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Editorial: Nasty Little Protests Need To Be Controlled

WE suppose it was only a matter of time before the real ugly face of racism showed itself on our streets.

ON Saturday night as Hurricane Dorian evacuees settled in to another night at the crammed Kendal G.L. Isaacs Gymnasium, outside gathered a small group to voice their true feelings to the world.

Their message to the mostly Haitian-origin families inside was simple - go back to Haiti.

What a wonderful, brotherly Christian attitude to show to people who have lost literally everything.

“No more citizenship; no more work permit,” was one of their chants.

Hold on a minute. Are they demanding citizenship be granted where people are eligible, that they be rejected simply because they or their parents or grandparents came from Haiti?

Similarly, no more work permits? Why should a Haitian be cut off from following due process and securing permission to be employed here?

The argument that this new “advocacy group” - Operation Sovereign Alliance - is protesting simply to have a gymnasium returned to the general public simply doesn’t wash. They want these people gone. For ever. And the door shut as firmly as possible on any other Haitians reaching our shores.

This is the underlying mantra for many “true Bahamians”. Since the FNM was elected in 2017 the government has been stoking this fire.

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis set the fuse burning with his “Get out by Christmas” declaration. Then came court battles for individuals and families, fights to stop shanty towns being demolished, planes being filled to take people “home”.

Then Dorian and the Haitian-Bahamians - legal or otherwise - were thrown at the government’s mercy.

There was a few weeks amnesty as thousands were moved to New Providence, Eleuthera and elsewhere – then slowly the expulsions began.

Not quick enough, it seems, for Adrian Francis and his OSB pals.

The real danger with nasty little protests like this is their contamination spreads.

Imagine in a few weeks or months time the 200 or so who are now in Kendal Isaacs are still there.

Doubtless some anti-Haitians are going to feel they are not being listened to, that the evacuees are exploiting our hospitality. Their frustration may turn to anger.

Then what does a Saturday-night protest become. A bit of chanting, a bit of drink thrown in and it’s not too hard to imagine impatience becomes violence.

Attorney General Carl Bethel on Sunday recognised that demonstrations like Saturday’s have no place here, saying it was not “advisable for people to demonstrate against common humanity”.

“People were are in distress because of a natural disaster are deserving of the attention of the state as they are in distress,” he said.

Welcome words which we wished could have played a bigger role in the post-Dorian world with regards to how we have been treating Haitian evacuees.

Acting Prime Minister Peter Turnquest also tried to calm tempers yesterday insisting those with a legitimate right to be here will be protected. Those who are here illegally should leave. We have no problem with this so long as due process is followed in all cases.

This was the danger from the minute Dorian moved away. Many of those who had documents will have lost them and will immediately have feared what was going to happen to them when they come up against the Immigration Department. Would they be believed or simply judged to have been living here illegally and sent for deportation.

There’s a dark, worrying flip side to all this.

Haiti is in a truly desperate position. No working government, no economy, rampant violence – a place none of us would dare to live.

If protests like OSB continue, possibly with violence; if deportations continue; with the PM declaring ‘no Haitians in my domes’; with a huge fence going up around the Mudd to stop rebuilding and to keep people out –- will our Haitian brothers simply sit there and do nothing?

The bishops were steaming under their collars recently at the idea of a gay pride march through the streets of Nassau. Imagine the response if the Haitian community stood up and said ‘What about us? This isn’t fair?

What do you think would happen then? Worry isn’t it - for everyone.

Daniella’s new chapter

Please take time to read today’s Face to Face with young mother Daniella Forbes.

For those who lived through Dorian in Abaco and Grand Bahama hers will be a familiar story. For hours she clung on to her children and her husband, neighbours next to them as the building they were in was literally torn apart.

All they could do was pray, harder than they prayed for anything in their lives.

When the storm passed they emerged to a scene of utter devastation, bodies all around, their lives seemingly changed for ever.

Today though Daniella and her family are writing a new chapter. They are heading back to Marsh Harbour to pick up their lives in the church.

In the midst of the tempest Daniella accepted she may die but swore to devote her life to God if she and her family made it through.

Today she’s keeping that promise and all of us here at The Tribune wish her and her family the very best for what hopefully is an untroubled future.

Comments

ohdrap4 3 weeks, 4 days ago

"CONTROLLED" is a poor choice of words. As the writers of the editorial could use a little "CONTROLLING" as well, given that some of theit views are likewise on the fringe.

The protesters were barking at the wrong trre, and should direct their protest to an entity that could speak to it.

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Porcupine 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Racism, hate, ignorance. Call it what you like. Is a result of lack of education, thinking, caring. Science, makes abundantly clear that there is no basis, none, for racism. So, it is not as if our poor educational "system" is not coming back to haunt us. The educational system, it must be said is not only our school system. It is what is seen and heard at home, in the office, from our "leaders". I maintain that we have failed on all accounts to make ourselves decent, civilized people. Yes, we see it going on all over. Does this make it right?

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TheMadHatter 3 weeks, 4 days ago

It's not lack of education - it's our concern as Bahamians for lack of land for our children to build homes. You guys are turning all of our vacant land into shanty towns for Haitians. Would you support a Treaty between the Bahamas and Haiti that states that for every acre of land occupied by Haitians in the Bahamas, that Bahamians are entitled to that same amount of acreage in Haiti?

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Chucky 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Racism is targeting someone or group due to their race, Haitians are members of the same race, so we can be sure this isn’t racist.

We can objectively consider these actions as driven by nationalism, often these tactics are referred to as xenophobic in nature.

Xenophobia, well that runs very deep in our society, sanctioned by most of the political elite. All but a few Bahamians have strong xenophobic views, the nation is proud of this! So you’re preaching to the wrong choir with this article.

You might address the logic, or lack thereof , as we are a nation of such lousy people, that xenophobia doesn’t make sense, as anyone who comes from anywhere will most surely be an improvement over our own homegrown excrement we call “real Bahamian”.

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proudloudandfnm 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Damn dude...

lololol….

Don't mince words now, tell us what you really think....

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Cas0072 3 weeks, 4 days ago

They are exercising their constitutional right to freedom of speech and the right to assemble. The Bahamas will remain behind because even those who purport to be exposed and fair minded, who also happen to be the so called leaders and the prominent class, prefer to shut down the rights and opinions of others rather than acknowledge that they have that right. That is the real reason the gender referendum failed. Far too many "educated" people showed that they were incapable of intelligently presenting their views or exercising their powers of persuasion, so they lashed out like idiots at anyone who did not agree with them.

It is interesting too that when the outspoken QC degrades ALL Bahamians in the most outlandish terms, while showing much insensitivity to real victims of concentration camps and ethnic cleansing, he is commended for his harshness and his disgusting tirades are excused simply as freedom of speech. In the US and elsewhere, where freedom of speech is respected, even those considered to be hate groups have the right to express themselves and they do so peaceably. This small group of Bahamians also conducted a peaceful protest. People opposed to the message of any group have the right to oppose in the same fashion.

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momoyama 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Very balanced and intelligent comment. Especially your pointing out how differently our "intelligentsia" treats Fred Smith's disgusting, contemptuous and yes, RACIST comments (caught on tape labeling "black Bahamians" as xenophobes). He is treated like some kind of patron saint of free speech. But when poor, marginal and, yes, perhaps misguided people cry out it is condemned by our intelligentsia. Shame on them.

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Dawes 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Unfortunately it will get worse. This Government is the same as all others, when things look bad for them they will bring out one of the three bogey men. Those being immigrants (Haitians in particular), sissies and the white man. It helps as too many of us Bahamians are easily swayed by them making it seem as these 3 groups are the problem, rather then the Government (be it FNM or PLP) who have contributed to nearly all our social ills over the last 40 years. But as long as we fall for it they won't change and will continue on their corrupt ways until we collapse.

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TalRussell 3 weeks, 4 days ago

When government lights its own kind fire, this had be the long expected kinds flame ups to follow!
Where was newspaper's editorial supposed blind and deaf at since they had know that it would be only just a matter of time before the real on and off ugly face of government's harsh and rough treatment of comrade Haitians - regardless how long living or even born here - would make its way to our colony's street corners and jibs, yes, no ....

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birdiestrachan 3 weeks, 4 days ago

Dear Editor in all your brilliance, you must admit that it becomes disheartening that

when 100 illegals are deported 58 who were unable to sneak in come

Rights Bahamas is a Haitian organization. It is a never ending circle. the illegals keep on coming. does the Editor with the bleeding heart. and a Christian with out sin say what is the solution,

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My2centz 3 weeks, 4 days ago

The Bahamas is supposed to be a democratic nation, meaning people are free, not controlled. So why should a group of peaceful individuals exercising their democratic and constitutional right be controlled? Haitians, including illegal ones, freely express their views and anger toward the PM and any situation they find undesirable. I've never seen a politician or editorial trying to control their animosity. I think a more fitting editorial would condemn public authorities and public platforms that denounce people who embracd democracy. This is more concerning than anything.

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mandela 3 weeks, 3 days ago

When the foreigner staying in the gym recorded the video inside the gym and then sent the video all over the world to the UN, to this rights group, to that rights group complaining about this wrong and that's wrong, they don't have space allocated for sex, and this and that, all while getting 3 meals a day, a roof over their heads and bed to lay on and bath facility. They, the ungrateful foreigner who sent out the video got exactly what they were looking for. Why should OSB and friends and like-minded persons allow you Mr. Foreigner to talk negatively about the Bahamas and we sit down and say yes Mr. Foreigner, you're right Mr. Foreigner we will try and serve you better Mr. Foreigner? I don't think so. Pure Bahamians who were affected by Hurricane Dorian they are not sending videos to this rights group and that rights group, no, we ain't laying down and playing dead so that you can live off us and then slowly turn the Bahamas into a shantytown.

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