ENGLERSTON MP Glenys Hanna Martin.
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
ENGLERSTON MP Glenys Hanna Martin is concerned about rising tensions between Bahamians and Haitians following Hurricane Dorian, saying yesterday the government’s commentary on immigration matters has done nothing to ease the tensions.
Her statement came as police launched an investigation into an act of vandalism against the New Village Pub, a restaurant and sporting lounge on Balfour Avenue. The outside glass of the restaurant building was broken as if an object was thrown through it and graffiti was written in large letters on the outside walls that read: “You hate Haitians, we hate you 2 (sic).”
In recent weeks, the Minnis administration has escalated its rhetoric about the need for undocumented immigrants and those who lost their jobs in the storm to leave the country.
Officials have also said migrant storm victims do not have any protection from deportation.
Across social media, many have expressed negative sentiments concerning Haitians, particularly those displaced by the storm.
Mrs Hanna Martin said: “There is a video circulating on social media which purports to depict an act of vandalism accompanied by graffiti which speaks to hatred between the Bahamian and Haitian communities in this country. The building apparently vandalised is in the Englerston constituency. We must await the police report in this matter to ascertain reported facts. I am very concerned, however, at recent commentary on social media, much of going viral which signal growing tensions which appear to be taking on a momentum.
“The commentary from government officials have not helped to calm the tensions or encourage rational dialogue. In these official statements government has yet to articulate an immigration policy which the country expected after its extensive surveys in the shanty towns of Abaco more than a year ago involving several government ministers and its then findings of significant numbers of illegal immigrants in those communities. Its recent ad hoc comments about people in the hurricane shelters is confusing. As this atmosphere appears to be escalating to the detriment of us all, I call upon the Christian community, the Haitian Bahamian community and the government to step forward and immediately take leadership in diffusing what is seeming to be a serious atmosphere with potentially dangerous consequences. We must focus on the fact that our country is in a debilitated state where many have died and much has been lost. It has been a tragic catastrophe. This is not the time to fuel fear or hatred.”