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Mitchell Calls On Urca To Investigate Radio Comments

Senator Fred Mitchell.

Senator Fred Mitchell.

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Tribune Staff Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

FOREIGN Affairs and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell said yesterday that the government has asked the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) to investigate comments made on a radio talk show by Fred Smith, QC, that allegedly encouraged people to revolt against the Christie administration.

He said the Office of the Attorney General was also advising the government on the matter.

Mr Mitchell urged Bahamians to remain calm on issues of immigration and said the government would allow URCA, which governs the airwaves, to probe the incident.

Meanwhile, Mr Smith confirmed to The Tribune that he was a guest on Kreyol Connection with Louby Georges on Guardian Talk Radio on Tuesday night. However, he maintained that none of the comments made on the talk show were inflammatory.

“Last evening several people called me,” Mr Mitchell said yesterday, “because they were listening to a radio show this chap, who is of Haitian ancestry, has on the radio.

“On the show the attorney Fred Smith, I gather, was on the show and they claim that there were comments made which they said invited a certain national group in this country to revolt against the government of the country.

“Also they said that immigration officers do not have the powers to arrest or question people who are suspected of being illegal migrants in the country.”

Mr Mitchell added: “Bahamians should remain calm in the face of anything of that nature which appears on television or radio.

“Our response to this is going to be since URCA is responsible for content on radio, we will bring it to their attention to ask them to investigate the matter to determine if they have in fact crossed that threshold.

“And secondly that in connection to the powers of immigration officers we are acting in consonance with the law. We have an opinion from the Office of the Attorney General on this matter.

“We will not be proceeding with any matter unless we are in compliance with the law and I assure the Bahamian public we are in full compliance with the law.”

Mr Mitchell said Mr Smith does not decide what the laws of the Bahamas are.

In an earlier interview with The Tribune on Tuesday, Mr Smith said he did not see a problem with Bahamians of Haitian descent organising to form political parties. He said The Bahamas was headed in a direction that would soon see this grouping of society emerge as parliamentary leaders.

He urged Bahamians to do away with the stigma that Haitians were inferior.

Comments

DonAnthony 5 years, 8 months ago

Mr. Mitchell stop trying to intimidate people and impinge upon their freedom of speech, it is beneath you and your office and the democracy you claim to support. I may not like many of the comments you and Fred Smith make but I would defend your right to make them. Free speech is at the heart of this great democratic country and must be defended at all costs, censureship is at the heart of dictatorships and totalitarian regimes.

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ispeakthetruth 5 years, 8 months ago

Seems like the ones doing the "intimidating" are the ones calling for a revolt against our government. Knowing that this man (Fred Smith) once advocated for a bloody revolution in the Bahamas and is now gaining in popularity and leadership within the Haitian community-he has to be taken very seriously.

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DonAnthony 5 years, 8 months ago

I agree Fred Smith has used colorful, extreme hyperbole, intended to shock and elicit a reaction, not so sure it was to intimidate. Mr. Mitchell is trying to intimidate his detractors into silence, this is clearly wrong. Either way we must defend the freedom of speech of both of these men. That is essential to a democratic country. I do not want anyone telling me what I can or can not say in this country, and I am sure you feel the same way.

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ispeakthetruth 5 years, 8 months ago

He (Mr. Mitchell), likely wants them to responsible with what they say to their public; not to silence them. Nobody should have to decode and decipher Mr. Smith's words then conclude whether he was serious or just being colorful. I guess all of the other inflammatory remarks made by this man regarding Genocide, ethnic cleansing etc. was playful? Free speech is one thing, reckless use of it is quite another. He has crossed many lines with no consequences, he should definitely be reprimanded at the very least for his ongoing tirade against our country.

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DonAnthony 5 years, 8 months ago

Reprimanded for what? because he used the word genocide when referring to the Bahamas? That is no crime, using that word was incorrect, tasteless, and inflammatory but it was nothing to be reprimanded for - it was freedom of speech. As for crossed lines : whose lines? yours or the government, or the man down the road? Who defines these lines? That is the problem with censureship it is used to intimidate and control and is the antithesis of democracy.

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Cas0072 5 years, 8 months ago

Actually, Smith's comments are more than tasteless. They fall into the category of defamation and slander as they were outright lies intended to ruin the reputation of this country. A country that relies on tourism. Fortunately, even the world community knows not to take him seriously so we did not suffer the effects of his lies. As a result, he will likely not be held accountable in a court of law. As for Fred Mitchell's comments, he is absolutely correct in encouraging people to stay calm and allow the matter to be properly investigated.

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DonAnthony 5 years, 8 months ago

Investigate what? We live in a democracy not a dictatorship. There is nothing to investigate as I doubt slander or defamation against a state is a crime in any democratic country. There is nothing anyone can say defamatory about a country that I could see possibly constituting a crime. An individual most certainly but not a government. Mr. Mitchell knows this of course so nothing as usual will come of it, it is merely political lip service designed to attack his detractors and deflect from his continuing failures in immigration. He is now planning and announcing ahead of time an immigration exercise in Abaco, with no money left in the budget for repatriation. What an joke! Wake up Bahamas Mr. Mitchell is not serious, and is playing you like a fiddle.

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Cas0072 5 years, 8 months ago

If he made remarks that could be perceived as inciting an uprising, it certainly does bare investigation. I am not aware of a country suing an individual for slander, but it is what it is, defamation and slander. It should certainly be an option, but oh well. Fred Smith appears to be the one getting folks riled up with the extreme language. I don't see the minister doing this. However, if Mitchell is not serious, eventually we will find out because the results will amount to the same thing as any other person in office would have accomplished. Absolutely nothing.

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ispeakthetruth 5 years, 8 months ago

He should be reprimanded at the very least for being a public figure, in a leadership role who is constantly making reckless, untrue, irresponsible and now threatening remarks about or to the country. Not to mention playing on the existing tension of both sides of the immigration debate. Like I said freedom of speech carries some responsibility and integrity - Mr. Smith seems to have neither.

Also, he is not being intimidated nor is his free speech being or ever been censured. Clearly. It is important to our nations security to investigate whether his calls for a revolt gained traction within the Haitian community. The Bahamas would be acting irresponsibly, if he were not taken seriously and at least investigated.

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GrassRoot 5 years, 8 months ago

this is a democracy and and the Bahamas constitution supports freedom of speech and opinion. I understand that many on this threat don't like that. go to Cuba or North Korea. Now here is the issue. If someone is a Bahamian, he is a Bahamian, whether you like it or not.

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ispeakthetruth 5 years, 8 months ago

Any threat to the security of the Bahamas is worth investigating. Call it what you want but inciting people to revolt against the Bahamas government is a threat, this is way past freedom of speech. I think the only issue you and Don Anthony have is that finally a Haitian(s) may have to be responsible for their action. Imagine that...?

Also, this has nothing to do with his heritage, if he could prove he was a Bahamian since BC, it would not matter. A threat is a threat. It would have to be investigated. A real democracy would call this a threat to Homeland security. Only in the Bahamas would people entertain this recklessness as "freedom of speech" until its too late.

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TalRussell 5 years, 8 months ago

Comrade not so fast. Political acts of expression by non-natives (stickin ya nosein locals business) are punishable by swift deportation. If there is one money borrowing bill that droves of taxpayers are willing to support - it is to have the money in the bank, for the swift deportation of ALL illegals.

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GrassRoot 5 years, 8 months ago

does not apply to the QC fortunately or not. AND, I would love to see Nygard being sent home, ey?

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DonAnthony 5 years, 8 months ago

I love and defend your right to say it my brother. But me and Mr. smith ain't going no where.

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TalRussell 5 years, 8 months ago

Comrades not so fast. Political acts of expression by non-natives (stickin ya nose into we locals business) should always remain punishable by swift deportation. If there is one money borrowing bill that droves of sober-mined taxpayers are willing to support - it is to have the money in the bank, for the swift deportation of ALL illegals.
According to Dr. Myles, he made a call directly to the Owner of The Guardian but he would not heed the advice given to him by the late Dr. Myles about the potential dangers to the nation, if his station's agreeing to broadcast The Kreyol Connection with Louby Georges was not terminated.
According to Dr. Myles, he was told on the telephone by the Guardian owner, that it was too late for him to cancel the contract and that it was a programming "money" decision to sell more radio spots. Reportedly, this Creole language talk show had previously been peddled to the owner of another talk radio show and promptly rejected.

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birdiestrachan 5 years, 8 months ago

Fred Smith dreams. The Haitian Republic Party..Fred smith Prime Minister. Daphne Campbell deputy Prime Minister. Lubie George Leader of Government Business. Allie the Government whip. Sorry Joe Darville no position for you , you do not qualify.

Fred smith is doing his best to cause Trouble for the Bahamas and the Bahamian people. Fred Smith and Fred smith alone has opened the eyes of the Bahamian people as to how much trouble the Bahamas is in with illegal immigration. .

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birdiestrachan 5 years, 8 months ago

Don Anthony if you and Fred Smith believes so much in free speech, Why did Fred get bent out of shape when some showed Ku Klux Klan posters, in connection with him.? But it was all right with you all when he referred to the Bahamas as Nazi Germany. In you all view which is worse . ?

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Emac 5 years, 8 months ago

As Smokey song goes, "Talkin fool is a very serious ting. Talkin fool is a cryin shame. Talkin fool you will taste your blood. Talking fool will leave ya lying in the mud." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ne2Hz...">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ne2Hz...

There is a simple solution to all of this foolishness folks: All right thinking, proud Bahamians should just simply boycott the guardian radio. So if they can manage solely on marketing money from dem people dem, then so be it. But the problem is that Bahamians simply do not pull together when it comes to important issues such as this immigration problem. I for one don't even have the time to cater to bullshit. If the Bahamas belongs to Bahamians then it is time for Bahamians to get together and take their country back: Stop hiring illegals. Stop taking bribery money from Haitians. Stop this party loyalty crap and vote for the party that is sincere about getting rid of this problem for good! Do what the Haitians are doing in this country, come together for a cause.

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John 5 years, 8 months ago

Fred Mitchell needs to stop taking selfies for the press and stop trying to make it appear his immigration department is the 'lilies of the field". Clean and spotless.There is harassment going on and, unfortunately, Haitians are the most common victims. I watched today as they swooped on a work site and arrested a man they presumed to be an immigrant working illegally. Despite showing a copy of his work permit, the man was taken into custody as the immigration officers insisted on seeing the original document. This man had tools that he was not able to secure and his car was parked nearby and he as also not able to secure that. From what was expressed from onlookers, this man has been a legal resident of the Bahamas for over 20 years. But immigration officers pick him up and detain him several times a year. Not only does he lose time from work, but he loses the tools that are left behind when the inconsiderate officers do this and his car was also raided on occasion. So if Fred Mitchell is running an immigration department that is so clean and cutting edge, why does he not yet have a means by which immigration officers can check work or belongers' permits for their validity at the point if interception, rather than having to intrude on and interrupt the lives and employment of persons who have the legal right to be here. No one walks around with original documents in this crime ridden society. Or is there some under-the-table business going on that immigration officers are picking up the same people several times a year and do not know their status is a legal one.

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Emac 5 years, 8 months ago

Why would someone carry a copy of a work permit? Do you carry a copy of your driver's license when you are driving or do you always have the original in your wallet ??? The permit and the drivers license are the same size. If you are talkin about the big green paper they are done with, which means that this man had false documents on his possession. He should be sent directly to Fox Hell!

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John 5 years, 8 months ago

If you read I did say they do not carry the originals because of the fear of crime. You, like everyone knows that Haitians are the target of robbers. If you lose our driver's licence you can have it replaced in a matter of hours. To replace immigration documents is more work than to replace a passport.

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John 5 years, 8 months ago

Furthermore Fred Mitchel's policy requiring employers to provide insurance and housing for immigrant workers is discriminatory. For the sake of argument lets say someone in Lyford Cay or Old Fort Bay is looking for a house keeper and/or baby sitter. They have the money so they will shop for the best and most suited person for the position and they would prefer someone to live in and provide insurance for them. Now lets say a family in Stapleton has an aging parent they need someone to care for because they do not want to put them in an old folks home. The money they can afford to spend is the difference from what they are making minus their own living expenses and what the person will charge to do the care-taking. They cannot afford to pay for living accommodations and health care and children's schoolings etc., so now only the rich and famous can afford work permits. It is now, in fact, out of the reach of the working middle class.

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GrassRoot 5 years, 8 months ago

I give you a quote from a person living the life in Old Fort Bay - Bahamian for generations - : "I only hire Bahamians, because I don't need to pay for NIC, as they don't need to renew their work permits and I don't need to provide proof of having paid for NIC". Her employee fell sick with cancer, was immediately off pay, did not get paid a dime and not a single visit at the hospital. this makes me sick to my stomach, not as a Bahamian, but as a person. and that person was looking after the landladys kids for 10 years.

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ispeakthetruth 5 years, 8 months ago

"Furthermore Fred Mitchel's policy requiring employers to provide insurance and housing for immigrant workers is discriminatory."

I believe this was for domestics. And it's not discriminatory. In the US if someone sponsors another to come and live they have to provide proof that they, and not the government, will support them. And now that everyone has to be insured. I am sure that is also required. This is not a new concept. It should have always been in place.

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John 5 years, 8 months ago

PLEASE! sponsoring someone to come to a country and hiring an immigrant worker is two different things,

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ispeakthetruth 5 years, 8 months ago

It's actually not. When you hire someone you are providing them with the means to support themselves while they are in the country. When you sponsor someone you are their means of support while in the country. If your employee or sponsored person, does not have insurance guess who inevitably pays for it? There is nothing discriminatory about that...the government should not have to bear any part of the responsibility for someone you chose to import.

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GrassRoot 5 years, 8 months ago

Very strange understanding of free speech and democracy of our Fred Extraordinaire. You are making an ass out of yourself and totally un-electable going forward.

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licks2 5 years, 8 months ago

I say let fred smith speak. . .the more he talks the more he looks like a total jack. . .and the rest of the human rights peoples dem don't want nothing to do with him!! Especially them Jewish ones. Its folks like him that condemn Israel for firing bombs into Palestinian towns but can't see when the Palestinians them are blowing Israelis them up!!!

I say let him and luby George speak!!! If they think that we Bahamian are just going to lay down and say "dead" if they try anything!!! They know that if they back the Bahamian into a comer they have hell on their hands!!! I say let them speak!!!

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birdiestrachan 5 years, 8 months ago

I do agree the more they talk, the more the Bahamians will learn what their intentions are. this has all been good for the Bahamian people to know what they think and how they feel about the Bahamas, after we have welcomed them into our Country. their history shows them to be violent people. they gained their independence thru hacking people to death. They can not deny that it is their history. and Fred Smith is stroking their violent nature. Bahamians be aware.

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John 5 years, 8 months ago

I don't know which Fred yall was talking'bout but I was referencing Fred mitchell

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Cas0072 5 years, 8 months ago

I was able to easily decipher which was which. One is attempting to operate within the bounds of the law and diplomacy (#FredMitchell), and one is completely unhinged with the outrageous remarks (FredSmith). It is really not that hard.

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John 5 years, 8 months ago

and both of em have Haitian roots

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Cas0072 5 years, 8 months ago

And? One apparently accepted his Bahamian nationality and one is hell bent on making this country Haiti part 2. One may have Haitian roots, but the one that was born in Haiti is Haitian in his heart and mind. He does not mean this country any good. By the way, there is nothing wrong with migrating. It's how you do it.

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ispeakthetruth 5 years, 8 months ago

That just shows what a great leader he is. He is acting in the best interest of the country and not emotional ties to a distant homeland. So thanks for sharing. He has now earned more respect from me!

By the way, it's not Haitian versus Bahamian. It's about illegal migration and what it means for successive generations of the illegal immigrants.

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John 5 years, 8 months ago

Yes Haitians help set Bahamians free from the cruel chains of slavery. Some people have a problem with that and they will sell dey ma to turn Bahamians against Haitians!

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Cas0072 5 years, 8 months ago

I don't believe that anyone has a problem with legal immigration. I personally encourage it. Illegal immigration, en masse, presents many a problem whether you are ready to admit that or not. Some people, your words, " will sell dey ma" to turn Haitians (illegal or otherwise) against Bahamians, and I am not so sure that Fred Smith is not one of them of whom we speak. This is based on his own words,

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TheMadHatter 5 years, 8 months ago

“Also they said that immigration officers do not have the powers to arrest or question people who are suspected of being illegal migrants in the country.”

That's funny. So what powers do immigration officers have? Only to give out passports and residency stamps?

LOL

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birdiestrachan 5 years, 8 months ago

The Haitians had nothing to do with setting Bahamians free from slavery. In fact the Haitians are still an enslaved people. who seek to leave Haiti any way they can. Now I do not have a problem with people who come into the country legally, but the Bahamas can no longer afford Boat after boat , and now it seems it is them against us. It is not a good thing. it is things like this that leads to civil wars. and it must be stopped.

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John 5 years, 8 months ago

do not try to re-write history with dishonesty and an intent to mislead, birdiestrachan. The role Haitians played in the history of this country and the Caribbean is well documented.

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John 5 years, 8 months ago

The Haitian worker who was picked up by immigration yesterday and who has now been released did not show immigration a 'copy' of his work permit. He show a copy of a receipt where he paid several thousand dollars for his work permit since December 2014, bu the work permit has not yet been issued.

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Emac 5 years, 8 months ago

@John-You seem to know a good bit about this Haitian man and his run ins with Bahamas Immigration. You sure you ain the person you talkin' 'bout?

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