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Smith: No Problem With Idea Of Haitian-Bahamian Political Party

Fred Smith

Fred Smith

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Tribune Staff Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

HUMAN rights activist Fred Smith, QC, said he sees no problem with Bahamians of Haitian descent organising to form political parties, insisting that the country is on its way to this group of society emerging as parliamentary leaders.

Mr Smith, who is also the president of the Grand Bahama Human Rights Association (GBHRA), told The Tribune yesterday that the stigma in the Bahamas that Haitians are of lesser value should be done away with.

He again chastised the Christie administration over its immigration restrictions maintaining that the government has encouraged a culture of hatred toward Haitians.

“Bahamians of Haitian descent are a large part of our society,” Mr Smith said. “So without doubt you will see people of that heritage as members of parliament and at the forefront of the political arena.

“I don’t see what is wrong with it. People have the freedom of association under the Constitution.

“I see nothing wrong with people promoting self interest in political parties for social benefits for different parts of the community.”

Mr Smith said it is time for the conversation in the country to focus on how immigration can create diversification.

He called on the government to follow the example of countries, including Canada and Korea; countries he said encourage different nationalities to contribute to shaping society.

“The Bahamas should have a different conversation. We should be saying yes to a form of immigration that creates diversity and multilingualism in the same way that Canada, Korea and China does.

“I think the Christie administration has done a great disservice. It is awful to be maligned and treated as second-class citizens.

“This kind of mentality that the Cabinet of the Bahamas is promoting is dangerous. We are hating our own people,” Mr Smith said.

He insisted that these latest comments should not be construed as supporting illegal migration.

Mr Smith and the GBHRA have been involved in an ongoing row with the government over its newest immigration restrictions. Mr Smith has likened the Carmichael Road Detention Centre to Auschwitz, a former Nazi concentration camp. He has also suggested that the Bahamas government is carrying out ethnic cleansing with the restrictions.

However, Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell on Monday shot back at those criticisms calling them a “highly personal campaign” against him.

“The question is this, which must be put to them: whose side are you on?” Mr Mitchell asked.

“The side of Bahamians and our national patrimony (or) are you siding with enemies of the country who would undermine the country’s security and well-being?

“These activists like to portray this as some poor migrants who are simply trying to make a better life, but increasingly this is a portrait of a sophisticated smuggling operation which is big business and in the process is threatening to swamp our country.”

With six more months to go in the fiscal year, repatriations conducted as of December 2014 have exhausted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration’s deportation budget.

Mr Mitchell has revealed that the Department of Immigration has spent around $1.7m to repatriate 4,628 foreign nationals in 2014.

Comments

bismark 4 years, 12 months ago

why don't they go back to their own country and make that better instead of trying to make someone else Country yours?

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SP 4 years, 12 months ago

......Yes we are sick and tired of dam Haitians....Get the hell OUT! .......

Revoke this idiots paper citizenship. Starting with this traitor Fred Smith, get rid of the dam Haitians before they start thinking can rise up and take our country.

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asiseeit 4 years, 12 months ago

What the hell do you mean, Haitian Bahamian, no sir if you want to live here then you become a BAHAMIAN, if not carry your hip back to that failure of a country you had to run from.

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Girly 4 years, 12 months ago

WHEN PIGS FLY. Form you'll party where you'll claiming ZOE FOR LIFE.

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ispeakthetruth 4 years, 12 months ago

There needs to be a law against that immediately! This is the Bahamas, not Haiti-Bahamas! There is absolutely no need for a Haitian-Bahamian political party.

We have been push-overs for so long that now these folks are beginning to voice their true intent..to take over and inevitably ruin the Bahamas, like they did Haiti and sail off when the going gets tougher. This progression toward Ba-Haiti and the idiots like Mr. Fred Smith should concern every Bahamian. We really need our politicians to act like they are concerned about the Bahamas, and Bahamians. This idea, and this person, is just ridiculous!

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SP 4 years, 12 months ago

................................................................ Solution ...............................................................

http://www.bermuda-online.org/citizen...">http://www.bermuda-online.org/citizen...

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Girly 4 years, 12 months ago

Ain't nobody gat time for this nobody.Any Bahamian that would even think about giving him or any of them any type of leverage in this country might as well start packing their bags because Bahamians will be on the outside looking in. A WORD TO THE WISE.

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SP 4 years, 12 months ago

............................................ Solution .....................................................

http://www.bermuda-online.org/citizen...">http://www.bermuda-online.org/citizen...

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Cas0072 4 years, 12 months ago

There is nothing wrong with legal immigrants of Haitian descent running for office. If they are anything like Fred Smith and Jetta Baptiste, then this is a problem. Politicians should have a sense of patriotism and aspire to see the country succeed, or at least appear believable, if they are to be trusted with public office. "Haitian Bahamians" who have no use for this country other than bending to the wants of the illegal Haitian community is not what this country needs.

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ispeakthetruth 4 years, 12 months ago

Even the legal ones should be heavily vetted when it comes to political office in the Bahamas. Who do you think makes it possible, and provides a safe haven for more illegals?

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SP 4 years, 12 months ago

........................................... Solution ..................................................

http://www.bermuda-online.org/citizen...">http://www.bermuda-online.org/citizen...

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DillyTree 4 years, 12 months ago

What a bunch of biggoted fools we Bahamians are! Each and every one of us came from somewhere else, so no one has bragging rights on being the indigenous people of the Bahamas -- unless you are Lucayan. If people are here legally and as Bahamians, then they have the SAME rights and responsibilities as everyone else.

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ispeakthetruth 4 years, 12 months ago

So forming a HAITIAN-Bahamian party would not be a bigoted act? Should we not be upset then by the idea of a Conchy Joe-Bahamian, or the Chinese-Bahamian party? Those are along the same lines. If Bahamians are bigots, then you are a hypocrite.

While nobody claimed to be an indigenous Bahamian, there is no reason for us to graciously concede the land, culture and heritage that has been ours since slavery by providing a foot hold to an organization whose very concept excludes many. Nobody asserted that LEGAL persons of Haitian descent, or any other legal person, should not be allowed to enter politics. The very concept of any political organization in the Bahamas that is afilliated with another nationality, a specific race, or gender, should not be taken seriously. Because clearly they are not taking the Bahamas seriously.

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Girly 4 years, 12 months ago

I don't know why these undercover "wanna" be Bahamians don't stop pretending.No real true Bahamian would call his/herself a "biggoted fool".This is the same reason why this immigration policy have to be enforced because of the disgusting loathing attitude that most of you have for the Bahamas.You know very well Bahamians are not bigoted.We are only defending our own.

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DillyTree 4 years, 12 months ago

Hardly a wanna be, as my Bahamian heritage goes back to the 1600s. I am so damn tired of having to justify and explain my Bahamianess to people because I am white. So yes, I am fed up with the small-mindedness that believes that if you are white, or of any foreign descent that you cannot be a Bahamian.That thinking is what keeps our country down. It's not national pride, it's bigotry. Go look it up.

In a democracy, anyone can start a political party and campaign accordinging. Also in a democracy, you can vote for whomever you wish. So what the hell are you all so frightened about?

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Cas0072 4 years, 12 months ago

Bahamians should be fearful of a political party that includes Fred Smith or one that is supported by him. Bahamians of Haitian descent are free right now to participate in the political process, to represent their constituecies if elected, and at the same time advocate for the changes they seek. Forming a Bahamian party to address the economy, crime, education, immigration, etc., which impact everyone, should be good enough. These are topics that can potentially unite people of all backgrounds.

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DillyTree 4 years, 12 months ago

Is that the best you've got, generalcrazy? So when people ask hard questions, you start name-calling. How mature.

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Emac 4 years, 12 months ago

A political party made up of "Haitian-Bahamians"? Great idea! Let them start their campaigning in Long Island first though. If they get one vote then I would eat dog shit. Really though, even Blind Blake can see that this clown is just barking at anything the PLP does. No true substance coming from this fellow. But at least everyone knows where his loyalty lies.

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duppyVAT 4 years, 12 months ago

You are right about Long Island ............. but several constituencies will immediately be up for grabs in favour of the Sak Pase Party (SPP)

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birdiestrachan 4 years, 12 months ago

It is good that all of this has come to light. Fred Smith is doing his best to cause division and hatred between Haitians and Bahamians. It makes no sense. Enforcing the law does not encourage hatred, towards any people ,Canada Korea or China is not the Bahamas their population are millions. and they do have their immigration laws. The Bahamas is a small country.

Mr: Smith seems to have lost his mind, The more he talks, the more it shows how much he is out of touch with reality.

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TheMadHatter 4 years, 12 months ago

We need to invent a new word. I tried "insanity" - but it just doesn't have enough meaning to cover this one entirely.

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Voltaire 4 years, 12 months ago

What a bunch of nonsense has been spoken in these comments. DillyTree, you are the only person with social maturity here. Does anyone here have a problem with African Americans organizing into a politically influential bloc in the USA? Does that make black Americans unpatriotic? What about a political block in the US advocating for women's rights? Is anyone here really upset that the hold on American politics by old, white men is slowly being broken? How is this any different? All this is so petty and hypocritical. People in a democracy have freedom of association. As long as they are citizens and can vote, they can form any bloc, pressure group or party that they want. A Haitian-Bahamian party would add greatly to the plurality and quality of debate in this country. Grow up and stop being so scared of everything.

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Cas0072 4 years, 12 months ago

It sounds like you are talking about caucuses. These people did not campaign or get elected based on race or gender. At least not officially. They join specific coalitions after the fact in order to pursue common goals. The president of the US reminded black Americans several times that he is the president of the entre US and not just black America. Elected officials must represent everyone in their constituencies equally. To form a political party that is focused on the issues of a single population, as the term and Smith's comments assert, is not progress. It is a huge step back.

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ispeakthetruth 4 years, 12 months ago

Voltaire, your ignorance and bias is showing. "Pressure groups" and "voting blocks" are not the same as a national party vying to govern a country they do not fully relate. You are such a hypocrite for telling Bahamians to grow up and accept people who do not identify as simply Bahamian into our politics; and at the same time readily accept the implied exclusion of us from their group.

Your biased logic, was of course inconsistent with reality. For your information, there is no African American party organized around "black issues" in the US. They either align with a major party, or run independently. Pressure Groups, or Lobbyists as they are called in the US do not form politcial parties because of the perceived conflict of interest. The resulting lawsuits of such political groups would be significant and not tolerated by Americans.

Also, the evolution of American politics from non-white males corresponds to their naturally evolving demography. Unlike the impact of forced and overwhelming illegal immigration to our developing nation. However, please note, even with more people of color, women and gays in US politics, they are all proud Americans and not members of politicized Kenyan, Women's Liberation or LGBT American parties with singular agendas. US politicians seek to embrace, not distance, from all things American when running for office even if they are 1st or 2nd generation. At the very least, it's a sign of respect to the country that gave them the opportunity, they may otherwise not have.

Bottom line in all of this however is that Fred Smith is an instigator who may still be looking for a bloody revolution. Since he can't be deported, he should be ignored. People who support clearly him have zero concern for the development, prosperity or continuance of the Bahamas. They should be ignored as well.

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DEDDIE 4 years, 12 months ago

Life is a cycle. The whites felt the same way about blacks. I find myself pondering whether the son of a Jamaican could become Prime Minister in today's Bahamaland as what happen in the sixty's or whether Steven Dillet (first black elected to Bahamas parliament(Haitian)) would be elected today. The more remove we are from the plantation the more divided we've become. I don't believe in a Haitian Bahamian party but I do think it make sense for them to vote as a block to advance their special interest. In fact, I hope the island I am on will vote as a block to push some interest we have.

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TalRussell 4 years, 12 months ago

Comrade your argumentation only goes to acknowledge that it's not about a discrimination against anything Haitian thing, by the natives but has be about lots more? Time put that failed argument to bed, that we dislike the Haitian people.
I don't even hate ""KC" Freddy but a long visit up Sandilands does comes in my head. Just not sure if the flash in my head is suggesting a psychiatric or geriatric stay? How old is da "KC" anyways?

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ispeakthetruth 4 years, 12 months ago

Any organized, civilized country would not allow one of their national parties to be represent an entirely separate nationality. Why should Haiti be included in our political process to that extent? Why should America, China or Russia? This is not about racism, and we are a long time away from the plantation..only a simple mind would go there.

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DEDDIE 4 years, 12 months ago

I think you are been disingenuous in your statement.They are not representing a different nationality but a grouping of Bahamians(Haitian descent) who may have some shared interest. Again nothing is mentioned about Haiti in the political process, that just a figment of your imagination. Talk about a simple mind.

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Cas0072 4 years, 12 months ago

You are being disingenuous when you pretend that Haitians make an effort to integrate into the Bahamian society. Even with the advancements that Fred Smith has made within Bahamian society as a Haitian of birth, he still has a one track mind.The fact that he is talking about forming a Haitian Bahamian party rather than calling for inclusion speaks volumes. The Bahamas must change its political framework to accommodate interest based parties? Fred Smith is being disingenuous. He knows his comment is divisive and that it feeds the us versus them mentality that exists on both sides of this issue.

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ispeakthetruth 4 years, 12 months ago

You are the who is not being sincere about the motives of a "HAITIAN-Bahamian" political party in the Bahamas!. The nature of it implies the Haiti connection, if you don't get that, then you are more simple than I first thought. If one cannot identify simply as Bahamian, because their allegiance or national pride lies elsewhere, they should stay out of Bahamian politics and government. Its that simple!

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DEDDIE 4 years, 12 months ago

I think you are been disingenuous in your statement.They are not representing a different nationality but a grouping of Bahamians(Haitian descent) who may have some shared interest. Again nothing is mentioned about Haiti in the political process, that just a figment of your imagination. Talk about a simple mind.

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SP 4 years, 12 months ago

.... Fred Smith finally admits his Haitian people always intended to takeover Bahamas ......

Bahamians better take note that Haitians are advocating to start their own political party in a bid to takeover the Bahamas.

Bahamians also better review Bermudas' citizenship laws which only allow indigenous Bermudians the right to vote or hold political office, and seriously agitate our lousy government to amend the constitution similarly.

Bahamians of Haitian decent should have no right to vote in our country because their loyalty will always be with Haiti.....Fred Smith, a born Haitian national, is living proof!

..................................................... This Is No Joking Matter ..................................................

Review Bermudas' citizenship laws and demand government change the constitution!

http://www.bermuda-online.org/citizen...">http://www.bermuda-online.org/citizen...

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Girly 4 years, 12 months ago

So true.As one caller said "This is a national emergency". Just look at some of the comments above and you can see why this immigration policy must not be deterred. They just cant help it. Their hidden agenda always comes out in their freedom of speech. KEEP TALKING.

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IslandTransPlant 4 years, 12 months ago

I think they should have right to vote as a citizen but not to form there own political parties just as if you were born in the USA even with two Bahamian parents the baby is an American citizen and has a right to vote.

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SP 4 years, 12 months ago

This is not the USA with 350M Americans. Haitian Bahamian numbers may very well equal or exceed that of indigenous Bahamians.

Bermuda has it right....Only indigenous Bermudians are allowed to vote or hold political office so no other grouping can EVER displace indigenous Bermudians.

There's also no telling what under the table deals PGC is up to with the Chinese. Out of desperation he could very well give citizenship to 1M Chinese in exchange for investments......Then what?

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Observer 4 years, 12 months ago

Just for the heck of it, let them start a party. That should make it easier for Immigration to identify those who are in hiding. So smart!

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Emac 4 years, 12 months ago

Voltaire, DEDDIE and Economists are all closet Haitians with an agenda. Why are people even trying to debate with them???? Notice how they become like gorillas in heat anytime any discussion comes up with Haitian anything

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DEDDIE 4 years, 12 months ago

I've learnt a long time ago. If you are saying the same thing everyone is saying, you are most likely saying the wrong thing. If you are doing what everyone is doing then you are doing the wrong thing. I take my Q from the majority. Whatever they are doing, I do the opposite. That is the reason why I have mostly voted for third parties. Also when I found that the majority of the populace are "lil man"(the ones who get the wrong end of the stick), I stop been one.

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ThisIsOurs 4 years, 12 months ago

I'm puzzled by Fred Smith. I'm all for free speech, humane treatment etc but I do not support rewarding people who operate illegally on the grounds of longevity. He must be really warped to think the Bahamas can support the Haitian community we have now plus the masses he is encouraging to travel here. If his intent is not to encourage a mass migration, he really needs to think about his message and the way he delivers it. I get that he wants Mr Mitchell to change law if he wants to adjust immigration policy, but that part of the message could easily be lost. then to suggest illegal migrants start a political party? (That said, I still consider the Junkanoo display against him absolutely deplorable)

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