0

Video: Fred Smith, Qc, Removed From Detention Centre

The Carmichael Road Detention Centre.

The Carmichael Road Detention Centre.

By SANCHESKA DORSETT

Tribune Staff Reporter

Sdorsett@tribunemedia.net

ATTORNEY Fred Smith, QC, was physically removed from the Detention Centre yesterday morning, after he was blocked from seeing a client and “ignored” by Department of Immigration supervisors.

In an interview after the incident, Mr Smith said he went to the Detention Centre off Carmichael Road at 10am to see his client, Jean-Rony Jean-Charles, who he said has been detained since September.

On arrival, Mr Smith said he was given the run around after first being told to wait and then instructed to “make an appointment” at the Immigration Department on Hawkins Hill in order to see the detainee.

After exchanging words with immigration officers, Mr Smith was asked to leave the property.

Videos of the altercation went viral on social media.

In one video recorded by an official on the compound, Mr Smith is seen arguing with four immigration officers, one of whom asked him to leave the property and to not film on his cell phone. Mr Smith said he is not a security threat and asked why he can’t film on the compound when one officer grabbed his arm and told him to go to the main gate.

Mr Smith refused to leave and said he would have to be carried to the gate. This prompted the three officers to drag him off the property. At one point, Mr Smith breaks free of their grip and is seen tussling with the officers as they try to remove him from the property.

In another video, Mr Smith is shown shouting outside the compound’s gate at immigration officers asking to speak with a supervisor.

“I’m a lawyer and I was there to see my client. He was born here at the Princess Margaret Hospital. He, like many other people, have been here for months if not years. I was there since 10am trying to see my client,” Mr Smith told reporters outside the compound.

“Anyone who is in custody has the right to see their lawyer. I went to see my client, the Defence Force was very respectful and cooperative but immigration will not let me see my client. I can go to Fox Hill prison and any police station and lawyers get to see their clients, but apparently immigration is above the law and they are not responsible enough to allow people to see their clients.

“I call on the Attorney General Carl Bethel, I call on Brent Symonette, I call on the prime minister to bring immigration under control. Jean-Charles is a Bahamian, he was born in the Bahamas. He has been here since September and they will not let me see him. When I went, I was told to wait and then I was told I had to make an appointment at Hawkins Hill. I don’t have to make an appointment at Central Police Station to see someone in Fox Hill Station.

“My client has a right to counsel. I was told to go and I said ‘no’. Then I asked to see the supervisor in charge. Hours later, I still have not seen an immigration officer to have a responsible conversation with me about seeing my client. Immigration think they are above the law.

“I hope responsible politicians start to get this department under control. I was physically removed, grabbed by [two] immigration officers and expelled outside the gate.”

When contacted, Immigration Minister Brent Symonette said no one can “just walk up to the Detention Centre” and Mr Smith knows there is protocol to be followed. He also questioned Mr Smith’s real motives for going to the holding centre because Mr Smith’s client is not at the facility.

“A person cannot just walk up and walk in Fred Smith knows that. We are trying to find out what happened there but since Mr Smith left, he hasn’t returned. He was filming his visit and it was a clever reason he did it,” Mr Symonette said.

“The officers advised me that the client he went to see is not at the Detention Centre. I am investigating that further. I was told when he was detained he had no identification and his alleged family produced a birth certificate a month afterwards. So, we are trying to verify whether he went to see this man or did not know he was not there. He sent an email out at 10.35am and I heard about it and I was not in office. He sent another email at 11.03am asking if someone from the government can help him long after the incident occurred.

“There are simple protocols that are established visiting the Detention Centre. Mr Smith is well aware of those. If he is not prepared to follow the rules, he shouldn’t be surprised that he is not allowed access. This matter should not be played out in the press, it does not look good. It is not a very good way to conduct business and the people that will suffer are his clients. He has a long history of publicising his activity in the press, which I suggest he try to find other avenues to achieve what he wants to do. He has my cell and email – I don’t appreciate being asked after the event to assist,” Mr Symonette added.

Comments

rawbahamian 1 week, 1 day ago

Whether he was born in the PMH or in Fred Smith's bedroom, unlike the Bahamasit does not make him a citizen of The Bahamas. If Mr. Lawyer doesn't know that and is allegedly a Q.C. then he needs to be disbarred.

2

SP 1 week, 1 day ago

Fred Smith is looking for attention and press coverage. We need to simply ignore this mullato Haitian!

2

TalRussell 1 week, 1 day ago

Comrades! What a difference seven-months makes. Obviously so, cause if King's Counsel (KC) Freddy had known then what he knows now about how he had more 'freedom of movement' under Christie, than he now has under Minnis, he wouldn't have given them a red penny. Looks likes the red party the KC was making his 2017 campaign donations to - might just be prepared to detain and lock-up the the learned KC. Be cute, if KC Freddy, turned to former PLP Immigration Minister Freddy M, to come defend him? {Can't make up KC Freddy would become a part of the reality of the other Freddy].

0

sheeprunner12 1 week, 1 day ago

The good QC is becoming a rogue activist ........... like Fweddy burning the Constitution.

0

banker 1 week, 1 day ago

The law is the law, and Fred Smith is on the right side of the law. So much ignorance in the above posts. The right to counsel is an immutable right.

1

My2cents 1 week, 1 day ago

He was not denied the right to see his client, he was told to make an appointment. That Is not an unreasonable request.

0

Porcupine 1 week ago

My2cents, Justice delayed is justice denied. Apparently, you too have gotten used to the run arounds that cost us all our valuable time. Do you actually live in The Bahamas, have interactions with people who have a job to do and take it seriously? If you do, you know the social tragedy of killing people's spirit with these aimless exercises. Ever try dealing with Dept of Inland Revenue? It seems the bigger problem is that when people get just a little bit of power, especially a uniform to put on, whether police, immigration, or security officer, they forget who they are and become larger than life. It seems that we have such low self esteem here that it is always better to keep others from doing the right thing, since we as a whole cannot manage to even help ourselves. Sad. Who can hold their head up while bringing children into a place of such backwards mentality?

1

My2cents 1 week ago

The scene above was caused by the clashing of severely inflated egos. He could have been allowed to see his client, but he could have just as easily made an appointment beforehand or after. The most backward thinking in my opinion come from people who naively follow and believe that because someone is loud, or on the side of the perceived underdog, they must be knowledgeable or right.

I get what you are saying about people who inflate their authority, I've experienced it, but is that the case here? My last experience with a gov office was two years ago, and my biggest complaint is and will probably always be slowness and turnaround time.

0

SP 1 week, 1 day ago

Donald Trump struck a serious precedence to Mullato Haitian Fred Smith and his fellow human rights activists late last week when he removed the U.S. from several multilateral commitments including the handling of migrant and refugee situations "Global Compact on Migration".

Fred Smith is a whacko Haitian nationalist. He needs to return to the cesspool of his birth and help his people.

https://foreignpolicy.com/2017/12/02/trump-boycotts-u-n-migration-talks/

Trump is also backtracking on WTO and wants to begin renegotiating multilateral accords more in favor of U.S. interest.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/america-first-america-alone-withdrawal-agenda-083103569.html

The Bahamas has no voice, no input, no "real" negotiating ability and no place in WTO!

0

Porcupine 1 week ago

SP, Intelligent and well traveled people could well say the same about the cesspool of your birth, if you were born in The Bahamas. We are not exactly a beacon on a hill for the rest of the world to emulate. True "Bahamians" have only been here for a very short time. Now, by accident of birth, this once paradise has been effectively laid to waste by a group of people who can see nothing but themselves. Fred Mitchell is a perfect example of this. Any decent person reading these posts, including yours, would certainly think twice about stepping foot into such an intellectual cesspool. The world is a big place full of interesting people and new ideas. The Bahamas will be brought, kicking and screaming if necessary, into this realm in the near future. We do a huge disservice to our children in holding on to our childish, xenophobic, and self centered ways. The Bahamas will suffer immensely for this adolescent mindset. And, we will have nobody to blame but ourselves. But, we will still blame others, just like we do now.

1

SP 1 week ago

This is MY cesspool, It is what it is, and I acknowledge it! Mulatto Haitian Fred Smith and his people need to man up, accept the cesspool of their birth and go back there and deal with it, not fight to inhabit MY cesspool!

The Bahamas economy is on the brink of collapse due to the level of foreigners repatriating income, building economies of other countries.

Fred Mitchell is as much of a useless whacko as Fred Smith.

Foreigners have dominated whole sectors of our blue-collar economy which employed the majority of low skilled individuals. What is to become of these people disenfranchised Bahamians in their own country?

We need exponentially more xenophobia before more Bahamians find themselves mere spectators while others from elsewhere reap the benefits of decades of blood, sweat, and tears building this country!

I dare Y-O-U to identify developing countries that have benefited in the WTO participant "realm".

1

Porcupine 1 week ago

SP, I agree on the WTO issue. You are absolutely right. However, your reasoning on why The Bahamas is verging on a failed state is entirely off the mark. Bahamians have done a stellar job of totally fucking up the slightest example of good governance. It is embarrassing to the point of obvious. Bahamians made the laws that govern this country. Bahamians enforce the laws of this country. Judging by the way people drive in Nassau, you would be hard pressed to convince me that foreigners are the reason for this totally messed up state of affairs. The way people behave on the streets of Nassau seems indicative of the general appreciation for the law by the majority of the citizenry. We can educate ourselves, train ourselves and join the rest of the evolving world, OR we can continue to blame foreigners for all OUR problems. The choice is yours.

0

John 1 week ago

They should have taken Fred Smith straight to Sandilands or a police detention. Everyone knows a visitor, attorney or not, is not allowed to take pictures in a high security area. If you do it in the US customs lounge you can be detained and/or denied entry into the United States. You cannot be a law abiding citizen by breaking the laws of the country or getting into tassels with law enforcement officers. Fred Smith seems to have come from a family of trouble makers.

1

Porcupine 1 week ago

Many Bahamians go each Saturday or Sunday, well dressed, to worship a trouble maker who was crucified. Just as we do here. John, by continuing to side with the "owners" you further enslave yourself, whether you know it or not. The trouble makers who came before you are the ones to thank for your freedoms today. You are playing the part of the masses, unthinking, one of the herd.

1

hrysippus 1 week ago

Immigration officers out of control, ... ....... Acting like they've got no soul, . ....... Fred Smith is on the side of right, . ........ While bullying officers use their might. ... ....... To stop the QC from seeing his client, ... ........ Within the law he is compliant...... ............. Those officers should be charged and jailed, .. ..... As legally they've completely failed.

1

Porcupine 1 week ago

A breath of fresh air. But, the poets are first on the list of undesirables. hrysippus, the challenge will be to stay engaged, while so much of the world stays willingly blind, vision-less.

0

Dawes 1 week ago

People are allowing their hatred of foreigners to show too much. If you truly are a Bahamian Nationalist then you would want the laws of our country followed. Fred Smith may act crazy, but he knows the law and will have done what he did in accordance with the laws of this country. If the Government wants to be able to have the detention centre act the way it does, then change the law so it can. Until then make sure it adheres the to laws of this country.

1

Gotoutintime 1 week ago

One of many reasons that I, with great sadness, left the Bahamas many years ago!

0

DonAnthony 1 week ago

The dept of Immigration is a rogue dept. onto itself. It seems miraculously to operate outside the laws of the Bahamas. I think it is more out of ignorance more than maliciousness, my limited experience with them makes me wonder if these officers have undergone any training at all, perhaps not even graduated from high school. What are the minimum academic standards for these officers, have they been educated as to the constitutional rights of Bahamians? It really is pathetic and dangerous to give such power to a mass of apparently extremely ignorant people.

I ask the Tribune to interview minister Symonette and put him on record regarding the basic rights of Bahamians and all persons regarding their interactions with this rogue department. It is unacceptable in a modern, supposedly civil and democratic society. How hard would it have been to have at least one intelligent, educated, competent supervisor address this situation in a civil and constitutional manner?

1

CatIslandBoy 1 week ago

The overall ignorance of the Bahamas screams ever so loudly every day. The racist, xenophobic, and just plain silly rantings underlie the failure of our educational system. I really believe that we should be declared a failed state by the UN and be returned to Britain - except they probably wouldn't want us. Heaven help us!

1

hrysippus 1 week ago

Britain definitely does not want us, they dislike foreigners as much as we do!

0

thomas 1 week ago

We have a constitution but if we are expected to change it to accommodate everyone's wishes then what is the point of having one. He always states Bahamian-born knowing that it does not equate to being Bahamian.

0

Cas0072 1 week ago

@Porcupine You raise a valid concern about national self esteem. I mean where are the cries for justice and the outlandish attention tactics when average Bahamians complain of the same issues? These issues have become the norm because people only want to advocate for justice when foreigners are in some way involved. The outspoken QC is a part of the problem. If justice and human rights were a priority, the occasional foreigner would not get trapped in the ineptness of it all.

0

Cas0072 1 week ago

I believe the images of the outspoken QC leaning into the immigration officers as if being dragged will serve his smear tactics perfectly. The immigration dog bites little girl story did not pan out as attempt, but this will do I guess.

0

John 1 week ago

The Haitian situation is a sad one. From time as a little boy to witness the Immigration come around Snr round them up and put them on a bus and take them away to be shipped back to Haiti. Or even to come home from school and find out your neighbor or some friends ‘get catchi’ And you will most likely not see them anymore. But from then to now an even greater situation has been created where many thousands of persons with Haitian parentage and illegal status were born and bred in this country. And like many Blacks in America, these persons find themselves as persons without a status and evens personas non grata. The only difference is black persons in America are being illegally denied of their rights while Haitian descendants here are being denied their rights or at least the opportunity to become legal. And to even close to the experience is to travel to a foreign country and have your passport, cash and all other forms of identification stolen. Instantly you become a nobody, except to be a burden and a problem to someone or some agency. And for the most part they hope you would hurry up and disappear. But you manage to get in contact with the right authorities and they get you some form or temporary identification and a travel document and you get home. And even before the wheels of the aircraft touch down in the Bahamas you feel like a human being. Citizenship and civility, at least in your life has bee restored. But from many of Haitian decent in this country that day of being a citizen and feeling like a human being never comes. Even death comes first. And so many died angry, depressed. Disenfranchised and by fact belonging to no country. And with this going on for almost a century it is time it comes to an end.

1

My2cents 6 days, 17 hours ago

@John so how does it come to an end? Should the Bahamas just accept whomever comes into borders even though it's unsustainable? Even though it will negatively impact the lives of the least fortunate Bahamians?

Where does personal responsibility come into play once the illegal immigrants make it to the Bahamas? They are not forced into having kids and there is a process to follow if they do. We need to stop making illegal immigrants out to be imbeciles who are incapable of managing their reproductive processes and following the law. These kids are born without concern for their wellbeing in hopes mom/dad can get status or at least sympathy. It's reckless and selfish behaviors like this that should never be rewarded.

1

DaGoobs 5 days, 5 hours ago

Yeah, we'll go dig up Pindling and Adderley and the British who gave them hope under the Constitution where it says that if they are born here to non-Bahamian parents then they have the right to apply for Bahamian citizenship. Not the right to Bahamian citizenship but the right to apply. No, instead we give the constitutional right to Bahamian citizenship to persons born here to non-Bahamians who are here legally under a work permit or residency permit. Neither of these is satisfactory but they are all born here with the desire to become Bahamians, the former because this is possibly much better than where they came from or the only country of resort that they can lay claim to, and the latter because they can always come here if things don't work out in the other country or countries where they have citizenship or we need them to make up some nondescript sports team or sports event for which we don't have enough or any competitors. The bottom line is that all of the Bahamians of today all started out as foreigners in this country, the descendants of ex-slaves from Africa and the descendants of ex-plantation owners, merchants and others from Europe, Asia and America. The "original" Bahamian in the form of the Lucayans, the Arawaks and the Caribs who Columbus and others met here in 1492 have probably all disappeared by now to be replaced by the descendants of "foreigners".

0

Sign in to comment