Be warned...spike in crime

by: Lededra Marche, News Editor

Citing a spike in crime in The Bahamas on the heels of the gruesome murder of an American man in Grand Bahama, the United States Embassy in Nassau on Tuesday warned its citizens living in and traveling to the country to be on "heightened alert"  to avoid becoming a victim of crime.

Six days ago, former Mississippi investor Anthony Kyle Welch, was bound and stabbed multiple times about the body in his Albacore Drive home.

" Several assailants entered the home of a resident U.S. citizen living in Freeport, Grand Bahama and brutally murdered him,"  the U. S Embassy release revealed.

He was discovered by his live-in girlfriend shortly after 10:00 p.m. on January 24.

Police have no suspects and remain tightlipped on the matter.

The 47-year-old father of two was wanted in the U.S. on fraud and related charges. His murder is recorded as the islandâ s first for the year.

The release further cited a reported armed robbery of two Americans at Jaws Beach in New Providence on January 25 in which two men with an assault rifle were robbed of their vehicle and all of their belongings.

The victims were not injured, however, the Embassy is advising American residents and tourists in The Bahamas to review their personal security plans.

" Remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates. Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security,"  the advisory went on to say.

The U.S. Embassy further noted that armed robbery and violent crime remain major threats facing U.S. citizens in The Bahamas, including in areas frequented by tourists on the capital and the nation's second city.

A similar advisory was issued by the Embassy in November of last year regarding armed robberies.

" In the past eight months, a number of U.S. citizens have fallen victim to armed robbery and two have been murdered,"  the Embassy said, while 'strongly recommending'  its citizens enroll in the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

" Enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you don't have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate, the Embassy further advised.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Emrick Seymour, who is responsible for the Northern Bahamas, declined yesterday to comment on the advisory and noted that the investigation into Welch's murder continues.

Asked whether police have any evidence to suggest there was more than one person involved in the killing.

" We always keep an open mind and of course our investigation can take us anywhere,"  he said.

" So, until such time as we reach a conclusion or a point where we can conclude one way or the other what transpired ... that is what happened, how many people were involved ... I don't want to speculate at this stage." 

In September 2012, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Welch, who served as chairman and CEO of eHydrogen from January 2007 to August 2010 and ChromoCure from June 2009 to August 2010, with one count of fraud; alternately aiding and abetting fraud; and control person liability.

The SEC alleged he increased the companies' stock prices by using false and misleading promotional material.

Published Thursday, January 30, 2014

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