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Minnis: Tragedy Could Have Been Avoided If Planes Were Working

By SANCHESKA BROWN

Tribune Staff Reporter

sbrown@tribunemedia.net

OPPOSITION Leader Dr Hubert Minnis said yesterday he believes the outcome of the recent Haitian tragedy would have been different if the Defence Force’s reconnaissance planes had been operational.

Speaking with The Tribune, Dr Minnis said it is totally irresponsible for the government to allow all of the RBDF planes to be down at the same time.

His comments came after it was revealed that the Defence Force knew about the 40-foot Haitian vessel that capsized in waters off Exuma as early as Friday, but could not locate it until days later – by which time 30 migrants had drowned – because none of its reconnaissance aircraft are operational.

“I understand that we have three planes, a P-68, a Caravan and a King Air, but only one is functional – which is the official plane. The government is irresponsible to allow the reconnaissance planes to be non-functional at the same time,” Dr Minnis said.

“Any responsible government would ensure that the planes are working because the RBDF has a vast body of water to patrol. How could the government not make provisions for these things? That is totally irresponsible. You have left your borders wide open to poaching, human smuggling and drug smuggling. This leaves our marine resources in jeopardy. Their boats need these planes to guide them where they have to go.

“The outcome would have been different if those planes are working. They could have searched with the planes. I do not understand what this government is trying to do. They need to get it together,” he said.

At least 30 Haitian migrants drowned and 110 were rescued – 19 women and 91 men – after their vessel ran aground near Harvey Cay. It was initially thought the sloop was headed to the United States, but survivors claimed they were headed for New Providence.

Royal Bahamas Defence Force Lieutenant Orgin Deleveaux said fishermen first spotted the Haitian vessel on Saturday, but after two days of searching in a go-fast boat and another RBDF vessel, marines could not locate the sloop.

In fact, it was not until six of the migrants had managed to make it ashore on a raft Monday afternoon that the RBDF called the US Coast Guard to assist in the search.

About an hour after deploying a helicopter, the Coast Guard found the boat 15 nautical miles from Harvey Cay – 20 miles from where the fishermen first reported seeing it.

“All three of the Defence Force planes are out of service and have been for a few weeks. We used our boats to look for the Haitian vessel on Saturday and Sunday. At that point it was not a search and rescue exercise, it was a search for undocumented migrants. Yes, the planes would have assisted in the sighting, but in terms of the dynamics of the exercise, it would not have been able to assist,” Lt Deleveaux said.

Comments

SP 6 years, 7 months ago

The PLP and FNM have not only ignored our demands to effectively deal with the Haitian invasion, they have obviously made secret deals with Haiti and the U.N. to assist Haitians.

"WE THE PEOPLE" have no other alternative to save our country for future generations except to take immediate action OURSELVES against this Haitian invasion.

Firstly, as a business owner, I will NOT HIRE any Haitian, WITH or WITHOUT work permits.

Secondly, I also will NOT HIRE any Haitian-Bahamians or anyone with HAITIAN ROOTS, as these people are the main facilitators of illegal Haitian migration, have loyalty to Haiti not the Bahamas, only hire other Haitians in their business's and benefit from narco loans to buy Bahamian assets which they then only trade with Haitians.

Both PLP and FNM are too deeply compromised to deal with this invasion of Haitians.

Bahamians will have to pull together just as Haitians pull together to help our Bahamian brothers and sisters if we are to survive as a people. Our Government is PROVEN USELESS!

The U.K. is facing the exact same problems as we are. However, Prime Minister David Cameron is a REAL PRIME MINISTER taking REAL STEPS to protect the U.K. and her citizens from migrants from poorer EU states that threaten to destabilize Britain and overwhelm social services, schools etc.

Please see article below which shows what a REAL LEADER does to protect a country:

http://news.yahoo.com/uk-clashes-eu-o...">http://news.yahoo.com/uk-clashes-eu-o...

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bismark 6 years, 7 months ago

we have allowed this problem to fester under both administrations,the Bahamas is to small to accommodate all of these illegals,i am no fan of Bran Mcartney,but he had the right strategy,raid every day,they are right in front of us,in the bushes ,over the hill,the inner city they are everywhere,they do not contribute anything to this society but take away,have you ever seen them paying light bill or water and sewerage?they don't shop in the major food stores,they do not spend any of the money they made in our economy but yet they get our health care for free,schooling for free,they don't pay for anything and its been going on for two long,we need to raid everyday,if Bahamians who hire these illegals 10000 dollar fine,they wouldn't hire them again.

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TalRussell 6 years, 7 months ago

Yes, we do have a massive illegal Haitian problem which neither the FNM or the PLP has dealt with but could not disagree with you more. As long as you are in this country legally you should be treated with respect and dignity.

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john33xyz 6 years, 7 months ago

Tal what are you talking about legally? Nobody is talking about legally - they're talking illegally.

Also understand that Haiti has 12 million people which is 48 times the 250,000 Bahamians in this country (our pop is over 300,000 but that's not Bahamians). We cannot absorb that many people and give them free medicine, free schooling, meals on wheels, free housing, free land, and free Haitian Flags to celebrate Haitian Flag Day with. There is just not enough money.

I've said before if Haiti would agree to send ALL HAITIANS to the Bahamas, and surrender the land of Haiti to us for all Bahamians who want to prosper to go there a live (ie. a total swap of countries) I would agree with that.

Haiti has fertile soil, and all its land is together unlike our disjoint islands. Within 5 years we Bahamians (living in Haiti) would be so prosperous that Haitians will be coming in boats from the Bahamas back to Haiti to look for work, get free clinics, free schooling and free everything. The flow direction would be reversed.

You think we can convince Minister Mitchel to table this idea?

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TalRussell 6 years, 7 months ago

What imaginary looking-glass is Minnis looking through? The red's must be hoping that eventually their leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition will begin to deal with matters of interest and concern relating to the mess his own red regime left them in. As Bahamalander's of course we can think of different things PM Christie's administration can be held responsible for but the unfortunate drownings ain't one them.

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The_Oracle 6 years, 7 months ago

Our infrastructure is decaying faster than we can borrow and build new, because we do not look after what we have. Haitian immigration is an ever present issue that is not going to go away, but we are so homophobic that we have forced them to create their own sub culture and societal structure, Where randy Bahamians have no control over their urges, and have created yet another sub culture, the Haitian-Bahamian, accepted by no one. Herein lies much of the violence, rogue Non nationals, non Haitians. Every country in the world has emigration and immigrants, we have created this situation ourselves, and continue to exploit the Haitians, just as the criminal element, Bahamian and Haitian have exploited us! Harsh penalties and imprisonment is only part of the answer, Police and Judicial Follow through and impartial prosecution, with a large prison to accommodate humanely is required!

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nationbuilder 6 years, 7 months ago

Its sad this this issue is about the loss of human life, but since its HAITIAN human life, folk are focusing on everything else, including their xenophobia.

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ThisIsOurs 6 years, 7 months ago

Funny, I was in the food store today and a very nice gentleman showed me some webbing on a bunch of grapes. He said "See that, that's a bug nest. That's how we get all these bugs in the country". My immediate reaction was, we tryin tuh pin de bugs on the foreigners too!? all the local rats and cockroaches we have running around everywhere and a foreign bug nest is our worry? (Yeah I know some of those things are poisonous I get it:) but geez rats and cockroaches can cause a big problem too)

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nationbuilder 6 years, 7 months ago

Why didnt the Defence Force just call the US Coast Guard from Friday? That is what OpBat is for

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john33xyz 6 years, 7 months ago

Why don't we just pass a law that says any illegal immigrant can come into the Bahamas and register with the Island Administrator and get papers and a passport, and then proceed to any Bahamian's house and issue a Writ of Vacancy and order them and their children out of their house - and then take possession of their house and car.

They can have one acre of Crown land in addition, and any vehicle on any car lot they desire just by presenting their credentials from the Administrator as being newly landed immigrants. They also simply show this document to BEC each month and their power bill is abolished. In addition require grocery stores to provide up to $100 per week per person in groceries by anyone showing this landed immigrant card. Also give them the right for their children to attend private school free by presenting this card.

IF WE DID ALL OF THIS, would we then be relieved of being branded as racists and not-compassionate, uncaring xenophobes? Would we then be allowed to live in the bushes free from name calling and labeling? Would we then not be "haters"? If we give up our country and our rights completely would we then be acceptable in the eyes of the United Nations?

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positiveinput 6 years, 7 months ago

Before our officials try to remedy something that needs a plane, and which they had no knowledge was going to take place, why not take a drive on Baillou Hill road near Meeting Street just before you reach Government House. At the peak of the hill is road work being done which to a motorist is in a blind dangerous spot. Why not instruct the road workers to place road cones from below the hill that would gradually guide motorist to merge around the open pits instead of just having caution rails place directly before the work area. For a motorist travelling within the speed limit, because of the construction work being done at the top of the hill (in a blind spot to flowing traffic) its an accident waiting to happen, hopefully not tragic. Secondly if you travel Down Town crossing Rawson Square, for the upcoming festival (I guess) are large spot lights which are blinding to motorist. Just tonight travelling thru the 'Square' its was hard to see a police officer who was directing traffic, so judge a pedestrian who would be crossing the street thinking that with all that light a motorist could easily see them when in fact the big spot light is blinding the motorist vision. Before we worry about tragic events that we had no knowledge would happen, remedy simple problems right on our streets from happening. Safety first I figured it was. When you want to talk about 'irresponsible' make sure the island first is safe before you want the surrounding ocean be safe.

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banker 6 years, 7 months ago

The problem here is that the plane is broken. The tugboat is broken so that three cruise ships were unable to dock, causing a loss of $600,000 for Nassau merchants. The hospital is built to the tune of $50 million, but unusable. Only three surgical theaters. Infrastructure is crumbling. There is no money to fix it, yet they can all go to Sri Lanka, Rome to kiss the Pope's ring, and then to the best, most expensive hotel in London, taking friends, sons and lovers. That is the issue.

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SP 6 years, 7 months ago

Just because successive lousy PLP & FNM governments gave away work permits and citizenships to Haitians like candy does not make it right.

Haitian business's only hire Haitian nationals. Haitians have a system of working for Bahamians until they learn a trade, then they undermine the employer, quit the job and offer the same services at reduced cost, putting the Bahamian out of work.

Have you ever seen a Haitian begging in the streets? Meanwhile 30,000 Bahamians have been reduced to beggars’, thieves and prostitutes for survival.

How the hell can Haitians earning $1.00 per day in Haiti afford $3,000.00 to smuggle themselves into the Bahamas? THEY CANNOT.

Haitian work permit holders and Haitian-Bahamians send funds to Haiti to bring other family members and friends to the Bahamas, find jobs and housing for them upon arrival and have them repay the loan with interest.

We cannot sit back and allow our country to be further over run with these people or the next step will be the formation of their own political party. If they out number us they will VOTE BAHAMIANS OUT OF GOVERNMENT.

I will not hire ANY HAITAN OR HAITIAN-BAHAMIAN EVER AGAIN!!!!

THEY ARE TRAITORS WITH NO LOYALTY TO THE BAHAMAS AND BAHAMIANS.

WE NEED TO GET RID OF THE DAM HAITIANS, PLP AND FNM!

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Emac 6 years, 7 months ago

Many people may think you are being irrational on this issue, but you are right on point. Unfortunately the majority of Bahamians don’t give a dam what goes on their country until it hits their doorstep. This is when it will be too late!

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ThisIsOurs 6 years, 7 months ago

Seems like shooting yourself in the foot. I work with a Haitian-Bahamian who is extremely bright and industrious. He has risen faster than anyone I have seen in my employment at the company. They would be crazy to release him. He helps their bottom line and he gets along with everyone. I thought the primary goal of any (for profit) business was to be profitable, if hiring mediocre lazy Bahamians over a skilled Haitian or Haitian Bahamian works to that goal then I guess by all means do it.

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concernedcitizen 6 years, 7 months ago

Well put , i dated a teacher at C R Walker and she told me how well the Hatian/Bahamian kids did .I hate when instead of looking at ourselves we use xenophopia to cover up our failures as a people ..

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positiveinput 6 years, 7 months ago

I was just thinking, if the national grade average is 'd' and we could talk down on how Haitian students flood the government schools, actually for the Haitian students that is good because how much of us can say we understand Spanish as for English to get a 'd' grade you comprehend it to a level of understanding it. How much of us Bahamians could get a 'd' in Creole or Spanish?

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concernedcitizen 6 years, 7 months ago

We have been selling our country for years .Anyone that has connections and a couple dollars can get a work permit for 'their " Hatian .On the family island i live the old political general from the 70,s have the permits and the hatians have to "kick" up to them Geez Stubs from the racetrack days to potters cay made a good living getting Hatians straight ..

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banker 6 years, 7 months ago

If Bahamians stopped profiting from Haitians, we wouldn't have the problem. If Bahamians have a choice, they will hire a Haitian over a Bahamian. Bahamian workers are lazy, unproductive and tief from you. Haitians are honest, hard workers.

Bahamians created the problem. The Attorney General has three maids under work permits, and they are Filipino. The gardeners is Haitian. Most gardeners working for Bahamians are Haitian. It's the Bahamians that are at fault for the Haitian problem.

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pat242 6 years, 7 months ago

Muddo sick. Hubert Minnis think we stupid. Something like that can happen under any government. Man maid things malfunction, so its unfair to point fingers at anyone. But to solve this immigration problem, we as Bahamians need to come together and force them out. As a little boy my father always say IF BAHAMIANS DO NOT WAKE UP AND DEAL WITH OUR IMMIGRATION CRISES , WE WILL BE SECOND CLASS CITIZENS IN OUR OWN COUNTRY.

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ThisIsOurs 6 years, 7 months ago

I suppose your father was telling you to make sure you got a good education so you could compete. Just guessing.

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clawdad 6 years, 7 months ago

news flash,you are already a secod class citizen.i have to pay to bus my children to school,they go for free.

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Bahamianpride 6 years, 7 months ago

This is the fault of the Haitian Government for continuing to create the conditions in their country that force people to take this risk.. Corrupt reshimes have ruled this country for decades and Bahamian's don't help by exploiting cheap labour. The international community will not make a large enough effort to intervene in Haiti and break up the decades of corrupt rule because Haiti has no value to them.. Any country that does not strongly push for education and the development of its people is destined to be poor and ignorant forever. The masses of the population remain ignorant clinging to vodoo and the catholic faith as their only hope rather than education and development.. The fact that our planes were not working did not help the situation and my prayers go out to the victim's and there family.. However the major fault in this situation is with Haiti.. For us to be responsible it would be like saying not having a working defibrilator in your home makes it your fault if a 700 lbs man dies of a heart attack in your back yard. Maybe there was a fresh plate of cookies in the window that give him the motivation to come onto the property but u did not create the problem. These people were in the process of commiting a crime to survive i understand, but the Haitian Government Killed these people... Now this business with the planes not working that's another story, its disgraceful and irresponsible to the Bahamian people and those legally travelling in our waters..

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concernedcitizen 6 years, 7 months ago

its also a case of poor or no birth control and making more babies then any GDP can absorb ,not unlike others in our region and something we are doing ourselves .The results are crime and poverty ..

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rony 6 years, 7 months ago

I agree with you Bahamianpride. l've been on a job. We have 9 Bahamians and 23 Haitians! This is madness, I will tell you these Haitians are lazy! I work with them everyday the reason they hired them is because this boss is only paying these dude $200 pw. I was working in lewisham London and trust me the UK are putting tight rules in place now.

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BahamaMan 6 years, 7 months ago

THIS MESSAGE IS FOR THE PERSON WHO SIGN IN AS - Bahamianpride

Bible Verses about Pride and Arrogance

1 Samuel 2:3 Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance, for the LORD is a God who knows, and by him deeds are weighed.

Proverbs 8:13 To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.

Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

Proverbs 13:10 Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 29:23 A man's pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor.

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Bahamianpride 6 years, 7 months ago

Bahamaman, quoting scripture even pedofiles in the church do that, can u hold a intellectual conversation this is not sunday school its the tribune, its usually people like u who r the biggest sinners hidding behind religion.. Ted Haggart, Creflo Dollar, Edie Long & now u.. So many religious people yet our society is a sespool of sin.. Praising Jesus, molesting kids, murdering & stealing from the poor.. Anyone with a 2nd grade education can quote scrpture. By the way your response sounds judmental isn't that a sin.. Lastly Dr. MINNIS is taking a political shot give n an opportunity he is using the situation to his advantage its not about the people who lost there life.

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positiveinput 6 years, 7 months ago

u left out bishop Randy Frazer. lol

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ThisIsOurs 6 years, 7 months ago

Aaah...now I get it...I'm always puzzled when people quote random scripture...he/she is referring to your tag name "Bahamianpride"...sorry I'm slow. That's weird. It's like throwing a paper plane in a fist fight...

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TalRussell 6 years, 7 months ago

I find it disheartening when a political leader makes political hay out of the unfortunate drowning of Haitians in Bahamaland's waters. I am embarrassed for all Bahamalander's by some of the insensitive comments posted here about Haitians in general. The only difference between the drowned Haitians, including little children, is they just happened to have been born in Haiti and not Bahamaland.

Mormon Bishop Poses as Homeless Man to Teach Church

...//. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yefSCt...">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yefSCt...

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SP 6 years, 7 months ago

It is a total fallacy that If Bahamians have a choice; they will hire a Haitian over a Bahamian.

People use the "cop out" that Bahamian workers are lazy, unproductive and tief from you and Haitians are honest, hard workers to justify themselves for hiring cheap labour and having their ass's kissed and seeing big nigger smiles every time they look at "their Haitian".

After 14 years in business I can truthfully say Haitians are much lazier than Bahamians, spend much more time standing around engrossed in conversations and or on cell phones, work at a snail’s pace or not at all as soon as you turn your back, cannot follow instructions without constant supervision and will steal more "time which is the COSTLIEST” and greatest asset of any business.

If the PLP and FNM had properly governed the country Bahamians (and expats who hire as many Haitians as possible for cheap labour and grinning servitude) would not have the opportunity of profiting from Haitians and we wouldn't have the problem.

The main culprits here are the PLP & FNM with their secret deals with Haiti and the U.N.

U.K. business's have the opportunity of hiring cheap labour from poor E.U. countries and have done so. However, Prime Minister David Camerons' government recognize the obvious pitfalls of social decay and mass unemployment this has already caused so far for U.K. citizens and are moving swiftly to close loopholes and prevent a similar disaster the Bahamas is facing today.

100% blame unquestionably rest with successive governments.

They totally mismanaged the economy and led the country into the deep stinky quagmire we now find ourselves in on EVERY FRONT.

Continuing to engage Haitians is a recipe for FURTHER disaster that even the blind, dumb, stupid and staunch can see.

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concernedcitizen 6 years, 7 months ago

You have hit the trifecta here , xenophopia , insulting other races, paranoria,in talking about sercert deals w/ Haiti and the UN ,,,geez ,How about a little introspective reasoning

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Bahamianpride 6 years, 7 months ago

The point i keep trying to make is this is a tragedy..Nobody wants this to happen and we all understand why they take the risk and would do the same in that situation. But for Dr. Minnis to use this tragedy to take a political shot at the opposition is rediculous. Stop faking like u care Dr. Minnis...its intellectually insulting... Our country has so many social problems with high crime, high unemployment, financial issues, systemic and societal moral decay.. These people should have been saved but taking on more illegal immigrants from other countries is suicidal... Nassau is overpopulated and I don't even feel comfortable walking around in certain areas. People are hostages in there homes fearing crime & won't even go out after hours. Its dangerous to even disagree with people these days because small arguments turn to stabbings and shoot outs.. We have a lot of work to do resolving our issues within our own Country, Haiti please do the same and stop forcing your people out on the open ocean to die.. The Haitian president, all of its politicians and anyone who sponsored this tragedy should be charged with Murder...

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linnassau 6 years, 7 months ago

This country must be the laughing stock of the world. We seem as though we lack the will or determination to deal effectively with this situation. It is indeed a very vexing issue but one that needs to be handled with diplomacy and humaneness.

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TalRussell 6 years, 7 months ago

When the reds new leader speaks, Bahamalander's say. He now saying what? Who in hell knows what Comrade Minnis's true position is on anything? In one of the coming weeks Tribune edition's, maybe the reds leader will come out with a press release, demanding that the Royal Bahamaland Policeman's aircraft fire warning shots over the Haitian sloops. Is this the same cabinet minister who said absolutely nothing when the former Prime Minister agreed with the Haitian president's rallying call for his fellow Haitian nationals to vote as an block as soon as Hubert done rung da 2012 General Election bell? Once the government gets them search planes flying again, da PM should assign one to the reds leader.to see if they can find his missing in action reds Marsh Harbour MP Edison?

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Emac 6 years, 7 months ago

Really-This red and yellow team talk is becoming a bit monotonous. Who cares which minister says what and when? We have already established that both major parties (PLP/FNM) have failed miserably in this area. So the big question is, What are we gonna do as a UNITED people to try and save what is left of the Bahamas, short of any criminal or inhumane activities?

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SP 6 years, 7 months ago

Government is too comprised with deals and agreements with Haiti to do anything.

Has ANY GOVERNMENT EVER exposed to "WE THE PEOPLE" the terms of dozens of "bilateral" agreements made with Haiti in the past 40 years?

What can they have possibly been negociating so much with the poorest country in the hemisphere?

All Haiti has is 9,893,934 people......ALL WANTING TO GET OUT.

What happens when ANOTHER 100,000 Haitians infiltrate the Bahamas?

We already proved over the past 40 years that we cannot solve the problem with talk and civility to the PLP & FNM.

WE WILL HAVE TO FIGHT FOR OUR COUNTRY....OR LOSE IT...PERIOD!

READ below what Thailand IS DOING NOW to resolve an issue their prime minister refused to deal with......

http://www.thenational.ae/world/south...">http://www.thenational.ae/world/south...

THIS IS WHERE WE ARE HEADED....ALTERNATIVLY.....LEARN CREOL!

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concernedcitizen 6 years, 7 months ago

we have been selling our country for 40 yrs ,,give me a couple good grands and i,ll get work permits .ON the family island its was normal that the political generals have permits that the Hatians that work under or for them have to kick up to them .You keep saying PLP or FNM are corrupt they didn,t come from mars they came from Bahamian ma,s ans pa,s .I put it to you we as a people are lacking in morals ,not all ,but a large % ,,,Damm we have even turned God into a numbers handicapper that sends us the winning number in a dream ,what kind of voodoo sh@#t is that

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SP 6 years, 7 months ago

@ Emac....."So the big question is, What are we gonna do as a UNITED people to try and save what is left of the Bahamas, short of any criminal or inhumane activities?"

Bahamians… JUST DON"T GET IT!

You people have been conditioned to do nothing but talk WHICH HAVE NOT WORKED OVER 40 YEARS OF BEGGING AND PLEADING.

Our country is under siege by Haitians...We cannot continue taking a "butter knife to a gun fight" ....30,000+ Bahamians HAVE ALREADY… L-O-S-T…. everything to HAITIANS.

While Bahamians are standing around talking crap about trying to be CIVIL AND HUMANE....HAITIANS ARE MERCILESSLY EXTERMINATING BAHAMIANS.

WAKE THE HELL UP BAHAMIANS!

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bismark 6 years, 7 months ago

SP you are so right,along with many others on this page,we cant sit back and let these people over run our country,believe me they will,i have had an opportunity to travel to Haiti on many occasions,they are at fault for the most of their problems.they are an ungovernable set of people,they tend to bring that same attitude to the Bahamas,they set up buildings no water no light,they devalue a whole area with their nastiness,while me and you pay mortage,they don't pay anything just send all of their money back home,they don't spend a dollar here,if they do it is with another Haitian,to remove the stigma that Bahamians are lazy,Bahamians are not going to work for the measly money some employers pay,simple.a Haitian could work for it because he isn't paying ANYTHING.

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