Outpouring of grief as ex-MP Donald Saunders killed in robbery

March 28, 2024 in Regional

Colleagues of former Bahamas Deputy Speaker Donald Saunders have said his murder last evening is a reminder of how unsafe the country has become.

Saunders,49, was gunned down during a botched robbery at a bar in Gambier Heights, western New Providence. His killing took The Bahamas’ 2024 murder toll to 35.

Saunders was an attorney, husband and father of two children, one of whom is national swimmer Donald Saunders Jr.

Speaking with reporters last evening outside the crime scene, former Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, who is the Member of Parliament for the community, said Saunders’ killing was “a sad moment” for his constituency.

Minnis expressed his confidence in the police service’s ability to bring the perpetrators to justice.

He noted a community wide CCTV network may be able to provide police with information that could catch Saunders’ killers.

Michael Pintard, Opposition Leader and leader of the Free National Movement (FNM) said his “thoughts and prayers” are with Saunders’ wife, children and extended family.

He described Saunders’ killing as a great loss to the country as he was someone that went above the call to serve people in need.

“He is a very popular Bahamian who means a lot to so many different communities particularly because of his own personal outreach in this community,” he said.

Pintard said the opposition is going to trust “that the system is going to work” to bring closure to the families that have lost loved ones to violent crime.

He urged anyone with information to assist the police.

Prime Minister Philip Davis said he was “deeply saddened” by news of Saunders’ death.

“I am deeply saddened by the tragic reports that Don Saunders, Former Member of Parliament and Deputy Chairman of the FNM, has been killed. My wife Ann and I extend our sincerest thoughts and prayers to his wife, Tiffany, children, family, friends and colleagues during this time. I ask that as the investigation is carried out, we respect the family and allow them space to grieve,” he said in a post on X.

The Bahamas Aquatics Federation joined those mourning the loss of Saunders.

The federation hailed him as “a proud swim parent and long-time supporter of our national teams.”

“Don has been a friend of our community for more than 10 years. He has travelled extensively with our National Teams, has witnessed our CARIFTA AQUATICS victories leading to our record breaking 5 straight CARIFTA Aquatics titles, and was in church on Palm Sunday with the team, that includes his son Donald Jr, to kick off our journey to defend our CARIFTA titles and 6-peat here at home,” the federation said in a statement.

“We are deeply saddened with this loss and are comforted in the words of Psalm 34:1: The LORD is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. These words encourage us and will motivate Team Bahamas to dig deep and show The Bahamas that it is indeed the young people that are doing dynamic things to save our Nation from this scourge of needless crime. We have to do better.”