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Mitchell Accuses Tribune Of 'Hijacking' Immigration Debate

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Fred Mitchell

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

THE Immigration Minister yesterday accused The Tribune of “hijacking” the debate over the Government’s proposed work permit policy, alleging that this newspaper was “protecting its own interests”.

Addressing a Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) luncheon on the ongoing work permit controversy, Fred Mitchell referred to The Tribune several times, although not always by name.

Indicating that he appears to have this newspaper on his mind, in a clear reference to it, Mr Mitchell said of the original reaction to his House of Assembly statement: “We had a wholly irrational response framed by an organisation that has its own interests to protect. Even that response was irrational.”

Arguing that every work permit application to the Department of Immigration would be judged on its own merits, Mr Mitchell added: “There is nothing beyond 
negotiation. Each case turns on its own facts, but to hijack a whole argument.......”

He then referred to an old saying, adding: “If you want to hide something, put it in writing.”

Earlier in his address, Mr Mitchell had also taken issue with a Tribune editorial, saying it had supported the view that Bahamians “are lazy, they steal and don’t want to work”.

“These, mind you, are the same Bahamians who buy newspapers every day. But never mind that, maybe they are different Bahamians,” he added.

Mr Mitchell went on to describe much of the recent coverage of himself, and the Government’s proposed work permit policy as “a load of codswallop. In fact, I have not read so much bull in all my life over the past weeks.”

Aside from The Tribune, Mr Mitchell also took aim at Branville McCartney, former minister of state for immigration and now Democratic National Alliance (DNA) leader, over his comments that Bahamians did not want to do domestic work such as housekeepers, maids and domestic helpers.

“What continues to confound me is the former Minister of Immigration, who just yesterday was saying that Bahamians will not work as domestics and we must accept that fact,” Mr Mitchell said.

“I would like the former Minister to declare his interest in this matter. He knows as a lawyer that when you speak to an issue which may be self-serving that you should declare your interest.”

Mr Mitchell then said it was the wages being offered that meant Bahamians did not want to do these jobs.

“I have already indicated that the Government is not proposing to break off longstanding relationships, or invite people in to your homes who are not in the interest of your security, but Bahamians must work. That is our view, and that is what the policy is seeking to do,” the Minister added.

Comments

banker 5 years, 10 months ago

The minister isn't very well acquainted with the literal truth and sober objectivity. Almost every statement that he makes is political in nature, disingenuous and a stranger from the factual truth of the situation. The minister should stop his globe-trotting, money-wasting ways and get down to the serious business of transforming the Ministry of Foreign Affairs into at least a 20th century organization. His overseas behaviour is atrocious.

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Collin 5 years, 10 months ago

Mitchel made a stupid statement and is arrogance is so great that he continues to dig in. He is doing this despite some of his fellow MPs seeking to reign it in a little.

He truly is proving to demonstrate that he is totally losing grip with reality. Further, he speaks of good business as though he understands the realities of business form most of us or can even conceptualize.

Finally, in regard to the amount of bull he references he must not read the site that once carried his name.

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bismark 5 years, 10 months ago

is the minister aware that almost everybody in high society has a foreigner working in their homes?including the majority of his colleagues?Mr Minister I applaud your efforts to put Bahamians first but,its not going to work,the honest ones who did that work before are few in numbers,the ones that are left are at the minim.um ,then some just want to get paid and to hell with the work,so its going to be difficult,the average Bahamian is just not into that work for the minimum wage,what you need to do is stop issuing permits in the corporate section,many Bahamians are qualified for these jobs you need to sort that area out sir,Bahamians are tired of these foreigners taking jobs that can be filled by them,so lets not worry about the little fish,lets get the big ones first.

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concernedcitizen 5 years, 10 months ago

everybody calm down this is just honey for the undereducated masses ears ,,xenophobia is a big seller politically ,,the big and medium investers will get all the permits they need ,and political colleagues on both sides of the aisle will keep their cuban maids and hatian gardeners ...they don,t want their things theif either

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banker 5 years, 10 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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