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Rollins Accuses Mitchell Of ‘Dumb Diplomacy’

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Andre Rollins in the House of Assembly.

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Minister of Immigration Fred Mitchell.

Reader poll

Do you think the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was right to put out an advisory on travel to the US?

  • Yes, it was right to put out the advisory. 46%
  • No, it was not. 54%

312 total votes.

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Deputy Chief Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

FORT Charlotte MP Dr Andre Rollins has accused Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell of engaging in “dumb diplomacy” and seeking to “benefit from global headlines” after his ministry issued a travel advisory warning Bahamians about interacting with police officers in the United States.

This, he told reporters outside of the House of Assembly yesterday, undermined the welfare of Bahamians.

The Bahamas’ festering crime challenges, the MP insisted, rendered a “far greater case for alarm here at home” than anywhere else.

Dr Rollins was highly critical of the government’s July 8 warning that advised Bahamians to comply and be extremely cautious when interacting with police in the US. The warning attracted international media attention and went viral on social media.

It reflected Mr Mitchell’s personal views and was not based on any clear and present danger to Bahamians travelling to the US, Dr Rollins said.

“That’s not smart politics, that’s not smart diplomacy,” he said. “That’s dumb diplomacy and I think that it is time for ministers of the government, if they have personal views that suggest a lack of confidence, if those person’s views would adversely impact the welfare of the Bahamian people, common sense ought to tell them keep those views to themselves or communicate them privately so that it is not misconstrued or misunderstood by the intended recipients.

“Because the flip side of what has happened now is that a greater spotlight has been shined on our country and our serious crime problem as a result of our criticism of law enforcement officers, the vast majority of whom are exemplary human beings who do a lot to promote the good name and reputation of the USA and who we continue to want to come and visit our shores.”

Asked if he was of the view that the warning was a mistake or unnecessary, Dr Rollins responded: “Put it this way, my personal view on it is that without there being any clear and present danger to the Bahamian people interested in travelling to the US and there being a far greater case for alarm here at home with respect to our failure to protect the Bahamian people right here on our home turf.

“I think that if there was ever a need for an advisory forget about the minister of foreign affairs because clearly they don’t deal with the domestic situation but there is a need for a reality check to be given to our government.

“So that instead of trying to paint a false narrative or picture of our country being safe with all of this talk of crime being down, the effort instead should be focused on being honest and transparent with the Bahamian people and acknowledging that they are far more likely to be the victims of crime here at home than they are if they travel abroad.

“I believe that without an economy that is doing well, without a country capable of saying that if you look at our performance we have done a lot to reduce crime, I don’t believe we should be creating the perception that our people are somehow safer than places that are doing a far better job of protecting their citizens from crime or contributing to our success as an economy as weak as it is today.”

Dr Rollins said rather than play political games, smarter diplomacy should have been applied.

He said the country has an economy that needs rebuilding and a society that needs to be made safer. These things, he said, should be where the emphasis and focus of this government is.

The Bahamas’ travel advisory has sparked public debate since it was issued last Friday. It was due to heightened tensions over recent fatal police shootings in America of black men.

Four days after this advisory, the US issued its own travel warning, pointing to armed robberies and violent crime remaining a primary criminal threat. It noted that officials received reports of a significant increase in armed robberies throughout New Providence over the past six months.

While many observers thought the US warning was retaliation for the Bahamas’ July 8 advisory, US Embassy spokesperson David Allen insisted on Tuesday that this was not the case.

Mr Allen said that the embassy recently put its staff and their families on alert due to increasing reports of armed robberies, and as such was legally required to issue a similar message to its citizens.

However, National Security Minister Dr Bernard Nottage has taken grave exception to the stinging US warning. On Wednesday he said the embassy is “wrong” and the assertions made in their latest crime advisory regarding The Bahamas are “not true”.

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 2 years, 9 months ago

We can't borrow ourselves out of junk bond status as our dumb corrupt government would like to think can be done. By introducing VAT, all our government has done is dig a much deeper hole in which the international lending and rating agencies will bury our country. Just look at what happened to Venezuela after successive corrupt governments (the most corrupt one having been led by Chavez, now deceased) decided to borrow willy-nilly against proven oil reserves and then nationalize the assets of the major U.S. oil companies located in Venezuela. The U.S. government and the international lending and rating agencies controlled by the U.S. government eventually came down on the people of Venezuela like a ton of bricks to make them pay dearly for foolishly electing and supporting tyrannical dictators who borrowed like crazy from the rich developed nations to give to the down trodden non-productive poor Venezuelan people (alla Robin Hood) until the U.S. government decided the hole the Venezuelan government had dug for Venezuelans was deep enough to bury Venezuela and teach Venezuelans an important lesson. Most Venezuelans today are without food, potable water, soap, tooth-paste and, yes, toilette paper. The few Bahamians who support Fweddy Boy Mitchell poking Uncle Sam in the eye (and Perry "Vomit" Christie's cozy relationship with the corrupt mainland Chinese elements he has foolishly allowed into our country) had better wake up to the harsh reality that lies ahead for us when the sleeping giant dragon to the north of us has had enough and decides to breath fire on us like it has done on the disrespectful and ungrateful Venezuelans.

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birdiestrachan 2 years, 9 months ago

Rollins will soon be gone. He is a rude and mad young man. perhaps Wells is catching on and has not followed Rollins.

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birdiestrachan 2 years, 9 months ago

Mr: David Allen of the USA Embassy. I never believed the head line "The USA strikes Back:" It was all about dishonesty in high places. trying to make trouble It was a head line story , but what you have said does not make head lines.:

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Honestman 2 years, 9 months ago

Rollins is spot on on this matter and I don't believe for one minute that the USA advisory was not retaliatory in nature. The Embassy is never going to admit that.

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My2cents 2 years, 9 months ago

Rollins capitalizes on every opportunity to get his name in the papers even if he isn't making sense. The advisory had nothing to do with diplomacy...Mitchell did his job.

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My2cents 2 years, 9 months ago

Only an idiot would be embarrassed over something like that, but look who I'm responding to...A person with a limited vocabulary and a one track mind. It's no wonder you're missing the point.

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My2cents 2 years, 9 months ago

The point of the advisory was not to conclude who is statistically safer where...but I am not surprised that this went over your head.

The US has many cities where crime is on par with, or exceeds, Nassau. The advisory did not point out this fact or draw comparisons. It simply cautioned people to use their heads in travelling and staying out of US business. If we have to be careful in even saying that, in the politically correct tone it was said, that's a really sad state of affairs for a supposed independent nation.

I get that you are an angry person, that much is clear...but what's also clear is that it's made you extremely biased and irrational.

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My2cents 2 years, 9 months ago

Kalik must be the greatest influence in your life...because you are clearly irrational and delusional. It may be ego for Fred Mitchell...but it was still the truth that needed to be said without sugar coating.

People like you are so conditioned to the FNM/PLP facade that you don't realize that Bahamians are not in control of the Bahamas. America can choose when/if/how they will chose to respond to this tiny nation therefore, anything can be the straw that broke the Camel's back...especially if it involves money. But by all means continue to live timidly, in fear, because of what the US might possibly do some day.

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My2cents 2 years, 9 months ago

If you are too stupid to realize that you, and people like you, are any different from Fred Mitchell and the people you condemn...then I don't know what I can say. Because based on your dumb @ss logic; you are just as dumb and racist as the people you accuse.

However, so it soaks in this time...the advisory was not about statistics. A Chicagoan would be safer in Exuma than Chicago. A Nassauvian would be safer in Mobile, Alabama than Nassau. What's your point?

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