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Rights Bahamas To File Suit Against Govt Before International Bodies

Attorney Fred Smith.

Attorney Fred Smith.

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

RIGHTS Bahamas president, attorney Fred Smith yesterday pledged his organization would file a suit against the government before two international human rights bodies, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and the United Nations’ Human Rights Commission, over what he characterized as repeated abuses by the Immigration Department.

In a statement to the media following Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hilton’s ruling on the government’s stay application in the high-profile matter of Jean Rony Jean-Charles, Mr Smith became emotional as he explained his motivation for defending human rights.

“I fight for rights in the Bahamas because having been born in Haiti,” he said, “having grown up in Haiti and having experienced human rights abuses there, I’m not going to allow my country, the Bahamas, to become a little Haiti.”

Mr Smith again echoed parallels to fascist practices in Germany against the Jews during Nazi rule before World War II, a repeat metaphor he uses to illustrate the importance of an intervention to what he claims is an escalating abuse of power.

He charged he would do everything in his power to block a similar situation to occur in the Bahamas, or for it to become a militarized dictatorial state as seen in Haiti’s past.

“I’d like to send a message to the government Rights Bahamas is going to take these cases before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations Human Rights Commission,” he said, “to sue the government internationally on the basis that even though the Supreme Court of the Bahamas has again, and again, and again, and again, and again, in dozens of cases continue to affirm the right of every person to due process in the Bahamas, Immigration continues to simply ignore the constitution, the Criminal Procedure Code, and the Immigration act, and the judgments of the Supreme Court.

Mr Smith continued: “We cannot in the Bahamas allow an organ of government, the Immigration Department, to continue to ride roughshod over everybody’s rights. It’s no longer an Immigration issue. The yellow bus stops you and you and you, all of us, at the bridge on Paradise Island, at every roundabout on the roads.”

Mr Smith maintained his advocacy that persons born in the Bahamas be granted citizenship, barring extreme circumstances like links to terrorism.

“And we should stop arresting people born in the Bahamas, people belong where they are born,” he added.

“How perverse is it that our government should be giving thousands of work permits to Haitians born in Haiti to come and work in the Bahamas, when they are hunting people born in the Bahamas of Haitian descent and expelling them illegally back to Haiti does that make any sense, I say no.”

The Bahamas government was called before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) for a hearing on the impact of its November 2014 policy, and conditions at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre.

The IACHR requested the county adopt precautionary measures to “safeguard the lives and integrity of detainees held at Carmichael Detention Centre, including providing better hygienic conditions, medical treatment for detainees, reducing overcrowding, access to legal assistance, and allowing civil society organizations access to Carmichael to monitor conditions.”

Comments

rawbahamian 7 months, 1 week ago

If Fred Smith was born and raised in Haiti then he is a Haitian by his very own words and should therefore be invited to return to Haiti, HIS homeland and fight for his people's rights amongst them and for them there !!!

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seamphony 7 months, 1 week ago

it's so unfair that F Smith is choosing to drag Bahamas' good name through the mud like that. Bahamas is not perfect but doesn't deserve that.

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TheMadHatter 7 months, 1 week ago

This man appears to have no shame. Doesn't our Minister if Immigration have the power to revoke citizenship? An idea.

He says... “I fight for rights in the Bahamas because having been born in Haiti,” he said, “having grown up in Haiti and having experienced human rights abuses there, I’m not going to allow my country, the Bahamas, to become a little Haiti.”

Does he not realize that his actions are EXACTLY what will cause our country to become a Little Haiti?

The article then mentions some international ruling to ... "safeguard the lives and integrity of detainees held at Carmichael Detention Centre, including providing better hygienic conditions, medical treatment for detainees, reducing overcrowding, access to legal assistance, and allowing civil society organizations access..."

WHY NOT AT FOX HILL????? Too many Bahamians there? Why do we never hear a DAMN WORD from this man about human rights abuses at Fox Hill? Does he shit in a bucket at his house?

Maybe we need a

BAHAMIAN LIVES MATTER

movement in this country - because it seems every life matters except ours.

We're not even allowed to process, package, and export salt in this country. Amazing.

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TheMadHatter 7 months, 1 week ago

He says "...people belong where they are born..."

He also says he was born in Haiti.

Is he smart enough to put 2 and 2 together?

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sheeprunner12 7 months, 1 week ago

Who really belongs to this Rights Bahamas Organization with Red Fred?????? ....... is this a legal entity?? Does he have more than the same GBHR clique supporting him????? ........... Or is this some figment of Kreole Fred's misguided mind?????????

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avidreader 7 months, 1 week ago

In today's Nassau Guardian on- line there is an excellent "Letter to the Editor" dealing with this situation. The writer is seemingly well versed in the area of Constitutional Law and presents a clear statement of the position in immigration matters.

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TalRussell 7 months, 1 week ago

Ma Comrades, what happens after age 19, remains in law uncodified. Common sense says it should carry no weight in law. For it be carved into the Constitution as if were cast in stone -would make the Constitution a dead and not a living document. Long live Bahamaland's Constitution.

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hrysippus 7 months, 1 week ago

The country is very lucky to have such a brave advocate for freedom and Human rights. It takes real integrity to stand up for what is right when so many lesser minds are clamouring "Crucify him, Crucify him". Many of his vocal opponents have never done anything for the poor and meek amongst us. if the Christ child was reborn tomorrow it would probably be in s shanty town. So keep going to you church and feeling self-righteous but just examine yourself to ensure you are not acting as a hypocrite.

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TalRussell 7 months ago

Ma Comrades, some might see this as one with artificial political sincerity - likes can you name an occasion where one the QC's - ever put at great risk their bank account, liberty to practice before the courts or not be imprisoned to fight for the underdog.... some even call for voiding their citizenship status - then be deported to Haiti? {There's no need make stuff up, now is there and believe me there's lot about both QC's I harshly disagree with?}. Freddy was to the PLP and now the Reds - feared, despised and disliked and with such great passion. On flip side a number top performers within the legal profession talk a good case but unlike Freddy - they more often never stick around long enough see their "broke" clients fight to the end.... Freddy is not a hightalier - run for cover. Him means it when he says - as long as you stick truth - I have your legal fight back.

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birdiestrachan 7 months ago

The truth does not reside in the man when he makes a contribution to a political party it is a donation. When others make a contribution it is a bribe. He loves the lime light the Drama King. I am happy the FNM is in power. They will be wise not to sell their souls to the DEVIL. But it may be to late.

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BigSlick 7 months ago

Are you Fred Mitchell?

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