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Defence Force Marines sleeping on the job at Govt House

Many of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Marines assigned to guard Government House have admitted to sleeping during their eight-hour shifts, according to a report into the 2019 Government House murder of Petty Officer Percival Perpall.

In fact, on the night that Perpall was shot to death, Marines said they had been ordered by the Guard Commander to go and take a nap because he had plans to leave the property around 4am.

The Enquiry Committee formed to investigate security breaches at Government House concluded that “the lack of alertness at the time of the incident coupled with poor weapon training and knowledge meant that the Marines could not adequately and effectively respond to the subsequent attack in the Guard Room.”

The committee also found that the security detail at Government House, with responsibility for the protection of the Governor General, was inadequate.

According to the report, “The manpower deficiencies resulted in the lack of available personnel to effectively secure the property.”

The committee also described the perimeter walls at Government House as “inadequate”. The problem was further compounded by the lack of proper equipment and technology, including proper lighting, modern surveillance systems, transport and communication devices.

Then-National Security Minister Marvin Dames appointed four retired law enforcement officers to review and determine whether there were any breaches or failures in security at Government House during the morning of the incident.

The committee, led by Retired Police Commissioner Reginald Ferguson, submitted its findings to Dames in 2020 but he never released it to the public due to the embarrassing reports of slackness on the Defence Force.

The report concluded that Perpall’s death was “avoidable” and his killer took advantage of slackness displayed by those guarding Government House.

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