EDITOR, The Tribune.
Growing up, this little catchy phrase “The lunatics are running the asylum” would amply convey the opinion that a business or other enterprise had lost all of its senses and gone crazy.
I think that it goes without saying that intelligence has always been a scarce commodity in our Immigration Department but I think that they have finally and completely lost the plot now. About a month ago, I had occasion to attend the department offices on Hawkins Hill, and drove there on a motor scooter which I conveniently parked in front of the building. The chief of security, a burly man standing in the gatekeepers booth, read out the terms and conditions for entry:
No shorts, no open shoes, no tank tops and no cell phones. (No mention of guns, knives, dynamite or IED’s mind you). My shoes were ok, I had on long trousers, and a business shirt, but what was I going to do with my cell phone? ok, I put it under the scooter seat but couldn’t help thinking what someone else would do if they had made the journey on foot, or jumped off of a Jitney, or got a lift with a friend? I guess they could swallow it!
Today brought another cherished opportunity to visit this department in person, but this time I decided not to be fooled with the phone thing, so I drove my car. Well, well, well, the parking lot which is opposite the Immigration building is now gated off and appropriately signed Parking Reserved For Employees Of Immigration Only. A nice new sign too and the gate and the environs are freshly painted.
I was so proud that we were finally looking after the people that count, those that bring in the money that keeps us all so happy!
Now this Department is under the care and authority of a highly accomplished Cabinet Minister, highly intelligent and a former head of the Bahamas Bar Association no less. So presumably he has sanctioned this move that disenfranchises the very customers who pay large fees to this department. And there is absolutely no other place that one can park a vehicle with four wheels. In fact, along the boundary walls of immigration itself are posted No Parking Signs. And the Department is atop one of the highest hills on New Providence. And God help you if you are disabled, because despite the legal requirement to provide handicap access to any building in the Bahamas, it just wasn’t on the agenda. But why was I surprised? This is the same department that is continually before the Bahamas Courts defending its own Human Rights Abuses over many years. And each time they seem to lose the case and the Bahamian People are fined, sometimes in the millions of dollars.
As Ebenezer Scrooge so eloquently put it in Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol – “I’ll retire to Bedlam” For the uninitiated, “Bedlam” was a nickname for St Mary of Bethlehem Hospital for the Mentally Disturbed in London in Dickens’ time.
March 25, 2021.