No closure: One year later, deaths of Bahamian nationals in Italy still cut raw

Dr Blair John (left) and Alrae Ramsey (right), both Bahamian nationals, were found dead days apart in Italy’s Po River in 2019. The incident, which is still unexplained to this day, haunts both families and the wider Bahamas commonwealth. (Photo: Tribune242.com)

The Bahamas government says one year after the bodies of two nationals, including a Foreign Service Officer, were pulled from the Po River in Italy,  there is no “sense of satisfaction or closure to the families, friends or to the government”.

In a statement marking the anniversary of the deaths, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the government, “has been and remains fully engaged in the investigation of the case, the outcome of which, to date, has not brought a sense of satisfaction or closure to the families, friends or to the government.

“The Bahamas government, through the engagement of an Italian Law Firm, continues to press the Italian government for answers as to the cause of their untimely deaths,” the ministry added.

Last year, the bodies of Alrae Ramsey, 29, a Foreign Service Officer and Dr. Blair John, 28, were discovered by Italian authorities in waters of the River Po in Turin, on June 4 and 5.

Initial forensic medical examination indicated that the men were in the river for two to three days, according to international reports.

The autopsies which were performed on both bodies indicated that the men died from drowning.

A toxicological examination was also performed and Italian news agencies reported that the results of this exam revealed that no drugs were found in the system of both men but there were traces of alcohol.

However, the family members of John questioned the results of the initial autopsy and his father told a local daily that he did not believe that his son met his demise as a result of drowning.

Ramsey, who was employed with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since December 9, 2013, was posted at The Bahamas Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti as third secretary/vice-consul in 2016-2017. He was granted an in-service award to pursue a one-year postgraduate diploma programme in diplomacy/international relations and languages at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna in Austria

The Ministry of Finance said on the anniversary of the death of Ramsey “we know that he served his purpose in the grand scheme of things, particularly in the way he made an impression on his surroundings.”

“[Ramsey’s] future with us was bright. To a person, we say that it was a privilege to have known him and to have worked with him,” the agency continued.

“We also remember Dr. Blair John. Although his life was not immediately connected the ministry, he and Alrae had many mutual friends in the ministry.  Dr John will be remembered as a person who was God-fearing and well-rounded, excelling not only in academics but also in sports on a national and international level,” the Finance Ministry noted further.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that officials had an opportunity to meet with the relatives of both men last week “to address important administrative matters, and we take this opportunity to extend to both families our heartfelt condolences on a sad and painful anniversary.”