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Xenophobia In The Bahamas: Haitian Ambassador Addresses Fred Mitchell

Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell (left) addressing a Special Permanent Council Meeting of the Organisation of American States (OAS) in Washington, DC, yesterday. At centre is OAS Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin and at right is Ambassador of Guyana Bayney Karran.

Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell (left) addressing a Special Permanent Council Meeting of the Organisation of American States (OAS) in Washington, DC, yesterday. At centre is OAS Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin and at right is Ambassador of Guyana Bayney Karran.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

THE Haitian ambassador to the Organisation of American States raised concerns yesterday about xenophobia and mistreatment of Haitians in the Bahamas during a special OAS sitting in Washington, DC.

Addressing Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell, Ambassador Bocchit Edmond called on the Bahamas government to consider launching a public campaign designed to underscore the notion that “verbal abuse” of Haitians is “unfair and unjust”.

Mr Edmond frequently emphasised that he did not wish to “cast aspersions” on the decisions of the Bahamian government, but he nonetheless raised several concerns about the policy measures this country has taken to deal with illegal immigration.

In his response, Mr Mitchell rejected suggestions of widespread abuse of Haitians and noted that the Bahamas government does not sanction discrimination.

“...I would like to raise the concern of my government as to the verbal abuse to which Haitian immigrants have been exposed in the Bahamas,” Mr Edmond said. “As you may know, sir, there are many great Haitians presently in the Bahamas, but that indeed have been in line with the immigration requirements for years…and yet too many of them are victims of certain abuse and denigrating (remarks) and I should go as far as to say frankly rankly discriminating behaviour simply because they are Haitians.”

“Then there are black Bahamians who are summarily interpreted as being Haitian and who have been subjected to the same treatment for that reason. I would very much hope that your government would take under advisement to launch a campaign of information of some kind to really underscore the fact that this is unfair and unjust. I believe the vast majority of Bahamian citizens are very good, but when I read the press or have seen a couple of video clips on the Internet or heard and read for myself a number of these statements that have been made, I have to say these are frankly inflammatory and cannot fail but to stir up feelings that are not conducive to peaceful coexistence.

“So I would implore you, sir, to, I won’t say so much to educate, but to inform, to make it clear the measures are being taken, measures in the public domain, measures that I have stated from the outset are absolutely in the purview of Bahamian sovereign decisions, but we also know that the Bahamas as do we all has the obligation to respect basic human rights.”

In his response, Mr Mitchell said much of what is represented in the press about the treatment of Haitians in the Bahamas is false.

“To speak for a moment about the question of prejudice and discrimination and what is said in the press and social media,” he said, “part of the reason we are here is because of the misinformation that was spun either in the press or social media about what this is. The government of the country is not responsible for what is in the press or what the people say in the press, although it might in fact reflect in some instances what public opinion is. But I think every Bahamian understands the nature of prejudice and bigotry and discrimination and certainly the government does not sanction any of these things and I want to separate myself from any effort which is suggesting that one ought to discriminate against any national group. This is a generic policy not expressed in terms of any national group.”

Nonetheless, Mr Mitchell acknowledged that many Bahamians are frustrated with the country’s illegal immigration problem and with having to absorb “hundreds and thousands” of illegal migrants.

“Our prime minister, when he speaks, often recounts a story of the first black member of parliament (who) was in fact a man named Stephen Dillet who was born in Haiti, came with his mother after the revolution as a child,” he said. “Our governor general who just retired, Sir Arthur Foulkes, his mother was Haitian. Haitians and people of Haitian descent are integrated in the country. And my view is that what you are seeing, you say expressed in the press, does not represent the majority view in our country. What is of concern to a small country is the question of can you continue to absorb hundreds and thousands of illegal migrants coming into a country undocumented knowing what your obligations are in the international arena for the security of your border and also for the future identity and safety of your own state. That is simply unsustainable and so we have an obligation, both internationally and within our own domestic borders to our own population to ensure, not that migrant stops, but that those who come to the Bahamas are properly documented to be in the Bahamas and come through the front door and not through the back door. That is what this is aimed at correcting.”

Comments

TalRussell 3 years, 7 months ago

We have so much Haitian love in Bahamaland we turn over to them, their very own Talk Radio Broadcasting Station. Comrade Ambassador Bocchit Edmond don’t you have your own nation’s problems to be dealing with? Ambassador we only as you put it “verbal abuse” those Haitians, if they are in Bahamaland, uninvited and unwelcome to stay. It is your own Haitian government who is behind your country’s citizens fleeing to Bahamaland. The world needs to know, if many thousands of illegal Haitians were not abusing their presence on Bahamaland’s soil, we would not have a need to verbally abuse them or anyone who calls for an economic blockade against our tourism industry. What is there you as a Haitian does not understand about; go home if in Bahamaland illegally? If you wish Bahamaland’s people can shout this from their bullhorns. Ambassador we do not want another Haitian disaster for Bahamaland. Get hell out now.

Haiti: Tear gas doesn't deter marchers calling for Martelly resignation

......….//https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkfEJ7GrOE0

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bahamianimmigrant 3 years, 7 months ago

u have some anti social views..if there are some human rights violations when conducting those raids,and kids had been detained without their parents, its everybody business(internationally)..what the demonstrations in port au prince have to do with this? martelly is there to stay! are you denying that you are a xenophobe?

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ThisIsOurs 3 years, 7 months ago

I'm not a xenophobe but I think the flow illegal immigrants needs to stop. Tell your brothers and sisters that we cannot support them. There are MANY MANY MANY MANY children in the US in detention centres without parents. Have you accused the US of human rights violations because of it? No, because in and of itself it's ridiculous. We do not have the money, our government ministers are all corrupt, they have robbed the treasury blind, we have NO MONEY to support illegal immigrants. That's just a fact. If you arrive here and are placed in a detention center under less than desirable conditions, it's because WE HAVE NO MONEY. ITS GONE, STOLEN, BUT ITS GONE. If you arrive here and have a baby, the baby is not Bahamian, please let all of them know.

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WETHEPEOPLE 3 years, 7 months ago

It has nothing to do with antisocial views, it has to do with protecting the integrity of OUR country The Bahamas. And if the treatment in the Bahamas is so bad, why bother coming to our shoes. How much longer must Bahamians shoulder the burden of immigrants, whether they are Haitian, Jamaican or whichever other nationality. If you live in the Bahamas and cannot realize the problem we face with immigration then you are as blind as Stevie Wonder walking in the dark. While i dont condone improper treatment of anyone, our laws must be abided. If you came here illegally you have NO VOICE, plain and simple. You cant complain about anything!!! People want to make it a Haitian versus Bahamian issue, when its clearly not, its a Bahamian vesus undocumented nationals issue. Bottom line if you came here illegally, you along with your kids who were born here all need to be repatriated back to your country of origin. Being born in the Bahamas to parents of undocumented immigrants DOES NOT make you a Bahamain, and it never will!!

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TheMadHatter 3 years, 7 months ago

What the demonstrations have to do with it - is that there are Haitians in Haiti who are trying to remove the disgusting Govt there that is forcing them to live like dogs and forcing them to risk their lives in boats in rough seas to get away from there because they cannot live there with any dignity. The Govt is fighting them with the help of U.N. "Peacekeepers". They are actually U.N. Slavekeepers. Why don't you voice your anger at them???

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SP 3 years, 7 months ago

I wholeheartedly admit to xenophobia against Haitians especially after watching them riot and the violent demonstrations now happening in Haiti.

Bahamians do not act like that and we do not want mass Haitians here because WE KNOW they will bring their nasty disgusting ways with them and drag our country down to the cesspool level of Haiti.

Get ALL ILLEGALS out of our country but CONCENTRATE ON HAITIANS because they are the biggest group and the ONLY group that has been more than a pain in the ass for far too long!

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Cobalt 3 years, 7 months ago

Say it again!!!! I don't tink dey hear you!!!

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TalRussell 3 years, 7 months ago

Comrade I am not only one you have hung your xenophobe label on. It is the 'shit disturbers' within the Haitian community that adds to why the yelling is becoming necessary. What other nation would permit illegals to not only enter their country but remain silent while they construct their own living quarters in Shanty Towns? You can go to hell.

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TruthHurts 3 years, 7 months ago

I'll wear the Xenophobe label proudly! We've been Haiti's doormat for too long! To now 'shit all over us' after we've let these violations of immigration gone on for so long, is indeed a slap in the face. If the head (Haiti's Ambassador) is making such uninformed statements, and passing the buck like this, then I see why we as Bahamians cannot expect any better from the rest. :(

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duppyVAT 3 years, 7 months ago

There is NO zenophobia in The Bahamas............ when was the last time was Bahamian mob accused of bludgeoning Highshuns in the streets?????????? Standing up for your country patrimony is not zenophobia ...................... when you lay down with dog, you catch flea.

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TruthHurts 3 years, 7 months ago

@duppyVAT

I assumed this gentleman had no other words in his vocabulary to degrade us; unfortunately the cap sure is hell do not fit. No, I think what he meant to say was; that he's sorry his people have 'EXPLOITED' our resources and their rights as illegals. Sorry that his people have become a 'BURDEN' to our society by having many children to a household with no regards to their illegal immigration status. Also, he cannot express his gratitude of how we've 'ENDURED' this for so long while our country is being seized by HIS countrymen. NO! I think this is what he intended to say when he decided to speak out on this immigration matter. Haitians need to humble themselves, and the ambassador and Freddy needs to take a seat! As it's well known, Haitians that have prospered in other countries speak well of their home and how beautiful it is. WELL.. my question is, what are you doing for YOUR country other than fighting to give them rights in OTHER PEOPLE'S COUNTRY????? There is a big problem here! Bahamians ain't rolling over and playing dead anymore... and they have EVERY RIGHT UNDER THE HEAVENS TO FIGHT FOR WHAT IS THEIRS, NOT HAITI'S!

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Observer 3 years, 7 months ago

Mr.Edmond is saying that those children of reference are BAHAMIANS. That is the HAitian's theory of being born in the Bahamas. They can't think beyond that. As far as disrespect for Haitians living illegally in the BAHAMAS, Mr. Edmonds' story is all hearsay, he really does not have time for the peasants.

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aloethree 3 years, 7 months ago

There is no Xenophobia in the Bahamas we have been a nation that welcomed people for years, I think the influence that foreigners bring that goes against our constitution, beliefs and morals are what we dislike as Bahamians, (No Fear)

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birdiestrachan 3 years, 7 months ago

Mr. Edmond is typical of his people Many come here on Boats that are not safe. rickety.. if he does not know this he is out of touch , or a great big lie teller, The American coast guard knows so he could have saved that lie, as much as they protest about the treatment of their people and this includes the Haitian Ambassador in the Bahamas and Fred Smith they never tell those who are here illegal to go home or offer any assistance for them to do so, They want to run the Bahamas, and they can not even run Haiti. It is a simple matter Immigration need not pick you up. just leave as you came. Respect the laws of the Bahamas.

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aloethree 3 years, 7 months ago

i think it's time to end all this talk about foreign policies and how ILLEGAL and LEGAL IMMIGRANT feel this is a democracy our Constitution and Sovereignty has been ordained by the Creator of The Universe.(GOD)

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TalRussell 3 years, 7 months ago

Comrade Haitian ambassador to (OAS) do you know how damn difficult it is not to want to verbally abuse the living hell out of a Haitian/Bahamlander King's Counsel (KC)? Did you read what the other Freddy said? I didn't think so, so here is what other KC Freddy said:

Dat other Freddy (KC) has; "accused Bahamaland's government of “institutional terrorism,” “ethnic cleansing,” and “running Auschwitz in The Bahamas,” referring to the Carmichael Road Detention Centre."

Your Excellency, if you just happen bump into him, tell him that Comrade Tal has done emailed Satan ,not quench he thirst with ice water.

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Stapedius 3 years, 7 months ago

I like how illegal immigrants always want to take the moral high road. Haitian ambassadors never feel the need to address the deplorable human conditions in Haiti. The corruption and poor governance is in large part the issue there. Nobody wants to address the poor race relations within Haiti but they are highly critical of the Bahamas and talk of education campaigns. Why not educate Haitians on building their economy, family planning and what it means to stop revolting at every dislike. It's a revolving door of poverty and political instability in Haiti and everyone is being to politically correct about it. We as a people do not wish Haiti or its citizens any harm. We are simply saying as Bahamians that we should not be made to feel guilty for the failure of the Haitian government to protect the interest of its people. In fact, we should be proud of our own leadership that includes the opposition for once standing together to protect our interests. Now if you call stopping illegal immigration xenophobia then so be it.

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SP 3 years, 7 months ago

We need to encourage our people to "double up on the xenophobia" against Haitians and protect our country from these invaders who are trying to take our country or destroy it!

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Girly 3 years, 7 months ago

I think we need to start wearing custom made shirts saying "SINCE YOU INSIST. WE ARE XENOPHOBIA,SO GET THE FRIGG OUT"

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duppyVAT 3 years, 7 months ago

HAITIANS ..............LEAVE AUSCHWITZ NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ....... LOL

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SP 3 years, 7 months ago

Nobody is trying to migrate to Haiti but if people were desperate enough to do so and take jobs from Haitians, those same animals rioting in Haiti right now would unquestionably murder them.

The way to better ones life cannot start by illegally migrating to my country, stealing a rightful citizens job, putting the burden and expense of education and health care for yourself and 8 children on tax paying citizens and participating in all manner of crimes.

The Bahamas has done more for Haitians per capita than any other country.

After many decades of GIVING TO HAITIANS they are the only illegals to turn against us and try to destroy us internationally.

Go back to your beloved Haiti! You were not invited here, not needed here and are NO LONGER WELCOMED HERE.

Haitians have always been pain in the ass parasites that we allowed to coexist among us at great expense. Now they have worn out their welcome and turned Bahamians against them......GOOD RIDDANCE ! 0

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licks2 3 years, 7 months ago

So i'se xenophobe? What dat mean anywho? Some body here of Haitian decent please expleen dat fer ma please!!! And please put in context of me don't likin Haitians them so!!! I waitin nah ya hear!

Oh and by the way. . .Fred did an outstanding job in making our case before the OAS. . .which can't be said for the Haitian Ambassador!!!

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