Bahamas PM Urges Media To Keep Crime Off Front Pages

(CMC) – Bahamas Prime Minister Philip Davis is urging the local media to keep crime off front pages amid concerns that the tourist sector, the lifeblood of the chain of islands, could be severely affected.

The US Embassy in Bahamas has issued a security alert on crime in The Bahamas and the subsequent international reporting has highlighted the situation in the country.

Davis said that a plan of action is underway, with the government preparing to launch an aggressive campaign to promote and protect the country’s reputation.

“You see the advisory that went out the other day, how that has taken legs? We are now hearing some concerns about the falloff in tourism,” Davis told religious leaders on Monday as he discussed his administration’s plans to deal with the crime situation.

“Right now, the hotels are seeing some fall off, but more importantly, those who are in the hotels today, they’re not coming out into the community. They’re not going to the restaurants, for example. They’re not going sightseeing as they used to,” he said.

“Of course, the hotel owners don’t mind because as long as they are staying in the hotels … they’re spending it all there. So here again, we are shooting ourselves in our foot by allowing this to get out of hand.

“What is happening in this country is not only happening here. If you go to Jamaica, they had over 70 murders in less than three and half weeks. Trinidad over 100 …,” Davis added.

The Bahamas has recorded 25 murders so far this year with police saying many of the homicides are gang related.

Davis urged the press to understand their role in maintaining the country’s reputation, saying that other countries give less prominence to certain crimes than the local media does.

“I want to call upon the press to be sensitive. I think they should see their role as trying to help the country. I’m not saying not to report, but where you report, it may make a difference. And all I ask them to do is check, check to see where their crime report is. Check Trinidad, check the United States, just check and see where it is. It’s never on the front page.

“But every bullet that is fired appears to be front page news on all of our daily news. And what happens, AP picks it up, Reuters pick it up and what happens, and it’s continuing,” the prime minister said.

He said that the long-promised anti-gang legislation will be released next week.