Latore Mackey, press secretary to Bahamian Prime Minister Perry Christie, was shot to death on August 26 while driving a government-issued vehicle. Mackey, who was also deputy director of the Bahamas Information Service, a liaison agency for communication between the government and the Bahamian people, had just finished closing a nightclub he owned and was with an employee at the time.
According to reports, four men have been arrested in connection with the murder.
In a statement to the media, Prime Minister Christie expressed concern not only over the loss of his friend but over crime in the Bahamas in general:
I was shocked, but again the question for me is one beyond my friend, the question is unless we are able to come to grips with what is happening at the level of the streets we have a real problem in this country that goes to the root of how we react one to one another. Because it is easy to believe that it is localised and retaliatory where, you shot me and I shot you, but when you see it now begin to stretch and extend itself to people who you least expect to be involved in any kind of underhand activity, who may have just been a victim of circumstance, then you know we have a lot of work to do and a lot of work to do in the immediate future.
Violent crime in the country has seen an increase in recent times, with a higher incidence of armed robberies, hold-ups, assaults and residential break-ins. The government, grappling with the problem, has not issued official crime statistics since the middle of last year. With a population of just over 370,000, in which the majority (about 70 percent) reside on New Providence island, the escalation of crime is a growing concern.
Despite anti-crime initiatives by the Royal Bahamas Police Force, crimes against tourists have also been on the rise. But at Weblog Bahamas, H. Armbrister laid the blame squarely on the doorstep of the Bahamas’ first-world neighbour and begged the prime minister to discuss the issue with US President Barack Obama:
To the very best of my knowledge no armaments nor ammunition are manufactured or even assembled in our Bahamaland, or, probably, even in the entire Caribbean, therefore, sir, please open an immediate dialogue with the President of the United States of America, a country that is a major manufacturer of guns and ammunition, not to request but to demand that America does much, much more to seal its borders to the illegal export of these weapons of war; instead of making fun of this little nation of ours by issuing travel warnings to the American public, knowing full-well that the cause of our problems is the United States.
When it came this most recent murder, several social media users, like Millie Thompson, left condolences on Facebook:
Death leaves a heartache only God can heal but Latore have left many many beautiful memories no one can steal. Cry and cry to your heart content your tears are your holy water it will heal you as they flow. Rest In Paradise Latore.
Twitter users also offered their condolences and showed concern over crime in the Bahamas:
….my God.. the blood on the streets is ridiculous.. clean it up Lord.. R.I.P Latore Mackey … So sad man!
— Stefphen A. Sands (@GovnaSands) August 25, 2014
I'm so saddened to hear of the senseless killing of Latore Mackey.My heart goes out to his family and close friends.May he rest in peace
— Livvy (@chara_miller) August 26, 2014
The news of Latore Mackey's death is a shocking reminder to us all that crime can and does affect us all. We need to do better as a country.
— Paul Turnquest (@PaulTurnquest) August 25, 2014
One Twitter user questioned why it took the death of his press secretary for the Prime Minister to speak up about the crime problem:
The PM speaks after Latore Mackey is murdered wow we had 5 murderers in 24 hours two weeks ago and he was mute.
— FOAM Bah (@FOAMBahamas) August 26, 2014
Mackey's homicide has pushed the number of killings in the Bahamas this year to 83.