By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) has received a letter from the government requesting an investigation of comments made on a radio talk show last week by lawyer Fred Smith.
URCA Corporate and Consumer Relations Manager Mavis Johnson-Collie said yesterday that the letter was received by URCA officials on Wednesday evening.
The letter – sent to URCA by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration – requests that URCA investigate recent statements made by Mr Smith that allegedly encouraged people to revolt against the Christie administration.
“We did get a communication in the pm yesterday from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” Mrs Collie-Johnson told The Tribune. “We are going through the process of reviewing it in conjunction with the content code which regulates broadcast content.”
Mr Smith had appeared as a guest on Kreyol Connection with Louby Georges on Guardian Talk Radio on February 17, and it was then that he reportedly made his controversial statements. A recording of the show is no longer available on Guardian Talk Radio’s website.
Mr Smith had maintained that none of the comments made on the show was inflammatory. However, Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell said the government had asked URCA to investigate the comments and that the Office of the Attorney General was also advising the government on the matter.
Mr Mitchell said the government would allow URCA, which governs the airwaves, to probe the incident. He also criticised Mr Smith for outlining his support of Bahamians of Haitian descent organising to form political parties in the country, and called Mr Smith “delusional” for his statements.
Mr Smith had previously said The Bahamas was headed in a direction that would soon see this grouping of society emerge as parliamentary leaders. The president of the Grand Bahama Human Rights Association (GBHRA) also said the stigma in The Bahamas that Haitians are of lesser value should be done away with.
Again chastising the Christie administration over its immigration restrictions, maintaining that the government has encouraged a culture of hatred towards Haitians, Mr Smith contended that Bahamians of Haitian descent are “a large part of our society”, and gave his support of Bahamians of Haitian descent organising to form political parties.
“I don’t see what is wrong with it,” Mr Smith said. “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 called on the government to follow the example of countries, including Canada and Korea, which, he said, encourage different nationalities to contribute to shaping society. However, he insisted that these latest comments should not be construed as supporting illegal migration.