By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE president of the Haitian Bahamian community in the Bahamas said yesterday she supports “1,000 per cent” Florida politician Daphne Campbell’s calls for tourists and international businesses to boycott the Bahamas because of the government’s new immigration policies.
Jetta Baptiste’s comments came after Mrs Campbell on Monday lobbied for a boycott of the Bahamas to “end discrimination against Haitian children” and gave the government a week to reverse the new immigration policies.
Ms Baptiste told The Tribune she supports Mrs Campbell’s assertions because the Haitian community is “simply tired of all the political games that have been played with (them) over the years”.
She also said she would follow Mrs Campbell’s lead and “wait for the answer to come from the government”.
“We know what is going on in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas,” Ms Baptiste said. “The illegal migration problem is a big political game being played by the Bahamian government so that they can enrich themselves and fool the masses who cannot and will never get employment from them.
“(A boycott) can be and it will be accomplished, not only in the state of Florida, but watch for other states to follow,” Ms Baptiste said. “(Mrs Campbell) has taken the lead and has written to the government, and she is awaiting answers. We will wait for the answer to come from the government. They have called us ‘dogs’,” Ms Baptiste added. “Well, do you know what happens to someone who messes with a dog’s puppies? Every dog has a master.”
During a press conference on Channel 7 News on Monday, Mrs Campbell, a Floridian lawmaker of Haitian descent, vowed to stop at nothing until tourists and international businesses boycott the Bahamas because of the country’s controversial immigration policies that came into effect on November 1.
Mrs Campbell, also a Democratic Member of the Florida House of Representatives, said she had the power to “slap Bahamas with a law in Florida.” She said she had “Cuban elected officials” in support of her stance, and also called on US President Barack Obama and Florida Governor Rick Scott “to make sure the voice of the voiceless are heard.”
At one point during the conference, she fervently exclaimed: “Boycott Bahamas! Boycott Bahamas to end discrimination against Haitian children!”
She said Bahamian government officials have one week to apologise and reverse the new policies, or she would travel here with a delegation to address them face-to-face.
In response to her statements, Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell called her “a fool” and said he “can’t have any time” for “anyone who talks about boycotting the Bahamas.”
Shadow Minister of Immigration Hubert Chipman defended Mr Mitchell for “trying to defend the Bahamas” and said Mrs Campbell was “totally out of order” for her comments.