By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
FOREIGN Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell yesterday dismissed a Miami Herald report which claimed that the Haitian ambassador to this country has been recalled to Haiti.
Mr Mitchell also shot down claims in the report that the Bahamian ambassador to Haiti was summoned as the Haitian government condemns the new immigration policy here.
The Miami Herald attributed quotes to Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, reporting him as saying his government “deplores the recent actions” of the Bahamas and is “calling on Bahamian authorities to respect the rights of Haitians in the Bahamas, especially the children who are being unfairly impacted.”
The statements attributed to Mr Lamothe came after the Haitian Ambassador to the Bahamas Antonio Rodrigue expressed similar sentiments last week.
In a statement released yesterday, Mr Mitchell said: “The Bahamas Minister of Foreign Affairs has spoken to the Haitian ambassador (Mr Rodrigue) and the truth is that he travelled to Haiti for consultations with the Haitian government, not withdrawn as ambassador to the Bahamas as the Herald’s story suggested. The Haitian foreign minister and the Bahamian foreign minister are to speak tomorrow by telephone and may meet in Tokyo next week.
“The Bahamian ambassador to Haiti attended a meeting with the minister of foreign affairs of Haiti on November 6 and assured him that there was no abuse or inhumane treatment of Haitian nationals in the Bahamas in connection with the enforcement of the new immigration policies.”
Mr Mitchell said that when Haitian President Michel Martelly visited the Bahamas on July 28, Prime Minister Perry Christie advised him of the steps the government would take with regard to immigration.
“The matters were similarly discussed between the two foreign ministers (of the Bahamas and Haiti) at the United Nations General Assembly in September of this year,” he added.
When asked yesterday about the attitudes Haitians in Haiti have toward the new immigration policy, a former diplomat with ties to Haiti said the immigration raids are widely perceived as inhumane.
The former official spoke to The Tribune on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak officially.
He said the Bahamian ambassador to Haiti should “go to the press of Haiti” and dispute false claims.
“He needs to talk about such news in Haiti because that’s very important, just to give another perception, because of the perception for the past seven days is that immigration officials are going to homes arresting children,” said the former diplomat. “The perception is wide but the fact is wrong. I think your guy in Haiti should do something, let people know about the situation.”
“The video where the immigration officials have children in their hands, that image might give you a wrong perception. Myself, I think normally if you repatriate mothers and fathers, I think for the goodness of the child it would be best for the children to be with the parents.