EDITOR, The Tribune.
Bahamians are such “babes in the woods”! And those who display that na�vet� mostly are some of our leaders! That might be because what most of what we ordinary folk do doesn’t make the papers.
I see from recent newspaper articles that Fred Mitchell has had success in his recent trip to Haiti to discuss the illegal migration of Haitians to the Bahamas.
Some Bahamians might well believe that, but better informed Bahamians know better. The Haitian leaders fooled us again!
No administration in the Bahamas has ever been sufficiently serious about protecting our borders from illegal Haitian migrants and our fishing grounds from fishermen of the Dominican Republican. Haitian leaders have been playing with our heads “from that time”.
Sometime ago, I heard that the Hon Arthur D Hanna once had a meeting with Papa Doc about the question of illegal migration of Haitians to the Bahamas; and during the meeting Papa Doc asked Mr Hanna, “How do you know they are Haitians?” Mr Hanna replied: “They speak Creole”. Papa Doc responded, “Well, I speak English!”
Mr Hanna’s delegation came back empty handed. As did Fred Mitchell’s delegation, whether he knows it or not!
Our leadership is so naive! Both the Haitian and the Dominican Republican leaders meet with us, fool us and laugh at us.
Sending illegal migrants to other countries in the region is a Haitian industry.
The money the migrants send back to Haiti is of huge significance to the Haitian economy. I once heard on a radio talk show the claim that the money sent back to Haiti, Jamaica and perhaps to other countries in the region as well, amounted in the year I heard the claim – two or three years ago – to thirty-two billion dollars! As I write that number it sounds incredible, but that was the claim.
The people involved as guests on the talk show were then sending a delegation to Western Union to try and negotiate a lowering of the charges it was making for remitting those funds.
The Haitian government depends quite heavily on those funds. The industry is important to Jamaica, too; and, I suspect, to the Dominican Republic as well.
If the Haitian government really wants to co-operate with the Bahamas on the question of illegal Haitian migration, I suspect that it would be able to stop it overnight!
I suspect that very important citizens – of Haiti and of The Bahamas – might well be involved in the construction/ownership of those wooden boats that come to our shores laden with desperate human beings.
Some years ago, when, as a magistrate I tried cases of people landing illegally in the Bahamas, it was always claimed that those poor people had each paid $3,000 (US) to come to the Bahamas on one of those rickety wooden boats.
Of course, their ultimate goal was to reach the USA, but, having reached the Bahamas – well, heaven is heaven!
And neither will the Dominican Republicans co-operate to protect us from their poachers. They only want their fishermen to return with good catches of lobster, fish and everything else that our waters provide.
And really, why should they?
We should be responsible to protect our own borders; our own fishing grounds.
How should the Bahamas do that?
Some years ago, I travelled to Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic to attend my son’s wedding. We saw a number of natives on the beach at our hotel with what appeared to be submachine guns; and when they were asked what they were doing they responded: “Looking out for Haitians”. One of the natives told me that over a thousand Haitians are estimated to cross into the Dominican Republic everyday!
Even though people stand on the beaches with submachine guns! …..One has to wonder why they would turn up on a beach when they have common borders that, presumably, allow them to simply walk across…
Mr Mitchell, we have been talking for decades and still old wooden sloops turn up on South Beach, their holds emptied, sails still aloft, abandoned!
How many illegals came? We don’t know!
We would have known if we had been standing on the beach with submachine guns!
When you are serious about doing so, that is how you protect your borders!
When you get serious about stopping the fishermen of the Dominican Republic poaching in our waters, you stand at the border machine guns at the ready! And you confiscate their fishing vessels; and you put their captains in jail! With huge fines to boot!
That, Fred, is what Bahamians want to happen; expect to happen!
To those of you to whom the word Xenophobia comes to mind, the answer is yes, absolutely!
Do I hate Haitians? No!
Do I fear Haitians? Yes, all nine million plus, of them!
We simply cannot deal with all those illegal migrants who are trying to come here – from wherever they are coming!
NORRIS R CARROLL
June 27, 2014.