this has an effect on fringe individuals here in the Bahamas.
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Old 19-05-2015, 09:10   #9
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Re: Bahamas Meltdown

[QUOTE That being said I've also noticed a shift in attitude towards cruisers over the last couple of years. I personally had an incident where a local in Staniel Cay verbally abused me and my wife with a racist rant, implied she was a whore, and denigrating cruisers, all the while claiming he was an officer in the local PLP. The PLP is the current political party in power since the last election and who's motto is Bahamas for the Bahamians. Maybe he was the local nut case, but he was very threatening.

The PLP is the Progressive Labor Party who have been in control of the Bahamas is for the last generation or so. Pindling (can't recall his first name) ran the Bahamas for years and probably deserves the most blame.

There was also an incident where the owner of a popular Stocking Island "beach" bar threatened to have a German couple killed and cut into pieces for bringing their own bottles of water to a yoga class. A few years ago he would have simply told the couple that Personal drinks were not allowed on his private beach and that drinks needed to be purchased at the bar.

Oh no, not the "Chat and Chill"? Tell me it's not so!

These two incidents do not in themselves make a trend, but when take in to account with things like the Bahamas National Trust president making denigrating remarks about cruisers, though he later retracted them, and local newspaper articles attacking cruisers, there is a strong anti-cruiser sentiment developing in a portion of the population. My view is that this is a deliberate ploy on the PLPs part. When governments can't solve local problems, they often resort to blaming an outside group to divert attention from their failure to perform. This is not unique to the Bahamas by any means, but a common ploy by politicians everywhere. I am afraid that it won't be too long before this has an effect on fringe individuals here in the Bahamas.[/QUOTE]

While cruising the Bahamas in the past 25 years there were always areas that required some common sense cautions. Mostly this concerned theft (aside from knowing that you did not go ashore at Normans Cay during the Drug Wars of the '80's), and seemed to be primarily New Providence and Grand Bahama.

However, the latest explosion of violent attacks throughout much of the islands concern me greatly. This is not to just slam the Bahamas as this is an area that I have cruised with my family for years, making life long friends, and not just fellow cruisers. I can find other areas to cruise if I must, but for most Bahamians there is no option for them to pull anchor and move elsewhere. The current attitudes toward outsiders, and the siege mentality that is developing, do not help the situation.

I am concerned and see little hope for the near future.
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Old 19-05-2015, 11:28   #10
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Re: Bahamas Meltdown

For the students of History among us, we have seen this pattern innumerable times. During the height of Colonialism worldwide, we have witnessed developed, industrial countries establishing outposts for trade utilizing the natural resources of the host country to their profit. As a benefit to the indigenes, these countries built and maintained European styled infrastructures including a codified legal system, schools, development of agriculture and trade, a strong local economy(as compared to pre-colonialism), jobs, streets and sanitation and a generally safe environment for its inhabitants. The English, German, French, and Dutch generally were the biggest players. The Caribbean and its inhabitants directly experienced this phenomena. As a result, the locals soon were deluded into believing that it was they who were responsible for their success and that the Colonialists and their culture became perceived as unwanted intruders to their newfound prosperity and wealth. Many threw the Colonists out--as was the case in Haiti; others maintained their countries as "protectorates" of the post-colonial regimes--as is the case in the Bahamas. Once the chains of colonialism were broken,however, the former colonies began to quickly deconstruct since they were unable to maintain the former standard of living experienced under European control. An offshoot of this decay is the increase of crime we have seen in recent years in the Windward and Leeward Islands and now-- it is creeping into the Bahamas. This increased advent of crime signals the erosion of civilization and the descent into the law of the jungle. Sadly, the governments in charge are unable to curtail these crimes and, perhaps, turn the other cheek as a sad salute to what they might perceive as their independence and nationalism. However, a loss of its nation's revenue and tourism will ensue leaving a further weakened and destabilized country. Countries like people are ultimately responsible for their actions. The Bahamas may be next on the list to be avoided. Power to the People? At what cost? Good luck and safe sailing.
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Old 19-05-2015, 12:18   #11
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Re: Bahamas Meltdown

Meanwhile visions of dollar signs are going through the minds of people in Cuba
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Old 19-05-2015, 12:27   #12
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Re: Bahamas Meltdown

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Meanwhile visions of dollar signs are going through the minds of people in Cuba
Ya man!

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Old 19-05-2015, 12:55   #13
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Re: Bahamas Meltdown

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There was also an incident where the owner of a popular Stocking Island "beach" bar threatened to have a German couple killed and cut into pieces for bringing their own bottles of water to a yoga class. A few years ago he would have simply told the couple that Personal drinks were not allowed on his private beach and that drinks needed to be purchased at the bar.

Oh no, not the "Chat and Chill"? Tell me it's not so!

Though I've decided not to name names because I have no recording of the incident, I can't tell you what you want to hear. Water taxi's are now dropping off boat loads of tourists from the fly in resorts. I guess cruisers aren't important anymore. I guess you can kind of understand their point. These people fly in for a week and spend lots of money during that week. I myself have spent only a little over 5,000 in 3 months. Of course I spent all of that money in Bahamas owned businesses. I didn't spend most of it in a resort owned by Americans or Chinese or some other foreign owner who takes all of the profits out of the Bahamas like the fly in tourists do.

I can only hope Cuba opens up soon.
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Old 19-05-2015, 13:09   #14
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Re: Bahamas Meltdown

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We (our family of 5) have spent many months in the Bahamas in the last few years, most recently last month, and we have never experienced a problem or felt threatened. We have been through the Exumas, Eleuthera, Rum Cay and a short stay in Nassau on the last trip. Never any issues in the Family Islands, and in Nassau and Freeport just choose where you travel, and use the same common sense you would if you were in Miami, Chicago or any other big city.

Still hard to beat the Bahamas - ease of access, nice climate, friendly people, good snorkeling and fishing. I've been through the Caribbean and much prefer the Bahamian Out Islands.


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Same here capn mark. We were there in 2013 and 2014. We even spent two weeks in Nassau last trip. Junkanoo was great.

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We anchored out by the Green Parrot, and stayed at Nassau Harbor Club Marina for a while. We did a fair bit of walking around, and no problems. The recent boarding on Vasco's boat is a bit troubling, I must admit.

I am a member at the Abaco Forum, and am aware of the theft problem with boats and big Yamaha motors. I have not read of any attacks on cruising boats though.

Other than being nervous (or maybe wary is a better word) in Nassau, We haven't experienced anything but friendly, smiling faces. Certainly nothing that could be called a "meltdown". And we've done Exuma, Eleuthera, and Abaco. I'll add, if you want a less crowded, and different experience, try Eleuthera out. Don't miss the Glass Window.

We're heading back to the Exumas this fall. If you choose not to go, more swing room for me. Happy cruising, Y'all!

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Old 19-05-2015, 14:19   #15
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Re: Bahamas Meltdown

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The local news in Nassua reports 54 murders so far this year. Considering the relatively small population relative to Chicago or Miami, the situation in Nassau is much worse. The local news claims that if the rate continues that only a couple of places in the world will have higher murder rates. They were expressing concern that this would kill the tourist industry as many nations are now putting out travel warnings, after a British national was robbed and murdered on his boat.
I went to the website for The Nassau Guardian and it looked pretty grim. Just in the current news there were reports about several recent murders and reports on robberies of tourists in broad daylight in supposedly safe areas.

http://www.thenassauguardian.com/news?start=20



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There's a story that a previously stolen boat was traced to Andros because the owner had a Lojack installed. When he got back to the states he traced the boat and found it in a slip in Andros. He called the local police there to report the location of his stolen boat. The police officer asked how he knew the location and the owner told him he had a Lojack on board. Two hours later the Lojack signal disappeared.
Theft of large or valuable items in the smaller settlements in the Bahamas are impossible to hide. On an island with a population in the hundreds a majority who are probably your relatives, it is impossible to show up with a new outboard, much less a new boat, without everyone, including the local officials, knowing about it. That implies at the very least that the local officials are turning their heads to this if not in actual collusion in the thefts.

I was in the Exumas when Carlos Lehder had his operation going at Norman's Cay and met a few cruisers that didn't get the word and tried to anchor there. All were met by Bahamians wearing RBDF uniforms who threatened them with automatic weapons and made them leave immediately. Of course the uniforms could have been stolen or counterfeit but doubt it. Corruption is an old game in the islands.
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