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$100,000 Lawsuit Threatened Over Bahamas-Born Man’S Detention

Fred Smith

Fred Smith

LAWYER Fred Smith, QC, plans to file a $100,000 lawsuit against the government claiming illegal arrest, false detention and “abuse” of a man born in the Bahamas of Haitian descent.

Mr Smith said the man, Noille Joseph, was “illegally arrested” on November 19, 2014 but was not released by immigration officials until more than a month later, on January 15.

Last week, Florida State Representative Daphne Campbell said she filed a formal complaint with the Department of Immigration against a senior immigration officer over the alleged unlawful detention of two men who were arrested last year by immigration officials. Mr Joseph was one of those men.

“I congratulate Representative Daphne Campbell from Florida for continuing her valiant efforts on behalf of the Haitian Bahamian community in the Bahamas,” Mr Smith said. “Her complaint about the illegal arrest and detention of Noille Joseph,” said Mr Smith must have “struck a note of fear and terror in (Minister of Immigration) Fred Mitchell’s heart resulting in Noille’s release.”

He said he will file a lawsuit on behalf of Mr Joseph, who he said was born in this country. Mr Smith said he will seek at least $100,000 in redress for the government’s alleged “illegal and barbaric behaviour.”

He charged that Mr Joseph was held at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre in “inhumane and degrading conditions” until his release a few days ago.

When contacted for comment yesterday Mr Mitchell said both Ms Campbell and Mr Smith were “fools.”

He would not speak specifically to Mr Joseph’s circumstances or confirm if he was held for more than a month, saying: “People who believe that their rights have been adversely affected have a right (to seek redress) in the Bahamian courts.”

Mr Smith said the government will “pay” for the incident.

“It’s time the government of the Bahamas learnt to respect rights,” Mr Smith said. “Haitians have rights too. So do Bahamians of Haitian descent. They are not dogs in the Bahamas. I urge everyone who has and is being abused by Immigration to find a lawyer and sue. There are 2,000 hungry lawyers in the Bahamas.”

“If every Haitian or Bahamian of Haitian descent who has been illegally arrested or detained under this new policy (sues the government), the Bahamian treasury would be bankrupt.”

He referred to a Japanese man, Atain Takitota, who was awarded more than $1 million in damages by the court after being wrongfully imprisoned for years in the Bahamas.

“Our government cannot sustain thousands of actions for damages for people arrested illegally and having their constitutional rights abused. I urged Damian Gomez, QC, who did the Takitota case to persuade his Cabinet colleagues to stop the madness,” Mr Smith said.

In her letter dated January 8 to Director of Immigration William Pratt, Ms Campbell claims that even though the two men had provided original legal documents of their identity and Bahamian nationality, the officer in charge refused to release them.

One of the men, Albury Wallace who was arrested in Fresh Creek, Andros, in August, was deported to Haiti in December, Ms Campbell said. She said Mr Wallace is the son of two Bahamian citizens. His father is Vince Wallace, a Bahamian by birth, and his mother is Lovana Charles-Wallace, who is a naturalised Bahamian citizen. Ms Campbell said he spent the last five months incarcerated for no reason.

According to Ms Campbell, Mr Joseph was born in Freeport at the Rand Memorial Hospital on January 22, 1983 to Haitian parents.

Comments

birdiestrachan 4 years, 2 months ago

Fred Smith and Campbell are two of the same kind.

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TheMadHatter 4 years, 2 months ago

Wow, here we go again;

  1. If only Mr. Smith would put forth this much energy for persons of other nationalities, maybe even a few Bahamians now and then thrown in, just to fool the public, eh?

  2. Was Mr. Joseph the only detainee at the Detention Center kept in inhumane and degrading conditions? What is to come of the others? Don't they deserve better? This reminds me of the Liam Neeson movie "Taken" where we learn about all these tourist girls being captured in France and sold as slaves to wealthy Arab freaks. At the end he saves his daughter, and that's the end of it. Like - to heck with the other thousand who were taken away. So I guess, to heck with the others maltreated at the detention center (if any).

  3. 2000 hungry lawyers? Maybe so - however the LAW does not allow these hungry lawyers to be paid from their potential success in court. In other words, they can't go like the lawyers in the USA who have advertisements that say if they don't win you don't pay. Not only that - but lawyers here are not allowed to adverise at all in any instance.

  4. As for Mr. Takitota - yes he was "awarded" a million by the Court - BUT last I heard he still had not actually received it. Supposedly he was advised (by someone/someones) that he ought to have been awarded more and the case is on appeal for more money. I always tell people, when Govt is actually going to give you money - grab it while you can and run - cause things can change quick - esp. if it's election time - LOL.

Perhaps some kind of truce can be worked out to solve this most vexing problem? How about if we offer all of the Haitians and Haitian-Bahamians equally divided plots of land in Andros - taking the entire island and dividing it up and giving it to them? The Bahamians there can be given crown land equal or greater to whatever land they own in Andros on another Bahamian island of their choice and a Bah Dev Bank loan to build a house on it, and the appraised value of their current homes in cash.

In return the Haitian/Haitian-Bahamians promise not to live on any other Bahamian island. No deal unless all agree. In addition, there would be no immigration there - they can bring as many more people there as they like. However, any from Andros found elsewhere will be sentenced to life in prison and any new captured at sea from the south will be taken to Andros instead of Nassau like they are now.

I suspect, after while, they will even start to get upset when they see the new boats being towed in.

Just a thought. I'd hate to lose Andros, but sometimes you just gotta compromise to get things done.

TheMadHatter

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birdiestrachan 4 years, 2 months ago

It is beyond my understanding why Campbell and Fred Smith has so much hate for the Bahamas and its people. Now some one should ask Rose White about Campbell and Campbell is still being investigated. The Tribune reported that she spoke to Haitians in their Churches hundreds ,but she was only able to muster up about fifteen persons I suppose, they were from her old folks home.

The mere fact that Smith has aligned himself with Campbell, shows are very desperate he has become. As for giving Haitians land in Andros. that is a terrible idea. I doubt the people of Andros would want that. The Haitians already own Abaco, When the people of Abaco come to that knowledge it will be much to late for them.

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birdiestrachan 4 years, 2 months ago

The Tribune and Fred Smith should ask Daphane Campbell about that home she ran a patient was raped three died and the rest lived in Squalor. I suppose that was fine for those persons . But according to her and her boy Fred only people from Haiti are deserving of human rights. The state cut off their funding. Shame on Campbell.

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