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Jack Thompson Reassigned To Ministry Of Foreign Affairs Months After Transfer

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

AFTER being transferred to the Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture a little less than a month ago, Permanent Secretary Jack Thompson was again reassigned, this time to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Darren Henfield confirmed this as he rejected speculation Permanent Secretary Rhoda Jackson had reportedly been moved from his ministry because of her handling of a situation involving the Haitian Embassy.

Statement

A local website had alleged her transfer out of the ministry came because of a strongly worded statement released in response to a Haitian official's interference in Bahamian domestic matters when he made certain statements to ZNS, which were also published in The Tribune.

Mr Henfield said: "Firstly the prime minister and the Cabinet Office the secretary to Cabinet are responsible for the movement of permanent secretaries.

"I can say to you emphatically that that it is nonsense (the claims she was removed because of the statement) because the PS acted upon my instructions as the minister of foreign affairs when she summoned the Haitian emissary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, so it's complete nonsense.

"I can in fact tell you that PS Jackson has been moved and PS Jack Thompson is now in my ministry."

Regarding the meeting between government officials and those from the Haitian Embassy last week, he said: "As you all know I instructed my ministry to command the presence of the Haitian emissary to explain his assertions made concerning land in shanty towns to Haitian migrants who may occupy those areas.

"Firstly not only Haitians live in shanty towns so there must be consideration for all if the government had to enter into such an undertaking, which it is not.

"The first meeting he (First Assistant Secretary Karl Henri Chatelier) was not there.

"The first meeting the chargé d'affaires came and spoke to the issue when he was told that interference in Bahamian domestic affairs is not the common practise among diplomats in this country.

"For us it was intolerable. On the second occasion the message was reiterated and reemphasised but I think we all went away appreciating that what was done would not occur again," Mr Henfield said.

Renovations

Speaking to a reporter about the government's plans to evict shanty town residents on August 10, Mr Chatelier suggested the options of renovations that will bring shanty town residences up to building codes, leasing the land to current residents, and extending the eviction deadline.

Last week, Mr Henfield said the government was not aware of the Haitian diplomat's suggestions until reading the comments in The Tribune. At the time, he said it was "unusual" for diplomats to "inject" themselves into domestic policy.

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