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Minnis 'Did Not Refuse Aid'

Damage in Haiti after the recent earthquake. (AP)

Damage in Haiti after the recent earthquake. (AP)

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

PRESS Secretary Anthony Newbold has again defended Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis' response to the Haitian earthquake, yesterday categorically denying the nation's leader had expressed a refusal to send aid.

Mr Newbold yesterday read out the direct words used by Dr Minnis during an interview with reporters on October 8 outside of Government House, insisting that at no point did the prime minister express an intent not to help Haiti.

Mr Newbold hit out at the Nassau Guardian's reporting on the matter in particular and called that initial report "a misleading story," one which he asserted resulted in a "firestorm of controversy".

He said this led to intense criticism by talk show hosts, members of the Official Opposition and the Bahamas Christian Council.

Moreover, Mr Newbold said the report forced Dr Minnis to call Haitian President Jovenel Moise to apologise on behalf of his office and The Bahamas, for the pronouncements made in the article.

The article read: "The government is not now considering giving aid to Haiti following another earthquake, which left at least a dozen dead and around 200 injured, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis suggested yesterday, stating that his focus is on putting Bahamians first."

It continued: "'When asked if he intends to give aid to Haiti similar to the help offered to Dominica after Hurricane Maria last year,' Minnis told reporters outside of Government House, 'At this point in time, I am looking at moving The Bahamas forward. Bahamas first.'"

"Minnis said he has heard reports of the earthquake compromising a Haitian prison and is concerned that hardened criminals might be headed toward The Bahamas."

Addressing the article yesterday, Mr Newbold said: "Now, for God sake I say someone, anyone, here or outside this room; I want you to tell me where did the prime minister say that he is not sending any aid to Haiti.

"What you heard was the prime minister of The Bahamas doing his first duty, which is trying to ensure that his citizens is safe," he added.

Last week, Mr Newbold in his initial defence of Dr Minnis, said the prime minister had to ultimately ensure Bahamians are not "adversely impacted" by these events, particularly as it relates to the possibility of an increase in illegal immigration.

Reflecting on that position yesterday, Mr Newbold admitted he was someone caught off guard by the line of questions he faced in response to the article.

He claimed while he did see the article, he dismissed it as a non-story because he was able to decipher what was being implied and what was actually said.

"I said the prime minister made no such statement, so I couldn't understand why anyone would jump to such a conclusion. And so, I dismissed it," he told reporters.

"Nevertheless, some people did and as a result the prime minister ended up having to call President Moise, with who he has a personal relationship, as does Mrs Minnis and the wife of President Moise, to reassure the president that he had made no such statement and would always be willing to help in any way that he could and the Bahamas could," he added.

Mr Newbold continued: "So let me say, a little more forcefully than I said last week, the prime minister never said that he would not give aid nor assistance to Haiti. Never did he say that.

"Now, if someone thought - that not was their business to get in people's head - but the prime minister never said those words.

"For the record, there is a protocol involved in the way that assistance is provided among the CARICOM countries, of which The Bahamas is a part.

"...As is usually the case, if it is requested, The Bahamas will participate; as we have. We've had assistance given to us through CEDEMA and CARILEC, and we have participated in providing assistance as well."

In the days that following Dr Minnis' comments on October 8 and subsequent media reports, Rights Bahamas denounced his remarks and accused him of using tragedy in Haiti to encourage fear, xenophobia and ethnic hatred.

Comments

TalRussell 3 weeks, 5 days ago

91,409 red voting comrades from 10 May 2017 walking around with purple inked thumbs ....does have their own reaction to how the prime minister have shown all them when he's caught in act not being selective with what he's saying he never said such a thing as was carried in real time by many "fake" media sources. Only difference between a Trump's tall tales is, orange haired Trump says what he has says right out his own mouth - not out mouth some PMO "Acee." Urgently so, let's hope Her Excellency Marguerite does writes all this on pages her royal notebook.

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TheMadHatter 3 weeks, 5 days ago

"He said this led to intense criticism by talk show hosts, members of the Official Opposition and the Bahamas Christian Council."

So now we know who the Pro-Haitian take-over players are. 3 groups listed.

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ThisIsOurs 3 weeks, 4 days ago

I wonder what the Haitian PM would be left to think if he'd reached out to Minnis for aid and Minnis said "at point in time, I am looking at moving The Bahamas forward. Bahamas first.'"

Nobody here is deaf or dumb. We and the world know exactly what Minnis, who believes he can fashion himself like Trump and win, meant. He even does the don't believe your lyin eyes bit. Everyday he proves Loretta and Key as prophets, "you can't trust a word he says"

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licks2 3 weeks, 3 days ago

As an adult professional I know when people are jealous, nitpicking, hanging on every little thing to find faults. . .usually means they can't find nothing with sense to hold on to. They getting they azzez them cut by a man they called dumb and naive. . .all the most ardent naysayers seem to have lost the skill of objectivity. . .picking "peas" out of shed after picking peas out of shed!! This habit has already made the guardian look like "get doc rag". I have never seen this low jack kind of vendetta in all my days inside or outside of this country!! The blindness for them is that it een doc doing the good things in this government. . .HE HAS A SNAP TEAM. . .ALL HE DOES IS HOLD THE BIG STICK. . .THEY KEEP GETTING SWING BECAUSE THEY ARE SO "BLINDED" BY THEIR "GET DOC AGENDA" THEY DON'T SEE THE REAL PLAYERS IN THIS GAME!! Hahahahahahahahahahaha!!

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