By SYANN THOMPSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
OPERATION Sovereign Bahamas protested outside of the Haitian Embassy on Shirley Street Friday, demanding their officials cooperate with The Bahamas government in dealing with their citizens.
Founder of Operation Sovereign Bahamas, Adrian Francis and scores of supporters of the organisation marched in front of the Haitian Embassy as they delivered a letter to that office demanding that they cooperate with government and also outlined issues concerning their illegal nationals in The Bahamas.
“We delivered a letter to the Haitian Embassy today, that letter spoke directly to some of the things that has been happening here in our country, some of the churches that have been harbouring illegal and undocumented migrants. What we’ve done today is we’ve sent a message to the Haitian Embassy that we are going to need you guys to cooperate with the government of The Bahamas and the people of The Bahamas and that enough is enough,” said Mr Francis.
Francis accused the Haitian Embassy of not having the decency to contribute to the Hurricane Dorian efforts especially with their citizens being affected. He also argued that as issues with illegal immigrants becomes pressing not enough is being done to address these matters. “We have to punch the nation where it hurts the most and obviously our government refuses to respond to some of the things that concern Bahamian people. The Haitian government is not doing anything to respond to Hurricane Dorian, not even a dollar and they’re just taking, taking from us. 60 million dollars in remittances leave this country every year, Haiti raises 2.3 billion dollars from remittances and 60 million comes from us, 25 percent of the Bahamian population is from Haiti. We are disappointed with the response of the government,” he said.
The group held placards that read, “Haitians get free land in The Bahamas, our people cannot afford land”, and “Applications for citizenship should only be made by legals”. In November, Operation Sovereign Bahamas protested in front of the Kendal GL Isaacs gymnasium demanding that illegal migrants leave.
While storm victims will be allowed to stay at the gymnasium over the holidays, Francis says that The Bahamas has had its fair share of enduring the illegal immigration problem. The former talk show host believes that cleaning up the immigration issue can assist in making The Bahamas a better place for the diaspora to return to. “We have done our share, we are flying two flags in our country. We need right now for the Bahamian people to know that they have to enjoy their country. Our mandate is very simple to create a Bahamas that Bahamians will begin to enjoy and a nation where the diaspora can return home to. We have to create a nation where Bahamians can begin to enjoy and one where those who are scattered abroad can come back to. The Bahamians; they’re not enjoying our country, there are people who are going to school and not even coming back,” said Francis.
When contacted, officials of the Haitian Embassy confirmed that they received the letter, but have not yet read its contents.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, Haitian immigrants complained about their treatment that made international news placing the spotlight on The Bahamas which also prompted the United Nations to respond. Meanwhile, the government has already conducted several repatriations of hundreds of illegal immigrants in the last two months.