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Arrests Operation ‘Just A Smokescreen’

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

HUMAN rights group Rights Bahamas yesterday castigated the government for its recent raid in shanty town communities just weeks ahead of scheduled evictions.

RB President Stephanie St Fleur said the raids exposed the government’s Shanty Town Action Task Force as a smokescreen for the state’s unrelenting attack on communities of Haitian lineage.

The Shanty Town Action Task Force held a meeting Thursday morning to discuss the impact of Wednesday morning’s raids on its efforts.

One task force member, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said: “We had a brief meeting about that this morning, raising concerns about it. The minister said not to worry about it, just try to clear up the misperception. We know as we going back in these communities today, people think we were part of raid or reporting to those agencies.”

Labour Minister Dion Foulkes, who heads the task force, did not return calls for comment up to press time.

In an interview with The Tribune, Ms St Fleur reiterated her organisation’s charge that shanty town raids are conducted illegally and violate human rights.

“It is illegal to raid people’s homes and demand they produce documents,” Ms St Fleur said.

“It is illegal to detain and deport them based on their failure to produce documents. There is a proper, legal procedure for immigration enforcement and the government continues to violate it.

“(The good faith) the task force and its representatives have sought to build with residents of Haitian communities has been severely undermined by the continued illegal raids. It is a case of smiling in people’s face while stabbing them in the back.”

Described as an “island-wide” sweep, Wednesday’s joint-raid by police with the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and the Immigration Department resulted in the arrest of 35 people for various offences.

Outside Parliament later that day, National Security Minister Marvin Dames resisted the operation’s characterisation as a shanty  town raid as he reiterated the government’s desire to increase the presence of law enforcement agencies.

According to a police press statement, ‘Operation Twilight’ targeted “prolific offenders, wanted suspects and other persons associated with criminal activities.”

Shanty town residents in New Providence who do not have occupancy certificates for their structures have been ordered to relocate by August 10. The Minnis administration plans to bulldoze the illegal structures built on Crown land, which were leased for farming.

Yesterday, Ms St Fleur continued: “RB wants them to apply the law and stop making things up. If they have an issue with a particular home, or questions about land ownership in a particular case, the relevant authorities should follow the correct procedures in that individual case.

“This wholesale sweeping approach where they just evict everybody and bulldoze all homes is nonsense,” she said.

“It’s like arresting everybody in Bain Town because one or two are criminals. The wholesale approach is illegal. All law enforcement must be about particular, individual cases, not generally attacking a group of people because of what one or two may have done.”

Comments

joeblow 1 year, 1 month ago

The clenched fist, that's all you need to know about this group!

I hope Ms St Fleur knows it is also illegal to build without a building permit!

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TheMadHatter 1 year, 1 month ago

I think the reason she gave is the very same reason those Irish sailors have not yet been driven off Pelican Cay in the Exumas. Their huge yacht crashed on the rocks there in Feb of 2017 and they just staying there. Two of the women have given birth since then - and the parents say the children will apply for citizenship when they turn 18.

I spoke to a PLP MP before election, and two FNM MPs since election - but they say there is nothing they can do because any move against the sailors would be viewed as racism because everyone on the Cay is Irish except for the one Bahamian lighthouse keeper.

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hrysippus 1 year, 1 month ago

So MadHater, I understand why you call yourself the first part of your handle but the second part puzzles me. Mr. L. Carroll perhaps? Irish on Pelican Cay? A lighthouse keeper? Racism in the Bahamas? Are you living in Wonderland?

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licks2 1 year, 1 month ago

You are making as little sense as lawyer Smith right now. . .THE WORLD MARITIME PROTOCOL FOR SHIPWRECK AFTERMATH JUST DON'T ADD UP!! I suggest that you do and check your facts. . .or stop ya lies. . .

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licks2 1 year, 1 month ago

I am afraid that I could not find your Pelican Cay in Exuma any place!! Now there is one in the Abacos. . .a private island. . .with nobody on it!! I don't think that's the island you are talking about since there is no light house there either!! Pleas help us and give some direction to your Pelican Cay.. . please!

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PastorTroy 1 year, 1 month ago

'RIGHTS BAHAMAS' Is just a smokescreen for the parasitic invasion of illegal immigration in The Bahamas.

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bogart 1 year, 1 month ago

I hears you MadHatter....an in da case of da PLP MP an da two FNM MPs......an da reasoning of not seeing dat Bahamian laws are not enforced cause of racism is not good enough......seein you mentions Exuma..da now electdd MP Cooper an authorities needin to do dere jobs......an protect sovereign Bahamas....no question whatsoever bout protectin and enforcing laws over sovereign Bahamian territory .....mind you dere are laws coming up to recall MP if dey aints doing dere stuff...whichin needs to be accompanied wid campaign finance rules.?

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bogart 1 year, 1 month ago

On da issue of shanty town houses??....buildings???...it must be fact dat dey is built on lands whichin deys aint owns....ILLEGAL...dey is also unquestionably built without rules an Building Code regulations....DANGER....DANGER....DANGER.............. FACT OF THE MATTER.....DESE ILLEGALLY CONSTRUCTED STRUCTURES.....ARE A .DEATH TRAP....TO ITS.....1.OCCUPANTS...AND OTHERS....plenty built of 3/8 plywood on no ankored foundation....cheapest materials..discarded asnestos roofs???...maccivered electrical woring...hurricane clips??...no plate to bolt rafters on....hold ups roof ....liist goes on.....dropcords joi ed not insulated in rain.......2.ALL WHO RESIDE IN SIMILAR STRUCTURES ADJOINING...when stricture collaspe or fire dey gone too...3....NEXT DOOR AS WITHIN COMPOUND....debrid blocking narrow escape route...4..NEIGHBOURING LEGALLY PLANMED AN APPROVED SUBDIVISIONS.....fires spreading...embers blowing on dere roof yard....hurricane breeze blowing shantytown structures landing all over da place....5...DANGER TO OTHER AREAS MILES APART WHERE UNDERGROUND WATER SUPPLY SHARED EXTRACTED BY PUMPS AN NOT CHLORINATED....poop from oudside toilets built without concrece casements to separate waste ....plus no honey truck can enter to pump overflowing fecal matter.....6...DA ENTIRE NATIONAL EMMERGENCY RESPONSE TEAM....errery body gon requre to check for massive dense populated shanty...7...DA ENTIRE MEDICAL SYSTEM..errybody gan have to attend shanty disasyer epidemice..unsanitory areas...illegals wid diseases may not seek PMH....helpsexpented to be worser than building code areas.....8...DERE FINANCISL GOVT BUDGETING PREPLANNED AN ALLOCATED FER NATIONAL GROWTH...shanty disasters hav to have resources diverted from odder areas.9....DEFRAUDING BUSINESS LICENCING FEES....illegal shops operating dere..10...SANCTUARY FER CRIMINALS........da list can goes on.....foreign unregulated colony...economy...language...culture...same complaints shanty residents themselves affected by gettkng into regular communities..

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birdiestrachan 1 year, 1 month ago

They have raided other arrears. What make shanty Towns different??. In fact I was under the impression that the police were afraid to go into shanty Towns, Maybe I was wrong..

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bogart 1 year, 1 month ago

...... MAKE DA BAHAMAS BETTER AGAIN ..,!!!..reclaim all we territory.

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TheMadHatter 1 year, 1 month ago

hrysippus.....very funny dropping one T. :-)

Amazing how some of you relish the destruction of our land. Why do you want to turn the Bahamas into Haiti? Haiti already exists...go there to live by your beloved standards.

Between Haitians and the Queen, i dont know which controls more of our land.

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licks2 1 year, 1 month ago

It is called the rule of law. . .SOMETHING THE WHOLE WORLD LIVES BY. . .if the government is doing something wrong. . .TAKE IT TO COURT. . .OR TO UNHRC. . .OR AMNESTY. . .otherwise. . .we will move forward!!

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licks2 1 year, 1 month ago

I read the input of the Chairman of Rights Bahamas Education Committee who talked about the poor immigration, social reception and treatment of Haitians (legal and illegal) by the Bahamas Government!!

Mr. Darwin Thompson should not even open his mouth about how a government treats the Haitian diaspora. . . He is from the Dominican Republic. . .not a Bahamian by birth. . .his mother married a Bahamian when he was a child. . .the Bahamian government took him in, educated and allowed him to remain here until he himself married a Bahamian which allowed him to stay here!! If he want to save Haitian from some horrible government to them. . .he should go fight his own government about the hundreds of thousands of Haitian born in DR who were "chased" out and had to run into Haiti for their lives. The difference between our two nations is that were treat illegal Haitians with humane dignity. . .the DR cut their heads off or cut them in quarters. . .or chase them back across the border at the point of the gun or cutlass!! So I would tell Mr. Thompson. . .son go look at ya own country first. . .save Haitians from yall peoples dem in the DR!

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