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Shame - Fnm Boss' 'Dirty' Illegals Slur

By Rashad Rolle

WITH debate over illegal immigration raging in the country, Free National Movement (FNM) Chairman Carl Culmer drew criticism yesterday for saying in a press statement the properties of illegal immigrants in Over-the-Hill communities are “dirty” and “shoddy” and  their presence in the country has “added to the unsanitary conditions” in those communities.

His statement, which suggested Bahamians in Over-the-Hill communities keep their properties cleaner than illegal immigrants do, drew rebuke from activists yesterday. 

The remarks came in a press release praising the Minnis administration’s agenda for Over-the-Hill communities.

Mr Culmer wrote: “In addition to the massive unemployment, the lack of indoor plumbing, the heavy criminality and less than acceptable housing infrastructure in these areas, one of the major difficulties (Over-the-Hill areas) have had to endure is the infiltration into these communities of a significant number of illegal immigrants. Moreover, the presence of the many illegals have added to the unsanitary conditions in these communities.”

“Bain Town has had a history which its residents are extremely proud of, having produced many political, educational, business and religious leaders that have played a vital role in the development of this country. Its residents have always gone to great lengths to keep their properties clean, have looked out for each other, and maintained cohesiveness within their neighbourhoods. These characteristics are practically non-existent today. The properties where the illegals reside are dirty, the houses shoddy and the streets littered.”

Stephanie Saint Fleur, an activist born of Haitian migrants, said Mr Culmer’s comments are divisive and counterproductive. The FNM chairman did not specifically reference Haitian migrants in his press release. 

“Haitians are a clean people,” she said. “I would remind him that at one point our parents cleaned their yards, kept their homes, took care of their children and to date we still have a lot of Haitian people doing this. Not only are Haitian people clean, a lot of Bahamians who have homes depend on us to keep their homes clean and they respect the fact that we are a clean people. In these so called areas where he says Haitians are keeping the areas unsanitised, has he ever done any work to go into the communities to see that there are Haitians and Bahamians that are living in such communities?

“It also breaks my heart, this name blaming.” she said. “I expect for leaders to advocate for unity. That’s what makes a good leader. Why are our leaders singling out just the Haitians? Why are they doing this? Come on man. We are children of Haitians. I’m a Bahamian born of migrant parents and the Bahamas is my home. I would never put myself in a position to have anyone talk bad about Bahamians or Haitians. Our leaders need to stop this because they’re creating the divisions in our society. Haitians are a clean people. Haitians are hard working.”

Attorney and human rights activist Fred Smith, QC, said the governing party is contradicting itself over the issue of immigration.

“I regret that the various voices speaking on behalf of the FNM in regard to immigration are sometimes dissonant and contradictory,” Mr Smith told The Tribune. “I speak as a human being first, a Christian second and a lawyer third. In the Bahamas, we continue to treat immigrants and thousands of citizens-in-waiting worse than the most hardened suspects of murder, rape, armed robbery, kidnapping, drug-dealing and possession of guns. We have to start practicing in the Bahamas the Christianity that we preach.”

Mr Culmer’s remarks, viewed as offensive by some, come nearly two months after Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis visited the Haitian Metropolitan Church of the Nazarene and made a clear appeal to people in the Haitian community, including those in the country illegally but who are eligible for legal status of some kind.

Dr Minnis told congregants of the church: “We all share a common dignity and there is no room in our hearts and minds for prejudice or discrimination... We must be fair and just towards those who have contributed in so many ways to our Bahamas. This means that we must be fairer in terms of our immigration practices and policies.”

That church visit came not long after Dr Minnis announced a December 31 deadline for all illegal immigrants to leave the country or get legal status, or face an aggressive pursuit and deportation.

The issue of illegal immigration has long been a hot-button topic and it has been dominating headlines in recent weeks. Two sloops have landed illegally near the Royal Bahamas Defence Force’s base in less than a month. The first boat was discovered empty and despite increased immigration sweeps, officials said they did not find any migrant believed to be on that vessel. On Monday, nearly 60 Haitian migrants were apprehended after a vessel landed in the Clifton Pier area. 

Comments

HonestTruth 1 month ago

What Culmer said is true though.....

The shanty towns are disgusting at first glance and should all be torn down.

Slow day at the office tribune? If a person then states that is deplorable that the Bahamian masses are uneducated, I presume that would also make headlines, however our D grad point average reconfirms that the average Bahamian is not well educated.

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sheeprunner12 1 month ago

Anyone ever saw a photo or a video of Port-au-Prince or Kingston??????? ............ The only places of Earth that are dirtier than those two is Calcutta, India.

That is why we must get rid of the 40,000 illegal immigrants and the 40 shanty towns in Nassau and clean up Abaco, Harbour Island, Exuma and The Rocks ........ Dirty Haitians.

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jamaicaproud 1 month ago

Yuh see this peesa carelessness? What this bwoy knows about Kingston? Have you ever been there? Keep your slander to yourself. Deal with your incompetent and corrupt army that allows sloops to park on their base and leave us out of your mixup.

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joeblow 1 month ago

Bet you never had life so good!

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jamaicaproud 1 month ago

I don't live in 242, never have, never would want to. Have had the opportunity to visit, I declined. By God's grace, my life has been great ever since I was born in lovely Jamaica.

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bogart 1 month ago

Jamaica proud you been meddling in Bahamian politics spitting on Bahamians. Face it there are few clean cities.Get a life and stop meddling like isis or Osama in other nations business or Bahamian politics. The rest of Jamaicans are proper decent respected citizens who leave other sovereign nations to run their politics and business of the people.

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jamaicaproud 1 month ago

LOL I cant vote in Bahamas so I have never made any political statement. I have made statements about Human rights and due process, which is a right I have as a world citizen. Even if there was one Haitian in your country you would still be tripping. Hate, Hate, Hate.

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ThisIsOurs 1 month ago

That's not exactly true. No one is complaining about Cubans, DR residents, Indians, czechoslovakians or other Soviet block residents and they are all here. People are complaining about theHaitian population because we have a massive illegal immigration problem eminating from Haiti, that's it. Do you have some Bahamians who conflate the issue with insensitivity and hate, yes, and they tend to be the loudest voices. But Bahamians as a whole are very concerned about the burden on our economy of an illegal population that seems to have no end in sight. We cannot support them,nothing to do with xenophobia, it's just fact, we have zero growth and we're on the precipice of a downgrade to junk status. I fully support a change to the constitution that removes any "ambiguity" about automatic citizenship for children of illegal immigrants. We cannot support it.

I have been to Kingston but that was ages ago, I honestly can't recall if it was clean or dirty. What I do remember is loving the island as a whole, all of the other Caribbean island are very beautiful , hilly, lush vegetation, beautiful water, different Eco system to the Bahamas which has its own brand of beauty.

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jamaicaproud 1 month ago

Respect. Sir, I respect you. I do understand. I know how it must feel to be inundated. The issue here is not of Kingston is dirty or clean, we are ok. The issue is that stop blaming the Haitians and blame your government for not being able to Police your borders. How can a old wooden boat roll into an island without warning? Obviously Jamaica does not have the issues you have with many boats, but it has happened, and they have been intercepted, housed "not incarcerated", cleaned up, fed and repatriated.

However there is a massive guns for drugs trade between Haiti and Jamaica, because they use small fishing boats. My only thing is yes, protect your country. All of us island people are like that. However there seems to be an edge when Bahamians do it, seems to go from protection to almost abhorrence, that is all I am saying.

Maybe you guys should stop issuing any permits for some years while everything is cleared, up. Also the shanty town thing. Jamaica has such a problem, "captured land". I am against that mess. So your Government must find a way to deal with it.

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ThisIsOurs 1 month ago

Agree, each government seems reluctant to do anything, I don't know if there are external pressures they are bowing to or whether they don't want to upset a voter base. But the solution seems clear to me. Sensible policy to regularized those here, options of residency and work permits.

As to stopping the boats, I don't think the defence will ever be able to do it with their resources, I'm actually not surprised that they miss boats, all it takes is coordination with someone inland, possibly within the defence force itself. I do not believe they will be able to sustain the expense of a drone program long term if the economy doesn't grow by leaps and bounds. I think what can work is apartnership with a trained civilian surveillance force, no engagement, just surveillance

And yes, some Bahamians have a thing against anyone with an accent. Haitians seem to get the brunt of it. I believe it's because a large part of the workforce is not highly skilled so Haitians are seen as competition for the low skilled jobs, I could be wrong but that's my belief. I had a conversation with my father who told me how much the "white" man helped him to get the things he has today, I told him it was most likely because they didn't see you as competition. When the black man see you, all he see is he have to get it before you.

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Cas0072 1 month ago

These so called activists are so lost. Anything that does not support illegal immigration and the poor helpless Haitians rhetoric is taken as fighting words. They are offended by the truth. Instead of calling dirty clean, they should actively try to relocate people from these squalid shanty towns for their own health, everyone else's, and to properly assimilate them into the wider community. One reason it is so hard to believe they simply want a better life is due to the fact that they recreate the very same conditions from Haiti in these shanty towns, and many stay there even after they are legalized and working legitimate jobs.

December 31st should have been the deadline to knock down every one of those illegal Haitian towns. We know nothing else is happening on that date. Once they have to pay the real cost of living, many would probably leave voluntarily.

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joeblow 1 month ago

Haiti does not send us their best! The majority are poorly educated, unacquainted with personal hygeine and lack the humility of Haitians 30 yrs ago. They have nothing to offer this country.

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sheeprunner12 1 month ago

That is the Bahamian dilemma .......... We export our educated students who do not return after college graduation ........ and inherit the dirt poor and unskilled West Indians and others who are a social burden ...... #8BillionDebt

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ThisIsOurs 1 month ago

I don't know where you get this "unskilled West Indian" thing from, I know quite a few West Indians inclusive of Haitians and they tend to be extremely bright...well at least the ones I know, yuh know everywhere gat every kind a people. A family "friend" recently passed, he was in his 80's. I was super impressed by his recall of everything, world history, Bahamian history, biology, social sciences etc, he seemed to know everything. He was a teacher, don't know what his profession was before he migrated here.

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birdiestrachan 1 month ago

They can say what ever makes them feel good, But the truth is there should be no shanty Towns in the Bahamas. It is against the laws of the Bahamas. one can rest assured there are no Shanty Towns where Fred Smith lives. But I Guess Smith feels it is all right for other Bahamians.

As for cleaning other people's property. was it free or did the people pay?

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TorontoGal 1 month ago

When I lived in Nassau 30 years ago we had a Haitian gardener whom we paid every day that he came by. Many times he brought bananas, sours, guavas etc and we paid for them as well. I never asked where the produce came from and he never said.

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