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Mitchell: Activists Defamed Country

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

IMMIGRATION Minister Fred Mitchell called on the Grand Bahama Human Rights Association to explain why it is attempting to “defame” this country’s name through “irresponsible” efforts that undermine the government’s ability to clamp down on illegal immigration.

Mr Mitchell’s statement came days after the GBHRA and others testified before an Inter-American Human Rights Commission (IACHR) hearing in Washington, DC, outlining alleged human rights abuses brought on by the government’s immigration policies.

The minister’s reaction was a far cry from the tone the GBHRA struck in a statement yesterday, which thanked the government for participating in the hearing and for “sharing the view” that the Immigration Bill, currently before Parliament, should be reviewed.

“These people who went to Washington – Bahamians – making these exaggerated claims about abuse of migrants to this country must answer the question to the Bahamian public,” he said at a press conference yesterday. “What they are doing will aid and comfort people who are trying to sabotage this country through a criminal enterprise. They have to answer that question. Their actions are irresponsible.”

He added: “You can disagree with policy. There are domestic remedies for people to take if you have a difficulty with the policy. If there are specific abuses, there are domestic remedies but to actually go and defame the country in another country, I want to describe that as a particular thing, but I’ll just stay my hand for the moment. But they do have to account to the Bahamian public for their conduct, knowing what we know.”

Mr Mitchell also stressed that illegal immigration is part of a highly organised criminal scheme meant to overwhelm the country with undocumented persons.

“In the face of exercises going on with the Royal Bahamas Police Force and Royal Bahamas Defence Force and immigration officers in Abaco, people have the temerity to be smuggling people into Abaco in the face of that,” he said.

“So obviously these are some people who are determined to breach the law, who are determined to invade this country at any cost. It is a story which has to be told to the public, the seriousness of the nature of this and that it is a matter we need to get on top of. It calls for all hands on deck.

“Whoever the people are that are driving this, their calculation is by overwhelming us with numbers, they can sabotage any effort to stop this. This is a criminal enterprise, which is designed to get money and we are interrupting this enterprise . . .”

State Minister for Legal Affairs Damian Gomez, who represented the Bahamas during last Friday’s hearing, noted that the IAHRC has accepted the government’s invitation to conduct an on-site visit to the Carmichael Road Detention Centre.

“The ICHAR court does not have the ability or jurisdiction to levy sanctions against us at this stage,” he added. “We have invited them to do an onsite visit. They have indicated a willingness to accept that invitation and act on it and the ball is within their court with respect to indicating to us when they wish to come. They’ve also given us some questions at the hearing which will be answered in the course of things within the next fortnight or so, though we have no deadline within which to answer them.”

The four-member IACHR panel of human rights experts sought answers on matters concerning raids, deportations and the related due process; overcrowding at the detention facility; access to the facility for consular support, legal aid, and human rights monitoring; allegations of physical and verbal abuse; identification of non-nationals by officials; the detention of migrant children; and the issue of statelessness.

Over the weekend, the GBHRA said it hoped Friday’s hearing would foster closer working ties with human rights groups and the government.

“The hearings before the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (IACHR) convened at the request of the GBHRA and its international partners, we hope will serve as an opportunity for government and human rights defenders to work together closely on reforming current immigration policy and law, specifically the proposed amendments to the Immigration Act, currently before the Senate,” the GBHRA’s statement said.

Comments

Economist 5 years ago

Politics and posturing and more politics and more posturing.

Look at the video of the hearing from beginning to end. It was all handled in a mature and orderly manner. The Commission did not seem outraged or anything.

No one was defamed, the country was not defamed.

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DonAnthony 5 years ago

Does Mr. Mitchell ever learn?, when wil he stop playing politics with this sensitive national issue? perhaps he should review the last five minutes of the hearing when the govt was warned by the commission to refrain from in any way from intimidating or seeking retribution against these human rights activists. He is shamefully creating an atmosphere of needless hostility against these people. If only we could have Mr. Gomez as our point person on immigration, his tone was measured, reasonable and fair, I for one was proud of his discourse and his pledge not to harass or intimidate these human rights activist, in short he was and is everything Mr. Mitchell is not. It is past time for Mr. Mitchell to stop personalizing this issue, stick to the facts, let us debate them and compromise in a genuine way and we will all be the better off for it.

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birdiestrachan 5 years ago

Don Anthony there was never any retribution towards the activist, it is all in their head. the same as they meet with the senate and they were going to meet with the congress. Fred Smith is making up stories as he goes ,He even attacked the clothes the immigration officers wore , They having been wearing these same clothes for years. why is he finding something wrong with their clothes now.?? He Sure works that QC Title to death. Has Fred Smith and his followers including you ever visited the Mud or the Pigeon Pea or any shanty Town? and what do you all say about the boat loads of illegals who come ever day to the Bahamas with out the proper documents. Now we have been informed that Georges and Fred would like to start a Haitian Party in the Bahamas, so the more illegals come the stronger their party will be are you planning to join their party?

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DonAnthony 5 years ago

Birdie, Mr. Mitchell is a very intelligent man who knows exactly the ramifications of his comments. It is a deliberate and calculated move to create hostility against these human rights activists and to intimidate them for what seems purely political gain and that is shameful. I do not fear the retribution from the govt against these persons, I do believe we are beyond that but I do fear for the safety of these persons while in their own country. If anything happens to these persons it will be in no small part because of this antagonistic, flamboyant rhetoric and those persons making such comments and attempting to demonize those who oppose them will bear a great deal of culpability for any violence that may happen.

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killemwitdakno 5 years ago

You don't live here. There have been no threats to these persons, if you noticed, they had none to mention.

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guyfawkes 5 years ago

Mr. Mitchell invited this issue to become an International sensation by being unreasonable and telling Mr. Smith and Co. that he would not sit down an talk with them until they withdrew claims that human rights abuses occurred in the Bahamas at the Detention Centre. I think Mr. Mitchell forgets that five marines have been charged with beating Cuban Detainees and an Immigration Officer was charged for rape, all extending from this same detention centre. Mr. Mitchell's refusal to meet and discuss Human rights violations with Mr. Smith can be blamed for the need to escalate this issue to someone outside the country that may actually listen to this Human rights group. To many times we as Bahamians like to sweep things under the mat and act like all is perfect, we need to expose unethical, immoral and corrupt practices, this is the only way for things to change. To all government officials, this is a new day and i hope more Bahamians find ways to fight the system in a non-violent way.

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ispeakthetruth 5 years ago

Also, this issue is not an international sensation, sorry. Baby North West's camera shopped "blue eyes" will produce a much bigger hit.

Because the government does not provide five star accommodation to detainees, legal representation to all just off boat or not, requires persons within its borders to be documented it is not "unethical, immoral or corrupt". Fred Smith, and you are reaching. He wants only to hold the Bahamas hostage with unfounded claims and exaggeration of isolated incidents to the international press. His actions will get nowhere!

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guyfawkes 5 years ago

There are International Laws and our own Constitution that speaks to the Rights of both citizens and illegals within our communities. From the very beginning I heard Mr. Smith as that the Immigration Policy be clear, concise and layout a path to citizenship. If this is an unreasonable request, then something has to be either "unethical, immoral or corrupt" within the system. Some of his claims are not unfounded either as there is imperical proof that there is at least the stain of abuse at the centre (allegations of abuse and rape). Then there's the Junkanoo pictures of the black KKK trying to intimidate him, this was the second time he encountered these individuals as reported by the Tirbune itself and confirmed by the Police. Mr. Smith said that the Dentention Centre existed but there were no laws governing it, he was right and the government was forced to table legislation. Mr. Smith said that it was not right for women with children to be held at the Detention Centre, he was right and the women and children were hastily removed from the Centre. If Mr. Smith was right on the first two points, couldn't he be right that there are some things we can do differently with the Immigration Policy. Wake up Bahamas, Politicians do not have our best interest at heart, they want votes at the end of the day and that includes Minister Mitchell.

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Cas0072 5 years ago

Sometimes the "path to citizenship" will, and should be, no path at all. That is what he and illegal Haitian immigrants, enablers, and other supporters fail to accept. At least the government is making it feasible for some and always have. In Australia, it has been made quite clear that illegal immigrants will not be rewarded with citizenship under any circumstance and I wish the Bahamas would follow suit. You conveniently pick and choose from Mr. Smith's comments, but can you for example, say that he is correct in that people should not be penalized for aiding and abetting those who are in the country illegally? Assisting smugglers? Can you say that he is correct in saying that immigration officers do not have the right to arrest and detain persons that are suspected to be illegal? It is quite possible that he is doing more harm than good.

I am sure the government had nothing to do with that KKK mess and I am sure they denounce it. To present the tasteless actions of private citizens as somehow being supported by the government is just wrong. Are the police not looking into it? That is about all that can be done.

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ispeakthetruth 5 years ago

Fifth time, in these discussions I will ask, which law(s) is being broken?

Our constitution does not guarantee everyone accused of a crime with legal representation. If that has changed, I am not aware. It does not prohibit raids where illegal activity is suspected. Allegations of abuse are being investigated, and the rapist is being prosecuted. And yes, I do not believe most of the abuse allegations. What else would I expect of individuals who cry foul when forced to face the consequences of their illegal action?

I, and most Bahamians prefer a law that is clear, concise and leads to the repatriation of illegals and their Bahamian born children. Why should anyone who enters the country illegally, and has children, be granted citizenship simply because...? The Bahamas cannot afford such a policy. However, there is a clear path for their children unfortunately, and minister Mitchell seems to be making that attainment even easier. While Mr. Smith is protesting even that, because the only thing he seems to want is to overburden the Bahamas financially, and physically, with unsupportable numbers of immigrants.

Do you have evidence that Fred Mitchell or any government official participated in the KKK demonstration? We cannot hold the government responsible for the heinous actions of individuals. Nor should we as rational persons, imply it without proof. With that logic we can hold Fred Smith accountable for the threats made by Anston Ally.

Also, it's not that Mr. Smith was 'right', we were all aware of deplorable conditions at the detention center, like we do of Fox Hill. Yes, the attention brought to it did result in some changes. However, like I comment in another discussion, even a broken clock is right twice per day. For the other 23.98 hours, it is useless.

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guyfawkes 5 years ago

I see you like appealing to people's emotions. I have brought you facts, all easily verifiable but emotions are easier to take advantage. When did Mr. smith say that all illegal immigrants should stay? When did anyone accuse anyone in the government of dressing up the KKK? When did anyone say to make a criminal a citizen? Your emotions may be high, lacking integrity is a sin.

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ispeakthetruth 5 years ago

Funny you should talk about emotion, when you seem full of it. I, on the other hand am making points, giving my opinion and stating facts. Which facts have you brought? Where did I say that he said 'all', but neither did he assert that only 'some', should have a clear path to citizenship. I said it was impractical to provide legal representation for all potential illegals. I asserted that children born here would be given citizenship, and Mitchell was making it easier . If you were not implying the government's complicity in intimidating this group, why even mention an unrelated act by private citizens? That is not intimidation. Like Fred Smith they are exercising their freedom of speech in a shocking and deplorable manner.

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killemwitdakno 5 years ago

THE CANADIAN BILLIONAIRE PETER NYGARD WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT PAID JACKASS JUNKANOO DEMONSTRATION. Just as he launch a street paid protest against Bacon.

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killemwitdakno 5 years ago

He didn't ask that they withdraw all claims. The handcuffing children which Campbell called a boycott for was a flat out lie. "Caged persons" in the flat bed truck was a lie. As for the girl who said she was beat, the day she went to court and Smith went to get her , he said she was slapped and dragged again after winning the case upon release..

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Space 5 years ago

Does it not speak volumes that the Ministers first thought after the hearing, rather than answering the important questions posed to them by the IACHR, is to lauch in to an attack on the GBHRA?

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birdiestrachan 5 years ago

Don the truth is no one will hurt any of them especially Joe and Fred, I doubt any one takes them that seriously, They are known for what they are they want to be in the lime light and their light is failing very fast. Have they ever visited the Mud, Pigeon pea or any Shanty town and take note of the conditions there and what persons who live near by have to endure,? Fred just love to be the centre of attention and poor Joe just goes along with whatever Fred says, Joe has no friends. Fred smith should put his money where his mouth is and try to do something for his home people, the land of his birth. The truth is the Bahamas is a small poor Country and we are unable to sustain the thousands of persons that continue to come that is the bottom line. which Fred and his followers refuse to admit.

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Cas0072 5 years ago

Let's not rewrite events. Sure there is such a thing as moving forward in a less contentious manner, but that is on both sides. Quotes have been attributed to Mr. Smith that have come out of his own mouth, including at the hearing, where I simply would not have recognized the Bahamas if the country's name were excluded from being referenced. That is why I commented previously that it is unfortunate that Mr. Smith is not being held at all accountable for his role in playing with existing tensions. Today Mr. Smith is being conciliatory believing he has scored a victory, but is he even open to rational negotiation? The image that he has put forth in the media makes it appear as if he is more dedicated to the cause of argument than on achieving results. Will he be so level headed when it all does not go his way? Both sides need to adopt a calmer tone. Both sides.

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ispeakthetruth 5 years ago

@Economist, @DonAnthony, @lkalikl and @guyfawkes - the country was defamed by Fred Smith and company. Tone is irrelevant, content is everything. To say that immigration policies are being followed, rather than law, is a lie. If you disagree, tell me which policy does that? He was clearly and simply being disagreeable in order to falsely show a government that harasses and intimidates, while presenting no proof. Mr. Smith clearly feels no government intimidation. If so, he needs to be clear about these tactics and provide the proof, rather than falsely representing the actions of private individuals as government endorsed. To imply that is also defamatory to the country.

If Fred Smith were honest with the commission he would have been warned about his erratic, irresponsible behavior instead. Did Mr. Smith mention his idea of a government revolt on national radio? Did he mention his partial acknowledgement of defaming the country...where he agreed to tone it down, if illegals in Abaco are ignored? Did he mention that he promotes disrespect of our immigration authorities by falsely claiming they have no arresting powers? It sounds like Fred Smith is the one playing games. The fact that Mr. Gomez was there, shows that he is not being ignored. Why should it matter who the official is? Mr. Mitchell is clearly not the one personalizing this "sensitive national issue".

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ispeakthetruth 5 years ago

You are clearly wearing blinders.

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ispeakthetruth 5 years ago

You have been biased in every post of yours that I have read. Nowhere, did I assert that the PLP is worthy of trust as I do not subscribe to PLP or FNM politics. However, I can admit when if there some good or something at all being done (even in one area) regardless of politics, and this includes public figures Fred Smith. However, I have yet to see him suggest anything impartial or for the good of Bahamians in this debate. But like I said, I am open minded and rational.

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Space 5 years ago

Isn't fighting for the government to adhere to the Constitution for the good of Bahamians?

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ispeakthetruth 5 years ago

Again, where is the government not adhering to the constitution?

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Space 5 years ago

Arg, again with this. For one... everyone is entitled to a trial before being accused of an offence. Those being deported are not going to trial.

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ispeakthetruth 5 years ago

The minister can also sign of on deportations without court proceedings.

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Space 5 years ago

Constitutionally... no he cannot

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ispeakthetruth 5 years ago

Constitutionally, he can implement public policy so yes, he can.

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DonAnthony 5 years ago

Fred Smith is the most "thin skinned " politician I have ever seen, really because of this trait he is in the wrong line of work. And if you can not see that he has personalized this debate, specifically between himself and Fred Smith then you are either blind or simply dishonest. Instead of him adopting a conciliatory tone after the hearing, as Fred Smith did, or by attempting for the first time to materially address the specific abuse allegations made, he launches in a personal diatribe against the GBHRA. that says volumes!

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DonAnthony 5 years ago

Forgive me, I got my Freds mixed up, but they are both thin skinned, so the comment applies, at least Fred Smith is now being conciliatory.

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ispeakthetruth 5 years ago

Like another commenter has posted, he is coming off of what he believes is a win, and feels as if he now has leverage. He does not. If his "fostering" ties is anything like his idea to ignore illegal Abaco immigrants, provide legal representation for all suspected illegals, or anything that further burdens the Bahamian public...he needs to stop. Like I said before, the Bahamas should not be held hostage by this or any group.

Also, yes Fred Smith is truly thin skinned. You had it right the first time. He is the one who is clearly making it personal. Mr. Mitchell, seems to want to keep emotion out of it by deferring to a public vs. personal dialogue where tensions are most likely to flare. Fred Smith is the only one whining about not meeting face-to-face.

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Space 5 years ago

Ha I don't think he is so much "whining" - as you say - about not meeting face to face as outlining the absurdity of: "I'll only come and meet you if you say sorry and take it all back" "Well no Mr Mitchell... that kind of defeats the purpose of the meeting..." "Well FINE I'm not talking to you then"

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Cas0072 5 years ago

If I recall, he asked Daphne Campbell to take back the calls for a boycott which was a reasonable request. She was running off of pure emotion and did not appear to be in a space to speak rationally about this issue. Meeting with her would have been a matter of courtesy, but trying to hold the country hostage to her demands is not the way to go. GBHRA spoke volumes by appearing to align with her statement and making her a friend of the GBHRA.

No one should have to encourage Mr. Smith to apologize. That is the shameful part worth mocking. He should denounce his comments simply for the fact that they were very heinous and not true.

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Space 5 years ago

No actually he asked him to "Withdraw (unspecified) untrue statements concerning the activities of the Department of Immigration" and it was Mr Smith who refused to do so, saying he stood by everything he had said.

If these statements are untrue, as he claims they are he shouldn't have anything to worry about, why can't he just defend the government against these claims instead of stamping his feet? - that's the part I find really disconcerting.

I'm not sure exactly what you're saying is untrue in what Smith said so I can't comment on that.

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Cas0072 5 years ago

It is possible that I could have missed some headlines or not recall everything referenced. Even with that said, that is not an unreasonable request. If you recall, the videos of the kids being "hauled off for deportation" did not match the hysteric propaganda that was added to it. You don't recall claims of ethnic cleansing, genocide, etc? If Mr. Smith has evidence of these abuses, he should simply present the evidence.Standing by what you say when it could very well be untrue, as history has proven, means nothing.

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Space 5 years ago

Well yes I think it is quite, shall we say 'odd'? for a Minister, instead of standing up to support his policy and refuting these claims with facts, to instead send an email telling him to just take back what he said... All I'm really saying here, is the fact that Smith is willing, nay keen to stand up and debate Mitchell on this topic, and Mitchell is not willing to do the same - suggests that one party is more confident in their stance in the debate than the other. This is merely my reading of the events.

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Cas0072 5 years ago

How is he not defending the policy? He has defended it to the public, internationally, and now to human rights organizations. Fred Smith has been the one to be quite loose with facts and misrepresentations, so if what he said publicly are evidence of his facts, he has already lost by default. Empty barrels make the most noise.

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ispeakthetruth 5 years ago

He is whining. Mr. Mitchell wanted to set a professional tone by asking him to withdraw the accusations made against the department of immigration, he refused. Just as he is quick to blame the government for individuals' actions, he made claims of the department that are unfounded. Accusations such as the rape, the pregnant woman...were addressed. But Mr. continues with the villainization of this group of individuals. As head of this ministry, I cannot blame Mitchell for not wasting his time. Regardless of whether they have a face meeting or not, his concerns, even his lunatic accusations, have been addressed. Is he hurt that Mitchell will not meet? Again, why does it matter?

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Space 5 years ago

Well, I don't think its professional to refuse to stand up for a policy you have spearheaded when it is questioned if you are a member of government. You work for the people, it's your duty to answer to them. To say the claims are unfounded is incorrect, as who have the claims been investigated or addressed by?

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ispeakthetruth 5 years ago

When our constitution clearly states that the minister has the right to implement public policy, when our attorney general agrees no laws are being broken, when the minister in the HOA reinforces the facts - enough has been said. Mr. Smith's only leg is to claim insurmountable human rights abuses because he knows that in reality (he is not familiar), no laws are being broken. Also, the department disputed the pregnant woman's claims saying she and fellow inmates barricaded themselves in the dorm. I guess she really wanted have a baby in a country that grossly violates their human rights, considering her time to be freed of it all was near. Must not be that bad, huh?

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Cas0072 5 years ago

How has he not defended the policies? He has been defending them quite adamently in the press and in the HOA. Not meeting with people who want to twist the governments arm first, talk later is his right. I see his position quite clearly on this. They do not deserve the courtesy simply for their tactics.

Mr. Smith has the same audience as Mr. Mitchell. He could have built up local support regarding getting the DC in order and the alledged inhumane treatments. Instead he attempts to defame the country internationally at every opportunity.

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Economist 5 years ago

First of all, I challenge you to quote the law that allows round up and or raids. Secondly, show me the law creating the Carmichael Road Detention Centre. Show me the law by which it governed

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ispeakthetruth 5 years ago

The RBPF conducts raids, law enforcement agencies the world over conducts raids where criminal behavior is suspected. You should quote me the law that says that raids against suspected illegal activity is illegal. Show me the law that says suspected criminals are guaranteed legal representation. Also, I made no such claim about the creation of the detention center.

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Space 5 years ago

I can't open the Constiution on the Bahamas gov website but I think... that chapter 3, section 19 of the constitution guarantees every individual the means to acquire legal representation

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ispeakthetruth 5 years ago

The means to acquire? They have the means to pay for illegal voyages for friends and family, so surely they have the means to acquire an immigration lawyer.

The sheer numbers that would have to be represented, is not practical. Besides, that the minister can sign off of deportations without court proceedings...next.

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Space 5 years ago

how are they supposed to acquire a lawyer if theyre locked in the detention centre?

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ispeakthetruth 5 years ago

The law does not guarantee legal representation. With it being impractical, my only point to the legality of it was that the minister had the right to sign off on deportations, in lieu of court proceedings. So that does in fact make it legal.

Also, detained or not. They can acquire a lawyer in the same manner as fox hill prisoners, through families and friends. If their sponsors can support to pay an illegal trafficker $1-$5k, they can afford to pay a lawyer.

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Space 5 years ago

just because something isnt practical doesnt make it legal, and just because the Minister has decided he can sign off deportations... that also doesn't make it legal.. Next...

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Cas0072 5 years ago

If the minister is acting within the authority granted him by the Bahamas constitution, that does make it legal.

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Space 5 years ago

He isnt... that's the point...

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ispeakthetruth 5 years ago

Ok, continue to believe that he is not. Let's see how far Free Smith gets with his attempts to stop it.

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Economist 5 years ago

I am waiting for you to quote the Acts and the sections of those Acts.....Silence

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Space 5 years ago

I'm sorry what? you're waiting for me to quote the acts of the constiution?

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ispeakthetruth 5 years ago

Silence? No such luck Economist.

I am not a lawyer, but both you and I know the constitution is debatable, hence the law profession, hence the immigration debate. So I will not maneuver through the constitution for you, but I will point you in the direction within the constitution, and why I agree that the Bahamas is operating within the law. You can arrive at your own conclusions. The fact that law enforcement officials have the right to conduct raids on suspected illegal activity is a given. You quote me the section of law that prohibits that, but chapter 3 paragraph 21, I believe covers this. With regard to the immigration minister having the ability to implement policy, throughout chapter 2. With regard to legal representation, within chapter 3 section 20.

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Emac 5 years ago

I find it quite ludicrous that some would think that Fred Mitchel is in someway trying to create an unsafe atmosphere for the so called human rights critics by simply stating that "they have defamed this country’s name through irresponsible efforts that undermine the government’s ability to clamp down on illegal immigration." But the more I read these people's comments, the more I realize that they, like Fred Smith, are all GREAT PRENTENDERS when it comes to this human rights issue. I am not a big fan of the PLP or Fred Mitchel, but I am honest enough to admit that the immigration policies that they are trying to introduce are imperative to at least putting a dent in the ILLEGAL HAITIAN problem at this time of the game. However, let us put aside the meeting with the IACHR for a moment.

The FNM government was the first to do away with the travel documents. Under their tenure there were numerous reports about alleged human abuses at the Detention Centre. This issue did not just come into foreplay yesterday. This has been an ongoing problem. But what I find MOST interesting is that Fred Smith and the other bloggers who oppose Fred Mitchel's approach on this matter, were all on a holiday when Shane Gibson and Branville McCartney authorized numerous ROAD BLOCKS and ROUND UPS- Orrrrrrrrrrrr maybe they were too hoarse and were not able to speak at the time-Orrrrrrrrr maybe they were not able to purchase a computer at that time to write on these pages.

People stop the bullshit and come clean. Stop the false pretending. If you dislike Fred Mitchel as a person then simply state that and save the horseshit for those who do not know any better. If you really care about human rights abuses then stop choosing your battles. Humans are humans. Shoots, let's start with Fox Hell Prison. That place is a human abuse magnet. But oh yeah, I just remember. The majority of people there are BAHAMIAN criminals right? They deserve what they gat.

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Space 5 years ago

No the immigration policies they are attempting to introduce are not imperative, and are not even the most practical solutions to the immigration problem, as has been shown time and time again and conveniently ignored. Is anyone ever going to explain why the borders still aren't protected to the extent they should be? The Bahamas are basically trying to bail out a sinking ship with a teaspoon when it comes to Immigration instead of fixing the hole. Also just purely out of curiosity, what are the suggested reasons or evidence that anyone 'dislikes Mitchell as a person'?

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Emac 5 years ago

You tell me-You probably only read part of what I wrote. One of Fred Smith's complaints to the IACHR was illegal round ups. Wasn't round-ups done under the FNM and under Shane Gibson??? Why is it now an issue? I have no suggested reasons why anyone would dislike Mitchel as a person. But what I do have is evidence of people ignoring something that one government or minister did and are now making noise when another minister is doing the same thing. You don't find that questionable and hyprocritcal??? By the way, it is easy to say that a policy is not practical when you are not the person responsible for policy.making. I don't hear any practical suggestions coming from you or from any of the commenters who oppose these policies. Everyone is saying secure the border. Sure secure the border. But you people keep forgetting the AND. So... I say, secure the border AND get rid of all those illegals who snuck into this country. How do we identify the illegals? We introduce policies that's how.

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Space 5 years ago

So you're suggesting that because there is no archival evidence of Fred Smiths opinions during Gibsons actions that means he is a hypocrite? Is there evidence that he was in support of Gibsons actions? That would make him a hypocrite. What your saying does not.

As for practical suggestions, thank you for asking... here's one right here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?s...">https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?s...

I think what YOU'RE forgetting with your 'AND' is that the government has shown that they are unable to enforce the 'AND' in a way which does not tread on human rights or even work effectively... correct me if I'm wrong but if I remember correctly... during the raids which took place around November more than half of those detained were released as they were legal residents or citizens... that doesn't sound very effective to me.

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Cas0072 5 years ago

Doing nothing is even less effective. The fact that there is possibly no or little evidence of his passionate opposition prior to Fred Mitchell's tenure supports Emacs statements.

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Space 5 years ago

Please see my suggestion on what should be done...

And no... the presence of "nothing" does not support Emacs statement at all. It is on Emac to support what he is saying with facts rather than the presence of nothing, which could be for a number of reasons.

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Cas0072 5 years ago

Actually it does. It does not take much research to find Mr. Smith denouncing these activities that have been taking place the whole time. Now he is in the press every other day. Resolving the illegal immigration issue does require effort at the border and also on land. Every illegal immigrant that is currently here should not be granted citizenship if they do not qualify.

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Space 5 years ago

No it doesn't. I'm not going to go back and forth with you on this its just silly. Also who on EARTH said that they should?

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Cas0072 5 years ago

Indeed it is silly for you to pretend that Mr. Smith is always up and active on this topic. How did the DC get so deplorable under the watch of this guardian angel? Talking about "paths to citizenship" as if it were a given certainly gives the impression this is a God given right of all illegal immigrants. Where is Smith's clear and concise counter propasal? He doesnt have to meet with the minister to discuss it. Put it in the mail.

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Space 5 years ago

At no point did I say he was. Please re-read the conversation, neither did I mention anything about 'paths to citizenship'. I don't know why you're bringing it up in response to my comment..

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Cas0072 5 years ago

Asserting that he is not selective about when he speaks up on alleged abuses implies that he is consistent, when he is not. You are correct though, you were not the one that used the term "path to citizenship" but my comment still stands as it was stated within these comments section. Too late to edit my other post.

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Space 5 years ago

I never 'pretended' he was always up and active in this topic, I commented that the lack of evidence of him being active in this topic before does not stand as evidence of a bias against Mitchell or this government... that also does not prove that he is being 'selective'. You may think that... you have every right to say it. It does not prove it.

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Cas0072 5 years ago

You can play semantics all you want. If he has a record of speaking up against the same "abuses" as he does now, the record will reflect even if it was less passionately. I think I have a right? I know I have freedom of speech just like Fred Smith, but I will always be careful in how use it.

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Space 5 years ago

Talking bout semantics... I'm sorry let me rephrase because you once again twisted what I was saying. 'You may think that AND you have every right to say it. It does not prove it'

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Cas0072 5 years ago

I have never provided my opinions as fact. You should simply learn to recognize the difference.

1

birdiestrachan 5 years ago

I do not think the rants of a MAD Man or Woman deserves a reply.

1

Emac 5 years ago

I feel that I need to dedicate a song for a few of the commenters here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FyM8N...">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FyM8N...

1

Space 5 years ago

Oh good it's you again... the one good thing about you is that you completely besmirch the reputation of anyone standing against Fred Smith with all your loony talk, so please sir by all means, carry on...

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Space 5 years ago

Hahaha... as I said, carry on... it really is hilarious.

1

duppyVAT 5 years ago

General ................ I dont know where you are going with this ........... but in all seriousness ......... what is the consequences of defamation of the character of The Bahamas??? ................... exile??????, execution??????? passport revocation?????

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ispeakthetruth 5 years ago

Unfortunately the only possible consequence is damage to economy if, internationally, he is taken seriously. He is exercising his freedom of speech, no matter how offensive but objects to anyone who is equally offensive exercising their freedom of speech.

I mean Nazi Germany, government sanctioned concentration camps, KKK - why split hairs?

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Emac 5 years ago

@Space-You wrote,"during the raids which took place around November more than half of those detained were released as they were legal residents or citizens... that doesn't sound very effective to me." Ahhhhh... the reason for the policies is to make it mandatory for everyone in the country to obtain some form of identification so that when there is a round-up people would be able to present their credentials when asked to do so. Or would you prefer that everything just keep going as it is now, not knowing who is residing in your country? . Further, it is apparent that you do not know much about the Haitian community. It seems as if you simply read the news and you draw your conclusion based on what is presented to you by the media. But do you realize that Haitians, living in the Bahamas, legal and illegals are the biggest perpetrators of falsifying documents. Did you know that during most of the raids immigration officers are always presented with many false documents, namely work permits, resident permits? So don't blame the immigration department for carrying out due course by detaining those who are suspected of holding false documents. You tell me- If you present what looks like a fake drivers license to a police officer, should you be held until it can be proven that the license is legit?

The crux of the matter is that there will always be reports of human abuse when it comes to trying to detain illegals. Some may be perceived as true while most will be smoke screens to try and discredit the enforcers who are coming after the illegals. Its a mixed bag of nuts folks. You can't enjoy the peanuts without the taste of the pretzels!

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Economist 5 years ago

This is Article 6 of The Bahamas Constitution. Please note the words "if either of his parents is a Bahamian Citizen". Seems clear to me.

Every person born in The Bahamas after 9th July 1973 shall be come a citizen of The Bahamas at the date of his birth if at that date either of his parents is a citizen of The Bahamas.

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Emac 5 years ago

So the space wants proof of Fred Smith's biased ranting with Fred Mitchel. I have concluded that people would always be blind to seeing one other side of a coin when it fits their purpose. But anyway, in 2006 , Shane Gibson was the Minister of Immigration. During his watch, a Japanese man suffering from amnesia was unlawfully held in a Bahamas prison and an immigration centre for eight years without being charged. This man was later awarded $500 000. The lame response of Fred Smith at the time:"We cannot have a penal system where people get lost." He also said such "arbitrary and unlawful detainment has plagued the Bahamas for DECADES," especially for illegal immigrants." http://www.iol.co.za/news/world/amnes...">http://www.iol.co.za/news/world/amnes...

So it seems that the good QC has recognized this problem for years. But now we are hearing him roar like a lion. I wonder where he got this sudden burst of energy from???Hmmm...

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Space 5 years ago

Why does it matter if the message is sound?

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Economist 5 years ago

Man generalcrazy, you remind me of a drunk that used to walk up and down Bay Street in the early seventies. He would speak loudly, swearing all the time and speaking nonsense.

Hope you don't smell as badly as he did.

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Emac 5 years ago

I did some more research for blind Space-"It should be noted that a lesser number of persons apprehended were released because they were in the country legally. The repatriation of the Haitian nationals at the Detention Centre will make a total of approximately 906 Haitians to be repatriated so far this year." Those words were uttered by Jack Thompson, then director of the Immigration Department. In one of your earlier statements you claim that the policy of pickup and detainment was ineffective. This was done under the FNM. Just like you mentioned in Mitchel's case some of those detained were legal. Not a word from you or Fred Smith chastising the government for false detainment or any of that good stuff. "I wish to reiterate what the Minster of Immigration has previously stated: “All persons who are here illegally are in contravention of the laws of The Bahamas, and are advised to return to their country of origin or be subject to apprehension and deportation.” Again this statement was issued by the Bahamas Department of Immigration. Quiet as a mouse, during the same raid under the FNM, that Fred man.

http://www.bahamaislandsinfo.com/inde...">http://www.bahamaislandsinfo.com/inde...

1

Space 5 years ago

Sorry... what? I have no idea what point you're trying to put across here let me try and decipher. You're saying what Fred Smith says now doesn't apply because he didn't comment on the situation four years ago? Is that right?

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Emac 5 years ago

I said you were daft. No point in running on with you.

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DEDDIE 5 years ago

The S&P forcing VAT down our throats.The US embassy issuing travel advisories about the crime situation and now International Human rights groups. The Bahamas can't get a break.

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Emac 5 years ago

@Space-Shite this a good one! The Department of Immigration wanted principals to report students who were not regularized so that they could flush them out of the system, meaning the public schools. This all happened under the FNM http://www.thenassauguardian.com/inde...">http://www.thenassauguardian.com/inde...

Fred Mitchel's policy just mandates that students who register present an ID. But you f---king hypocrites had nothing to say then. Now you wanna open up your gullets??? Fed up Smith must have been vacationing in Timbuktu at the time. As I said before, FALSE PRETENDERS! I gat your song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwtAG...">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwtAG...

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TalRussell 5 years ago

comrade Emac, excellent post and I am becoming more convinced the mainstream media powers are in bed with certain people. There is some really funny business going on.

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Space 5 years ago

Wow, name calling and swearing. I love an intelligent debate.

Anyway... I really have no idea what you're getting at with regards to my statements on these matters, nor do I know how you would know what my opinions or actions were 4 years ago.

I do understand that you are concerned that Smith didn't comment on these actions 4 years ago but has much to say now... and are therefore questioning his motives. Which of course is your right. I've already said there could be many reasons for this. Some could be questioned, some could be completely innocent. Who knows?

I find the message he is putting across to be sound and backed up with facts so I have no reason to question the motives behind it.

I've said it once and I'll say it again. That's just my reading of the situation.

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Emac 5 years ago

Calling someone a hypocrite is hardly name calling. But then again, who the cap fits let them wear it

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Space 5 years ago

Sorry but did you not just call me 'Space-Shite'? I'm fairly sure that stands as playground name calling by anyones standards

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Emac 5 years ago

No. I am sorry you took that the wrong way. I was using the word "Shyte" as an exclamative word , as a prelude to what I was about to say. I was nothing calling you shite. I apologize for the misunderstanding

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Space 5 years ago

Ah ok. The misuse of the hyphen suggested otherwise.

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TalRussell 5 years ago

Comrades keep a watchful eye on the mainstream media . The media have either dropped the ball or in bed with certain people? Why no outcries coverage by the "mainstream media" over the outright lies being told to the world, about our Bahamaland? What exactly is going on in Abaco?

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Economist 5 years ago

Still waiting for someone to quote the Act and the Sections under the Act that the Carmichael Road Detention Centre operates.... three hours and .......silence.

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Cas0072 5 years ago

What are you talking about? The minister said himself, even as early as his first term as immigration minister, that there was no structure in place for the DC. That is why it is being worked into the current amendment. Maybe if they go to Fox Hill instead, Fred Smith could then widen his base of humans with rights to support.

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Stapedius 5 years ago

Wow this is a lot of posts. All the ranting aside, I've not seen one article written by a Bahamian journalist with a real investigative approach on the matter. If we're gonna take the government to task I think we also need to challenge Smith. We are allowing both sides to feed information and write the narrative. Please can someone with a responsible pen write at least a halfway decent analysis of all this? For crying out loud we're tired of hearing the reports of bickering between the parties.

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Emac 5 years ago

Let me reiterate my point, especially for the inane commenters here who conveniently fail to see beyond their own hypocrisy. Fred Smith is insincere about his quest to protect people from abuses. As I mentioned earlier, someone who is genuine about human abuse does not pick his battles. It is like a teacher overlooking one student who bullies a weak student but attacks another for bullying the same weak student.

But it is a well known fact that hypocrites will never see their own hypocrisy. How could they when they are blinded by their own egos. Hypocrisy is rampant in our society. We preach one thing, but do another. We want criminals locked up except for our family members. We want the crime situation to be addressed but not if it involves unpopular measures. Space, it is obvious that you are an empty barrel making noise. The regular bloggers have never seen any comments from you on any other matters pertaining to important issues in the Bahamas. As a matter of fact, it seems that you just signed up today so that you can attack Mitchel. I wouldn't be surprise if you have a pin up of him in your bedroom. Cause as I said before, hypocrites say one thing but do another. I rest my case

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Space 5 years ago

Let me reiterate my point... just for you.

You have put your case across and have made the statement that you believe Smith has some (unspecified) problem with Mitchell. All this is, is a theory based on your own assumptions and not on fact, but you are of course entitled to your opinion.

With regards to never seeing any comments from me before... well I have commented on many things in the past. However, you are correct. I don't spend a lot of time on the Tribune comments sections, very little time at all. However occasionally I will glance down when reading and happen to have the time to comment, so I do. I'm sure there are many hundreds of things that I miss out on because I just don't have the time to go through every story, every day in every news medium. That does not in any way make my opinion any less worthy of an audience or any less deserving of respect than yours. Nor does it mean that I feel a story I may have missed or not had time to comment on, is any less important than one I may have read or commented on. It's quite amusing that your entire evaluation of me as a hypocrite is based solely around my activity on the Tribune news website though.

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SP 5 years ago

.............. Congratulations Fred Mitchell, Damian Gomez AND the PLP ...................

Many Bahamians including myself have little reason to congratulate the PLP.

However, the concerted initial response mounted by the PLP government and legislation to amend immigration and status laws before the Senate deserve strong commendations for their collaborative efforts in addressing this issue of illegal Haitian migration and the "sophisticated" apparatus that has thrived unchecked in our country for decades.

The sovereignty of Bahamas is at risk by individuals claiming to be Bahamian, but by their actions have proven beyond all doubt not to have the best interest of Bahamas at heart.

in the first instance, government is obligated to protect the people and sovereignty of the Bahamas.

Those that challenge or seek to usurp that sovereignty, must be considered enemies of the state and charged with sedition and treason.

Simple calculations confirm a Haitian sloop with 100 persons at $5,000.00 each equals $500,000.00 per trip.

It is easy to see why the "sophisticated" apparatus as described by Mr. Fred Mitchell is panicking to do all possible to keep this vibrant flow of cash up and running.

Fred Smith and crew must firstly be thoroughly investigated for any part of human trafficking and brought before a tribunal to review their motives against the state.

Secondly, all legal individuals of Haitian decent entering Bahamas post independence July 10, 1973 and their offspring should be stripped of full Bahamian citizenship and issued belongers status without the right to vote or get involved in politics of OUR country.

Citizenship with right to vote should be reserved for the indigenous people of Bahamas

Thirdly, individuals entering the country illegally AT ANYTIME, and their offspring should not be allowed any status in our country what so ever and made to leave forthwith.

Finally, government must act relentlessly with haste, absolute purpose and conviction, giving no quarter to enemies with-in at any and all levels of society involved in the perpetration of illegal humane trafficking from Haiti or elsewhere.

Again, ... Congratulations to Mr. Fred Mitchell and Mr. Damian Gomez. Gods speed!

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Emac 5 years ago

Tal, the forth estate should be the protector of the people, therefore reporting and or exposing anything that is of major concern to the country. Anyone can see that the media is lopsided when it comes to reporting issues stemming from this government and that of the former government. I believe that I have made it clear over and over again that I am no supporter of the PLP government. I and some of these reporters share this feeling. However, the difference between me and reporters is that I am a private citizen, I can state my opinions, even with bias. They, on the other hand, should be held accountable for whatever they bring to the people. You cannot be soft on one government on certain issues and then crucify another on the same issues. I say tell the story truthfully and let the people decide. This country is much too small to have so many favoritism and special interests going around.

Indeed, we are at a crossroad in which direction our country is heading. The next election is crucial to our survival as a sovereign state. The scary part is that there are no viable alternatives as far as good governance is concerned, on the horizon. This even makes it more vital for our media to be fair in their reporting. We do not need the media to stir up emotions in our citizens just because they don't approve of certain politicians or political parties. Let the people make up our own mind.

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Stapedius 5 years ago

Lol. You laying it on quite heavy Emac. How did you all get imbrawled in such a heated exchange anyway? You can't let the loonies get to you. If its one thing we all appreciate as Bahamians is this tribal attitude which is a lingering stench to our existence. We are like cattle that can be hearded in any direction. Some of us have no inclination to objective, independent thought. But the media in this country is rubbish and does not lead objective discussion and debate on issues. The general public must always be subjected to the personal rhetoric of the many idiots with access to a mic and a radio tower.

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Emac 5 years ago

:-) Stapedius, I am calm as a cat on a Sunday morning while I am writing here. I am in no way agitated by anyone. Unfortunately I have a thing for these types of debates. I believe that open discussions are healthy though, especially for the growth of a country. I admit that I do get carried away sometimes but it is all done with the understanding that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. Even though I criticize the Tribune, I am still pleased that this paper has provided a space for Bahamians and residents alike to vent their frustrations or express their feelings. This is a good thing. But you are right about the media in general though. I can never stomach listening to any of the talk shows with the exception of maybe Carlton Smith.

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Voltaire 5 years ago

Thank goodness the IACHR commissioners breathed some clean oxygen into this suffocating theater of nonsense - https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=...">https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=...

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Voltaire 5 years ago

Thank goodness the IACHR commissioners breathed some clean oxygen into this suffocating theater of nonsense - https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=...">https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=...

http://tribune242.com/users/photos/20...">http://thetribune.media.clients.ellin..." alt="None">

by Voltaire

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Economist 5 years ago

SP, you are correct they do need to be congratulated. They recognized the International conventions that The Bahamas had signed onto by changing the law to comply.

What we all have been saying is that The Bahamas does not live in a bubble. There is a big world out there and it has rules that we, as an independent nation, must follow.

Congratulations to both minister for acknowledging that. They may not like it but it is a "welcome to the real world'.

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TheMadHatter 5 years ago

Mitchell needs to get that new legistlation on the House floor - tabled - so that it is illegal to hire non-Bahamians without a valid timely work permit.

As it stands now, this is not against ANY law.

Get the Law - Fine the Hell out of employers, and the word will spread quick.

When there is no money to be stolen from Bahamian workers - the boatloads will stop coming.

As long as we allow them to come here and work without permits and without consequences to them AND their employers - nothing will change - well, except our FLAG will change when they take it down at Government House, kick Lady Pindling out on the street, and hoist their own flag in its place.

And that won't be long from now. I estimate without change, that will be before end of 2016. Few will believe that prediction. I don't care. You can believe it when you see it.

TheMadHatter

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Emac 5 years ago

@Space- In your own words, "With regards to never seeing any comments from me before... well I have commented on many things in the past." There you are being deceitful again. The only thing you have ever commented about is this issue today with Fred Mitchel stating how the so called activists have defamed the Bahamas. Oh and you also commented a few months ago when the Florida politician called for Mitchel to resign. You seemed to have sided with the politician. So the nagging question is, what are your motives? So I was right, apparently you do have a thing for Mitchel.

1

Space 5 years ago

I repeat... I find it quite amusing that you're entire evaluation of me as a hypocrite is based around my activity on the tribune news website. Even you surely can see how absurd that is. First of all, I think Mitchellls work in the past and in more recent years for human rights has been outstanding and worth note. Especially his stance on LGBT rights. I don't judge an entire person based on one decision or action that would be ridiculous. Lastly, please for the love of God, learn to spell Mitchell... It's RIGHT there...

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Emac 5 years ago

Well since we are doing the grammar correction thing. It should be Mitchell's work not Mitchellls work. See? It is easy to make typos and other mistakes. It does not distract me from the issue at hand though, in case that is what you are trying to do. However, if you want to change the focus on proper grammar or spellings, I could tear your comments into shreds. But let us not go that route, that is contrite. Let us focus on the real issues here.

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Space 5 years ago

Eh, well no we're not 'doing the grammar correction thing'. Repeatedly misspelling Mitchell is neither a grammatical error nor a typo. Thanks though, I've noted my typo. That was merely a side note to my response to you, it was literally one line, so I'm unclear as to how you've defined that as 'distracting'. Though I admit you were very easily distracted as you focused entirely on my side note and nothing else I said.

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Emac 5 years ago

Sorry. Had to take a coffee break. Space, your antics are quite childish. It reminds me of a game we used to play as children, when one of the players tried to be the last person to hit someone. We used to call it 'last'. My argument of you being a hypocrite, based on your activities on the tribunes website, is quite valid. It is not absurd at all. Is this not the forum that we are using to now to carry out this debate? The simple truth is that you lied about having commented on other issues besides MITCHELL's policies. That in itself makes you a hypocrite. If you were in a court of law you would be seen as you a questionable person. But I am sure you are gonna say we are not in a court of law. FYI, one of the definitions of a hypocrite is a pretense of having some desirable or publicly approved attitude. Both you and Fred Smith portray this persona that you really care about human rights issues. However, because of your lies and deceit you and Fred Smith have proven yourself to be hypocrites. I am done here.

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Space 5 years ago

I'm gonna sign out of this discussion now, busy days ahead. Thank you for the debate though. I guess now we wait and see what goes down.

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Emac 5 years ago

Sorry I post another comment relating to this topic before I see this. Thank you for the debate also. Hope to buckle again sometime.

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Economist 5 years ago

TheMadHatter, you are correct BUT that means that the law will need to include timelines for Immigration to process the applications. They are taking months at the moment. Their slow manual ways is a good part of the reason we have people working without permits.

If they put in timelines AND Immigration actually adheres to them, then all is good to go.

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banker 5 years ago

I would like to see a statement by Perry Christie saying that he wholeheartedly supports Mr. Mitchell, and that he has approved the tone, timbre and intent of Mr. Mitchell's statement.

I would like to know that the ramblings of Mr. Mitchell are indeed the policy approved and conceived by the prime minister, and I would like the Prime Minister to deal with the topic in a thorough, direct, unambiguous manner.

Where is the Prime Minister in this debate?

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Voltaire 5 years ago

I agree banker. It is very telling that they have left Mitchell way out on the branch by himself on this one. I think they are biding their time, willing to take credit if the policy prevails, but ready to jump ship if it sinks.

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SP 5 years ago

.... Dominican Republic Set Precedence.....Bahamas Just needs to follow their lead .....

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/article...">http://www.bloomberg.com/news/article...

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killemwitdakno 5 years ago

Stop mentioning their practice

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killemwitdakno 5 years ago

Of the phones they get that immigration even sells to them, there would have been rounds of photos by now like before. These groups couldn't have an undercover all this time?

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