By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
RADIO personality Louby Georges is pushing back against suggestions that he has been making anti-Bahamian statements on his radio show.
Mr Georges expressed displeasure with a letter to the editor published in The Tribune last week in which the writer accused Mr Georges, activist Jetta Baptiste, and Haitian-Bahamian Anson Aly “and to some extent (Haitian) Ambassador Rodrigue” of making threats against the Bahamas.
Reacting to this, Mr Georges said he believes in the Bahamas and does not want to be associated with those making inflammatory comments about the country.
“It leaves a bad taste in the mouth when people say those things about me and I want to remove myself from being linked with those very polarising figures,” he said. “People remember Jetta Baptiste and Daphne Campbell from what they have said so, hell yes, I want to distance myself from them.”
Mr Georges acknowledged the tension surrounding Haitian-Bahamian relations, but urged commentators to not paint all Haitians with the same brush.
“We must understand that the Haitian-Bahamian, the illegal immigration situation is a very emotive one,” he said. “We have the average Bahamian ingrained with this whole notion that there is nothing good that could come from the Haitian community, that all Haitians are bad. From kids we have already decided things about these people and people who stand up for Haitians are bashed, their loyalty questioned.”
Mr Georges said he is an easy target for criticism given that he speaks out against what he feels is a negative cultural sentiment towards Haitians.
“With me, a vocal advocate who is not afraid to speak out against the injustices and the realities on what I actually see happening, people see that the wrong way. They feel that because I’m challenging Fred Mitchell’s immigration policies, I’m challenging the country or that I don’t want anything to be done with regards to illegal immigration. In reality, that’s not the case. If this thing was done the right way, there would be no need for Fred to go to that organisation and this organisaton to explain the policies and what’s happening at the department of immigration.”
As for those who have made inflammatory comments about Bahamians, Mr Georges said: “It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it.”
“I don’t agree with any form of boycott of the Bahamas and I want to take my name away from any anti-Bahamian notions. The Bahamas has a reputation that we need to uphold, which is one that we are a paradise and we treat everyone fairly. The problem is that we have stories of persons claiming to being abused and there are countless other stories out there that the international media is looking at. So at the end of the day I understand the overall goal, but I want to see it reached, but it will not happen this way.
Mr Georges called on Haitians to believe in the “Bahamian dream”.
“To those persons making inflammatory statements, they are wrong and they need to buy into the Bahamian dream and Bahamianisation,” he said. “I have Haitian parents, but I am Bahamian. No other Bahamian, not even Perry Christie, could dictate to me how much a Bahamian I am.”
Recently Mrs Campbell, a state representative in Florida who was born in Haiti, mounted protests calling for a boycott of this country because of perceived discrimination against children of Haitian descent. Ms Baptiste has supported Mrs Campbell in her calls for a boycott.
In October, Mr Aly made headlines after he expressed frustration to a ZNS reporter about homes in his shanty town community being torn down. At the time, he said clearing down communities like these could lead to reprisal from the Haitian community. He added that Bahamians were outnumbered by Haitian Bahamians and cautioned Bahamians not to start something they could not finish.
At one point he said he felt like putting a “Colombian necktie” on people, which is slang for cutting someone’s throat. He was questioned by police, but not charged over the remarks and has publicly apologised for making them.