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‘Missing’ Detainee Was Flown To Haiti

Jean Rony Jean-Charles' family’s lawyer Fred Smith, QC, outside the Detention Centre on Tuesday. Mr Smith is asking the Department of Immigration for proof of the repatriation. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff

Jean Rony Jean-Charles' family’s lawyer Fred Smith, QC, outside the Detention Centre on Tuesday. Mr Smith is asking the Department of Immigration for proof of the repatriation. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff

photo

Jean Rony Jean-Charles

By SANCHESKA DORSETT

Tribune Staff Reporter

sdorsett@tribunemedia.net

A 35-year-old man detained by Immigration and who has not contacted his family for nearly three weeks has been flown to Haiti, Director of Immigration William Pratt said yesterday.

In an interview with The Tribune, Mr Pratt said Jean Rony Jean-Charles was sent to Port au Prince, Haiti on November 24 after not being able to prove he was in the country legally.

However, representatives from the Haitian Embassy told The Tribune they have no record of Mr Jean-Charles being repatriated.

When contacted Kerl Chatelier, First Secretary of the Haitian Embassy, said when the Immigration Department is sending suspected illegal immigrants back to Haiti his embassy is notified of the individuals involved. 

“In the case of Jean Rony Jean–Charles we don’t know anything about him. His name is not on the list,” said Mr Chatelier.

When questioned about the discrepancy, Mr Pratt said he was “unsure” and can only say he was “told the man was repatriated.”

On Tuesday, the family of Mr Jean-Charles said they were unsure whether he was “alive or dead” or was “illegally deported” after allegedly not being allowed to speak to him or visit him in nearly three weeks.

In an emotional interview, Clotilda Jean-Charles, 36, told The Tribune that she only wants to know what happened to her brother but no one at the Detention Centre or the Department of Immigration will give her answers.

Ms Jean-Charles said her brother, who she said was born and raised in the Bahamas to Haitian parents, was taken into custody by immigration officers during a raid on September 15.

“He was repatriated on November 24 to Haiti and the family should have known that. I am here at the headquarters on Hawkins Hill so I do not know why when they went to visit him they were not told he was sent to Haiti,” Mr Pratt said Wednesday.

“I do not know who they spoke with, so I really don’t know why there were not told. He was here illegally and could not prove that he was here legally so he was sent home. We have discrepancies about the proof he attempted to provide but we will reserve that for the courts because his lawyer is apparently taking this to the Supreme Court. They can come and provide us with additional proof and we will allow him back in the country but if we were satisfied that he should have been here he would not have been repatriated.”

Despite an admission from Mr Pratt the Mr Jean-Charles was repatriated, the family’s lawyer Fred Smith, QC, said he believes “something happened” to Mr Jean- Charles while he was at the Detention Centre. 

He is asking the Department of Immigration for proof of the repatriation.

“I spoke with Mr Pratt and he told me Jean-Charles was deported,” Mr Smith said. “I asked to see a deportation order. He said there was not one and that he had not been deported and that he had been repatriated. He did not tell me where but I assume to Haiti, given that Jean-Charles’ mother was from Haiti.

“I am asking for confirmation of what has happened to my client, copies of all relevant papers relating to his arrest, detention and eventual removal from the Bahamas if in fact that has occurred, confirmation of where he was sent to and confirmation that he was provided with financial means.  

“In the meantime, not having any official word as to his whereabouts, I am filing a motion on my client’s behalf in respect of his right to counsel. My client was born in the Bahamas and has never travelled abroad. His family are extremely worried about him. If he has indeed been removed to Haiti, he knows nobody there and he has no means.

“Further, if, as the Department of Immigration told me that he was removed on November 24, 2017, his family are even more anxious and worried, as they have not heard from him. He has not called, he has not left any messages and he has disappeared.

“The information provided is even more troubling to the family, as the family has been constantly attempting since September to secure Mr Jean Charles’ release and in doing so have produced various papers at the immigration building at Hawkins Hill. At no time were they told that JC was to be removed from the Bahamas.”

On Monday, Mr Smith was physically removed from the Detention Centre after he was blocked from seeing Mr Jean-Charles.

In an interview after the incident, Mr Smith said he went to the Detention Centre at 10am to see his client. 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, and after refusing, he was forcibly removed.

Yesterday, Mr Pratt admitted that an appointment is not needed to see anyone at the Detention Centre as long as the visitor shows up during visiting hours.

Comments

Dawes 5 days, 9 hours ago

Whatever your feelings on immigration this is a very worrying story. How can no one seem to know what has happened to this person. Even if he was deported surely immigration would have to go through the correct channels and have evidence to show this was the case. Government needs to very quickly clean up this mess in a transparent manner and then ensure it never happens again. This does not make the Bahamas look good. We should always follow the law of the land no matter what.

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jamaicaproud 5 days, 9 hours ago

People ask why I comment. 1. I can, but 2. You guys need to learn from my own country. If you support the abuse of a set of people based on whatever criteria, one day the goals posts will change, your Police and Army will be all powerful, and your sons and daughters will be stopped at random for whatever reason.

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Sickened 5 days, 8 hours ago

Too right! Minnis - you had better get a grip on this soon before we start marching and demanding better.

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My2cents 5 days, 7 hours ago

@Jamaicaproud of course we need to know what happened to this man and how it happened asap. So that it can never happen again. And of course comment, but please base your comments in reality and not your grandiose misperception of your country and people.

However, your suggestion that we can learn anything from Jamaica is extremely laughable, especially when it comes to human rights abuses. Even the way you treat returned deportees (your own people)to Jamaica is absolutely dispicable. If we wanted to know which is the "best" bleaching cream on the market we'll ask. But please stop your pretentiousness as if we don't know what the real Jamaica is about.

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jamaicaproud 5 days, 7 hours ago

Every society has its outliers and that we accept. Take a trip to my country you may or may not like it. But at least try. You are welcome. If were to read news reports I would assume the Bahamas is a low lying pseudo paradise with a lot of haters. I am sure it is not so. Therefore you should not base your assumptions of my country on news reports only.

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My2cents 5 days, 7 hours ago

What are you doing but making condescending assumptions that Jamaica/Jamaicans are progressive, peace loving thinkers based on news reports while Bahamians are not. The LGBT community, Jamaican deportees and UNHRC would disagree with you.

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yari 5 days, 9 hours ago

“I am asking for confirmation of what has happened to my client, copies of all relevant papers relating to his arrest, detention and eventual removal from the Bahamas if in fact that has occurred, confirmation of where he was sent to and confirmation that he was provided with financial means." Everything there seems reasonable except for providing him with financial means. If the Bahamas provided every deportee with financial means we would go under.

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DaGoobs 5 days, 4 hours ago

"Confirmation that he was provided with financial means" refers to proof that Bahamas Immigration actually bought him a ticket or made some payment for the detainee to go to Haiti, not that they gave him free spending money

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birdiestrachan 5 days, 9 hours ago

I do not buy the Haitian story that they know no one in Haiti and have never visited Haiti. Who didthey know in the Bahamas when they came to the Bahamas illegally? Fred Smith is a dramaKing he loves the lime light and attention. When he was asked did this man apply for citizen ship. He said he did not know. that is strange indeed he should know. They know exactly where This man is.. it is all a big show for people who do not know any better.

If there is the claim that Haitians are treated so badly in the Bahamas why do they continue to comefor bad treatment?? the 250 just vanished into thin air. I was on a plane with a Haitian woman. she held a cell phone in her hand all the time. to contact her people I suppose, she could not speak English** they are smarter than many Bahamians.

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John 5 days, 9 hours ago

birdiestrachan: "

they are smarter than many Bahamians" "

." Why do you take every opportunity to bash Bahamians? If the situation was not such an unfortunate and distressful situation for the family,one would suggest maybe immigration needs to send you off to a strange land for a while, just so you can appreciate Bahamians and this country more

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birdiestrachan 5 days, 9 hours ago

No way I am all for the Bahamas and Bahamians. I only meant to say some are very slick and some Bahamians fall for it. note John. sorry if I came across the wrong way.

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stillwaters 5 days, 9 hours ago

Bottom line- Haitians have overpopulated their country. They are spilling over into our country and are we soon to look like this too?

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jamaicaproud 5 days, 7 hours ago

Crowds like this are good for merchants. Looks like NYC and London at Christmas.

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TheMadHatter 5 days, 9 hours ago

I was told by someone "in the know" that the Bahamas historically used to be a part of Haiti.

We were the northern Haitian territories. Some "uppity" Bahamians, back in the day, chased many of them out and also engaged in a breeding war having many children. I do remember growing up hearing about my grandmother and great grandmother and others in the communities in those days having many children

So what has been happening over the past 4 decades is simply Haitians reclaiming what is rightfully theirs. Those who know history and understand the law are aware of this...i was told...such as police officers - for example - and that is the reason why the cars driving around with Haitian flags (contrary to the flag law) are never booked and fined. The officers have likely been told that such a fine would be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court which after the facts came out would rule in the driver's favour. Additionally this would open a can of worms whereby our true sovereignty would be revealed and the Bahamian flag would be ordered to be lowered at Government House.

The maintenance of this secret has consumed much time and resources. But i was told the truth will be revealed after the arrests begin in January. These are terrible times for so-called true true Bahamians

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OldFort2012 5 days, 8 hours ago

Actually the Bahamas was historically part of the sea bottom.

And thanks to global warming we will return to our motherland very soon. Then we can stop bothering the world with all this nonsense.

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sealice 5 days, 8 hours ago

if you sell the stuff you smokin you ga be rich bro!!

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licks2 5 days, 7 hours ago

I suggest that you do read the history of the Haitian people from 1492 to revolution of 1798 to 1805. . .the forward to history of the Bahamas!

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stillwaters 5 days, 9 hours ago

Madhatter is the correct name for you!!!!!!!

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jusscool 5 days, 8 hours ago

Prime example of some government workers in government offices not doing their jobs. No reason why every person repatriated from this country doesn't have the proper paperwork stating this. Person or persons are slipping and needs to be weeded out!. When this kind of thing happens,it makes the entire country look bad. Fixit please.

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TheMadHatter 5 days, 8 hours ago

Not only that, but the idea of jailing repeat offenders cannot be done if we dont know they were here before. Digital fingerprint scanners like the US immigration have at the airport?

Wonder how many tons of aragonite one of those would cost (at the going rate of $2 per ton)?

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John 5 days, 8 hours ago

The Mad Hatter:

I was told by someone "in the know" that the Bahamas historically used to be a part of Haiti.

well looks like all the clowns are coming out of the woodwork today. Never in History has it been recorded that Haiti was ever a part of the Bahamas of vice versa. Yes the two countries have long and deep historical ties as Haiti was one of the first free countries in the Caribbean post slavery. It managed to build a strong and independent economy and attempted to buy its independence from France. However as was always done with black people France 'swing' Haiti. After it made the agreement with Haiti it also made all the other countries of the free world to NOT trade with Haiti else face the consequences. So Haiti became a nation unto itself and its economy collapsed. It continues to be among the poorest countries in the world today.

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licks2 5 days, 7 hours ago

Haitian history from 1492. . .1798 show Haiti as Spanish. . .French. . .with the backing of then British in 1798 L'ouventure and Dessilne pushed from the French side into SPANISH SIDE (DR) AND WAS PUSHED BACK BY FRENCH/SPANISH COALITION and a counter push-back that ended at the current border with DR and HAITI. . .FRENCH ARRESTED L'OUVETURE IN 1799-05 WHERE DESSILINE DECLARED HIMSELF EMPEROR FOR LIFE. . .INVADED BY USA IN 1915 TO 1947 WHEN A BAHAMIAN "PAPA DOC" TOOK OVER. . . THE CLOSEST THE BAHAMAS CAME TO BE CONNECTED WITH HAITI IS WHEN THE BRITISH WAS OVER THERE TRYING TO TAKE IF FROM THE FRENCH. . .

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DDK 5 days, 6 hours ago

They sure took bloody revenge on the French. That island's history of violent uprisings and instability is the reason Haiti continues to be one of the poorest countries in the southern hemisphere. Foreign investors seem not to want to chance a repeat of the island's savage history. The Bahamian politicians who seem so fond of jumping on planes and touring the world would better spend their time making trips to Haiti and giving workshops to its government on the tourism industry. Convince the WTO, EU and China that Haiti is the best place to create a thriving tourist destination. Then Bahamians can go south for work.

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My2cents 5 days, 8 hours ago

There's three sides to this story. Not's let make any assumptions about what happened and how it happened.

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TalRussell 5 days, 7 hours ago

Comrades! There is solid evidence of 'Papa Doc; Duvalier having been born on island Inagua in the Bahamaland.

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banker 4 days, 22 hours ago

And Pindling was a Yardie, but not a real Yardie. He was a Haitian Yardie named Pendelaine. And quite light on the loafers too.

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stillwaters 5 days, 7 hours ago

If they let a Bahamian take over their country, that's their business. Ain't gonna happen the other way around.

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jamaicaproud 5 days, 4 hours ago

HaHa, you guys have had 2 Haitian Prime Ministers so far.

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John 5 days, 4 hours ago

Haiti is not poor. It’s just an unfair distribution of wealth. When it was discovered that Haiti has oil deposits similar to those in the Bahamas, the US sent 20,000 troops to that nation. More than 5 times the number it sent after Haiti suffered from the last earthquake. And while The Bahamas may never have been a part of Haiti as a nation, Haitians have always been a part of the Bahamas. Yet we scorn them. And ignorance many thousands of Bahamians sat idle while thousands of less skilled and qualified Chinese came from all the way on the other side of the world to do the .work. The diaspora continues

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DaGoobs 5 days, 3 hours ago

So where is my Mr Jean-Charles: in the morgue? (we know they does beat these detainees as the Cuban video demonstrated; BTW still waiting on the formal report on that one)?; at the Detention Centre (please note British spelling) (we know Immigration does lose some of the people put into their "care")?; in Haiti? (if he was sent there then there should be proof of it somewhere - ticket; passenger list?); escaped but Immigration too embarrassed to say? (we know these detainees does escape and get away into the bush, either through the front gate or under the fence). A whole human being cannot just disappear and no one in Government services can say where he is. If he was "repatriated" on 24th November as Immigration would have us believe, then who else went with him on the plane, how many of them and show us proof that Immigration either paid for a ticket or chartered a plane to go to Haiti with him onboard? If he was not named in the list of detainees sent to Haiti on 24th November, is it possible that he went under a different name and if so, what name? The Haitian Embassy has a list of persons presumably repatriated on 24th November but Mr Jean-Charles' name is not on that list. Barring a mistake in the names, then it means that he is, for all intents and purposes, still in the Bahamas. He can't be in 2 places at the same time.

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TalRussell 5 days, 3 hours ago

Comrades, the illegal problem only compounds itself when the Haitian government could care less about the welfare of their own nationals living in the Bahamaland illegally. They are looked upon as no more than thousands ATM machines for the Haitian Public Treasury. Why hasn't the red shirts cabinet not closed the window on remitting funds from the Bahamaland to Haiti? As long as that remittance door remains open, it's like the red shirts cabinet are in bed with the Haitian government and the illegals. And, the remittance issue does not only apply to Haitian nationals. Foreign nationals of all kinds can send money out the country, easier than citizens can.

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banker 4 days, 22 hours ago

Because the majority of remittances go through two establishments owned by Bahamians. One on Fredrick Street and other one is run by a Pindling who used to be near the British Colonial Hilton -- the poof scion.

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jamaicaproud 4 days, 22 hours ago

Banker. Respect, I don't support no illegals(though your definition may be different than mine). But as a financier can you explain that every society where they got rid of outsiders en masse and in a hurry, anyone contributing to the GDP, the economy of those societies collapsed.

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banker 4 days, 13 hours ago

Respect to you. You sound an awful like a Jamaican that I know that used to share fry barracuda with me when the Jamaicans come to play cricket under da fort. I actually have a different view of illegals. We are all human capital of some sort, and those that try a different place have gumption -- something a lot of other people don't have. They are risk-takers. That means they are goal oriented, generally hard workers, and have the cognitive abilities to weigh risk/reward and keep the eyes on da prize. It is those people that you want as human capital in nation-building. The unwashed see them as foreign scum. I een fit as a Jeezus beater, but I am a lot more christian than those psalm-singing donkeys here. If we are all god's chirren, then deys one of us. Folks gats to stick together to advance.

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My2cents 5 days, 3 hours ago

@John I don't agree that we scorn Haitians. There are too many generational Bahamian families of Haitian descent that are considered Bahamian in every way, by everyone. Even their surnames are now considered Bahamian.

The difference between them and the Haitians of today are they contributed and did not set up illegal camps to insulate themselves from Bahamian society while expecting to use every "free" resource available. Not to mention their numbers are to a point that the Bahamas cannot sustain. IF they are scorned...this is why.

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sheeprunner12 5 days, 2 hours ago

Where would the Bahamas be without the West Indian migrants????? This is the point that jamaicaproud is making ........ it is - what it is.

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jamaicaproud 5 days, 1 hour ago

Hey sheeprunner. Yes and no. I DO respect your sovereingty and the right to make laws. I am against illegal immigrant and shanty towns and all that mess. My only concern is it seems your constitution was written by men who did not want to allow the Bahamian woman to be with any other men, thus making the acquisition of citizenship a moving goal post. In a global world this was always going to be a problem. Forgive me, but this has made our dear friends very protective and maybe obsessed and keeping the place authentically Bahamian. That is good, every country does it, but not by legislation. The people who migrate to your lovely isles are working 2 jobs etc. And do not have time to listen to talk shows or read newspaper comments. Thusnsome advance while locals complain. Fact is even though pay may be low foreigners will take these low wage jobs and then work their way to somehow being permanent. The only way to prev3nt that is for your people to stop rejecting m3nial jobs if they are unemployed. This will dry up the market for outsiders.

On the flip side if there is need to import labour legitimately, these people must be made to feel welcome. Those who must be deported, so be it, but you must admit that you guys have many islands so it has to be hard for the Coast guard to cover so much ground. I must say I am appalled at some of the pictures of these Shanty towns. Surely if people migrate it must be for better, they need to fix their surroundings.

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My2cents 5 days, 1 hour ago

@sheeprunner12 If that's your takeaway from his/her condescending comments, I cannot argue with your interpretation. I disagree with his/her assessment of Jamaica as a utopian paradise we should emulate, and I pointed out their shortcomings as he/she did for Bahamas. I don't live under a rock, so I am not unaware of the reality of Jamaica. Nowhere is perfect.

I am not discounting the contributions of legal migrants...my comment said as much when I highlighted the differences. Are you saying illegals contribute as much? That's debatable, because all signs point to them benefitting far more than they give or provide in savings to the wealthy and well off few. I look forward to the day when the Bahamas has the infrastructure or development plans, to support and attract educated, progressive individuals.

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jamaicaproud 4 days, 22 hours ago

Anyway, I wish you guys a merry Christmas, I am taking a break. I can see 2cents loves to twist reality. I did nothing about Utopia. I simply said regardless of our struggles yet we strive. Your obsession with(illegals) which is !n accident of birth will give you high blood pressure. I have did nothing to denigrate your country, I have simply reiterated that a law that does not guarantee the child of a citizen citizenship is sheer folly, in a world where people travel and intermingle. I have said nothing in support of children of illegal immigrants getting citizenship, though that is standard in Western Nations.

As for your assertion that I said we are paradise, I will simply say that per capita income does not necessarily transfer into standard of living. I also don't care who comes and goes, What I know is history has not been kind to those who relish mistreatment of others.

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MonkeeDoo 4 days, 22 hours ago

Immigration is the Bahamas Ton Ton Macout ! If he can disappear then we all could disappear !!

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banker 4 days, 22 hours ago

True dat. Dangerous. Almost as dangerous as going for square grouper with Pedro.

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My2cents 4 days, 10 hours ago

@Jamaicaproud, i have no obsession about illegals. I'm commenting on a topical issue, same as you. Your comments on the backwardness of Bahamas vs. Jamaica said a lot about your grasp on reality. And your unrealistic view of Jamaica as a country that should be emulated. I never argued about the entitlement of citizenship with you. However, Jamaica is one of the few countries in the West that provides automatic citizenship. Having a massive population that outpaces resources and opportunities is not the direction I want the Bahamas to pursue. We only have to look at countries like Jamaica and Haiti to know that this is why people flee.

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sheeprunner12 4 days, 6 hours ago

There are more Jamaicans living outside of Jamaica than what lives on the island .............. What does that tell you about Jamaica???????? ...... same as Haiti, Cuba, etc. ...... The Bahamas is the direct opposite (We love to stay at home).

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hrysippus 4 days, 8 hours ago

One of the things that all honest men should fear, ......... ....... Is when those seized by government disappear. .................... ..... If they don't know, just where they gone,.. ... ........ It certainly means that something's wrong. . .... ......... There can be no legitimate excuse,... .. ........... For this blatant human rights abuse. .......... .... .......... Bring those in charge before a court,.. .. ........ What rights we got were gained hard fought.... ................. Abuse of government power is a slippery slope,... ...................... That leads to a place of little hope. ..... .................... Economic collapse will follow on, . .................... When the rule of law is seeming gone.

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truetruebahamian 2 days, 13 hours ago

The world needs to practice mandatory birth control and mandatory sterilisation after two offspring - inside marriage or otherwise. There are too many humans. Start with countries like Haiti and all other countries where the homo sapiens population over runs its resources.

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