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FNM leader defends attendance at Haitian flag day event

Dr Hubert Minnis

Dr Hubert Minnis

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

FNM leader Dr Hubert Minnis yesterday said anyone who has a problem with his decision to attend the weekend’s Haitian Flag Day festivities has a “serious problem”.

His comments came after Democratic National Alliance (DNA) leader Branville McCartney and other Bahamians criticised his appearance and Prime Minister Perry Christie’s comments at the event, saying the two party leaders were “pandering” to Haitians. 

Reacting to this yesterday, Dr Minnis said: “Bahamians were celebrating. They, the Haitian Bahamians and I call them Bahamians, had a right to be where they were and I had a right to visit them and a right to visit anybody in this country.

“I’m a leader in this country and a Bahamian,” he said.

“I’m entitled to go wherever I choose. That’s democracy. So when McCartney or others say I should not go here or I should not go there, I say to him and the entire Bahamas, as a Bahamian I am entitled to go wherever I choose.

Dr Minnis said: “I voted for democracy and I fight for democracy.”

He told The Tribune that he was invited to attend the event.

“Those not regularised are entitled to be regularised,” he said.

Over the weekend, Mr Christie told a crowd at the Botanical Gardens area that he “hopes he is alive to see” another Haitian person elected to the House of Assembly, the first being Stephen Dillet.

The tone of Mr Christie and Dr Minnis is a marked contrast to the tension the government created in 2014 with a new round of immigration restrictions that was widely believed to be an attempt to clampdown on illegal immigration from Haiti.

One of the policies, which came into force on November 1st 2014, required that every non-Bahamian living in the country have a passport of their nationality with proof of their status to live and work in the country.

The policy led to a round of highly publicized raids that drew international attention.

In 2014, Dr Minnis said he stood “shoulder to shoulder” with the government over its policy, including immigration roundups.

Comments

John 8 years, 2 months ago

When I was in college in the US, we as a group of Bahamian students, celebrated every Bahamian holiday. We got the grouper and the conch and the peas and rice. Kalik was not around then but we made Bahamian drinks and eventually our parties became so big and so popular that other foreign students wanted to join. We formed the International students Association. The Goombay is still celebrated in Coconut Grove, Florida and many Bahamian events in Europe and Canada. If the Haitians want to celebrate their day here with flags, and national leaders are invited it should not be an issue.

Well_mudda_take_sic 8 years, 2 months ago

Agree. After all the day is soon coming when only the Haitian flag will fly over the Bahamas!

viewersmatters 8 years, 2 months ago

how many times in the past have any government ever attended flag day event and made public speeches at the Flag day?

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