Compiled, edited and constructed by Russell Dames... Updated every Sunday at 2 p.m.
Volume 10 © BahamasUncensored.com 2013
|19th May , 2013
Welcome to bahamasuncensored.com
|YEAR IN REVIEW FOR ELIZABETH|
|TRIBUTE TO PERCY FRANCIS||MITCHELL PAYS CALL ON LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN BARBADOS|
|CONSTANZA ADDERLEY MARRIES DON BOURNE|
THE CALL ON THE PRESIDENT: Fred Mitchell, the Foreign Minister, paid a courtesy call on the President of our sister Caricom country Trinidad and Tobago at the presidential office in Port of Spain on Thursday 16th May. Mr. Mitchell was in Port of Spain to attend the Council of Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) meeting of Caricom. See the full report below. The President who was elected last year for a five year termis Anthony Carmona and is a former Judge of the Criminal Court in the Hague and is a former University of the West Indies (UWI) student who lived on Chancellor Hall on the second floor, the same floor and hall as the now High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago Picewell Forbes MP. Mr. Forbes accompanied the Minister on the visit as did Dr. Monica Davis, the Honorary Consul of The Bahamas to Trinidad and Tobago. The photo of the week then is that of the Minister for Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell paying a call on the President of Trinidad and Tobago and the photo shows from left Dr. Davis, the Minister, the President and the High Commissioner.
COMMENT OF THE WEEK
IMMIGRATION FOLLOWS UP
During the past week, the Department of Immigration dispatched its consultant to Freeport to visit each of the establishments in Freeport to ensure that they understand what the present policy of the government is with regard to immigration matters.
Last week, the Minister for Immigration Fred Mitchell held a press conference to announce that there had been an immigration check in Freeport of a business establishment and there were some irregularities. It appears that people were being landed in The Bahamas without work permits actually being issued and the result was that the government’s money was not being collected and people were working on the jobs without the permits. The Minister indicated that there would be steps taken to stop the practice.
The press conference was rather wide ranging and a full report appears below. What is clear though is that companies will have to comply with the rules of immigration and immigration will have to get its act together in terms of the timely issue of work permits.
Many of the issues that come up about immigration are not about policy but rather about process and the minister has pledged that some relief is on the way with regard to relieving the backlog of some seven months from the time someone applies for a work permit until the person gets the work permit. We think that it is scandalous that this happens.
It appears that notwithstanding the howls of discomfort from people like former Chamber head Dionysio D’Aguilar, the companies are getting the point. They have to conform with the new regime of a strict adherence to the rules and the regulations.
The FNM has been unable to assail the policy because their people in Freeport support what the Minister is doing. Their only comment is that it is too aggressive. Some of them on their Facebook pages have been trying to change the conversation by saying that the Minister is doing nothing about shanty towns. Only thing is the Minister for Immigration has no jurisdiction over shanty towns. That is a town planning issue.
In the meantime, employers would be well advised to get their houses in order and not under any circumstances have people working on the jobs without a work permit. If they do not , then the consequences will be serious.
Number of hits for the week ending Saturday 18th May 2013 up to midnight:130,756
Number of hits for the month of May up to Saturday 18th May 2013 up to midnight:315,277
Number of hits for the year 2013 up to Saturday 2013 up to midnight:2,824,159
MITCHELL RESPONDS TO D’AGUILAR
At a press conference at the Foreign Affairs Ministry this past Sunday, Minister Mitchell updated the media on the ongoing work of the
Immigration Department to effect stricter enforcement of existing immigration laws and to expedite the processing of requested services.
On the agenda was an immigration inspection that was carried out at a business premises in Freeport on Friday, 10th May 2013 to ensure the
business was in compliance with all applicable immigration rules. The check was carried out within an hour. Businesses are reminded that
employees who come to The Bahamas from abroad must have permission to live and work in The Bahamas before they land and evidence of that
permission must be within reasonable access to their person at all times.
Mitchell revealed that within the week, a special representative from the Immigration Department would seek to follow up with all businesses
in Freeport to determine whether there is a full understanding and appreciation of the regulations as it applies to immigration.
The Immigration Minister was again adamant that the government would not step back from this stricter enforcement regime regardless of
public criticism coming from some quarters.
“The people who are engaged in this public criticism of this policy are the same suspects who have opposed everything that this government
has done from the time we were in power in 1967 to the present” said Mitchell at a press conference on Sunday at the Ministry’s
headquarters. He went on to say that had the government listened to these voices in this government’s formative years, the country would
not have progressed to this point.
The Minister urged civic leaders to be judicious in their public comments and “instead of trying to nitpick and attack what is a
reasonable and rational policy that they join us in an effort in trying to uplift the Bahamian work force.”
He also revealed that he held discussions with members of the Chamber of Commerce/Employers Confederation last week at the Department of
Immigration and took them into what he called the “bowels” of the Department to make the point that the challenges within immigration
are not policies but rather processing in nature.
“Our computers have had major overhauls within the last week (and) within the coming weeks we will be talking with the private sector on
how we could improve equipment, training and manpower to try and deal with the issues.”
As for manpower, the Minister revealed that the department is wrapping up a recruitment exercise that will bolster the current complement of
231 Immigration Officers.
On the issue of training, Mitchell said that Parliament would conclude debate on legislation to establish the National Training Agency on
Wednesday of this week with a targeted implementation date of June 1st for the national training program.
Here we go again. There was the murder of a US Citizen, a young man who at the bottom of the Paradise Island Bridge on Mackey Street was reportedly trying to stop a robbery and ended up being killed. The attackers are said to have fled to the Okra Hill area. The government must be apoplectic that the police and their saturation patrols just don’t seem to be working. The police have since said they have caught the perpetrators,all four of them. At their arraignment on Friday 17th May, they claimed that they were beaten in police custody. One of the man’s family members told the press that he does not blame The Bahamas for the death. That’s fine as a sentiment but the country is simply horrified that this has happened. Predictably the US government’s representatives in The Bahamas posted a public notice saying in effect that The Bahamas was a dangerous place for Americans to visit. This is not unusual given the litigious nature of the US and the fact that if they don’t issue the appropriate warnings they might be sued by their citizens. Some of it seems a bit excessive but then that’s the U.S. Also predictably, the Bahamians will probably get their noses out of joint because the US has issued this new advisory. Chances are most American people won’t read it and won’t pay attention to it so we don’t think there is a need to worry about it. Much more seriously is a US Senator Bill Nelson is saying that The Bahamas government is involved in some kind of shakedown exercise by charging Americans with bullets in their luggage as they leave. This is complete nonsense but again that’s the U.S. Then too we must also remember that The Bahamas issues its own warnings about the US. For example at Christmas time, Bahamans are warned that they ought to be careful in Miami because they are the target of robbers who single them out for attacks. On reflection it appears that the press of Senator Nelson got the Turks and Caicos Islands mixed up with The Bahamas.
You may click here for the full U.S. warning.
PM ON CONFLICT OF INTEREST
The kings and queens of conflict of interest were at it again in the last session of the House of Assembly when on Wednesday 15th May, they accused the government of conflict of interest. Loretta Butler Turner, the queen of accusations and idle rumblings talked about “ friends, family and PLPs.” This is really a case of the pot calling the kettle black.” The Prime Minister responded to them like this:
You are all intelligent men in the opposition, two of you actually sat in the Cabinet of the Bahamas where you had to make a decision to give people associated with one company over 150 million dollars-worth of work. The question of morality, the question of ethics, the question of choice of judgment. Where are you going to get the moral authority from to come to me and say I am renting a place from somebody’s brother or cousin? This is fair rent, you don’t question the rent but you had many choices and judgment as well? Where do you get this incredible ability from to fix your faces to tell us anything? How do you do it? What are you expecting young people in this country to think?
“You accuse me of making money unlawfully when I was a lawyer and not in government but the FNM Minister of Tourism who had to design the 2,500 acres given to the I group, is their consultant. You want to dirty me up, when you can actually be a minister in an FNM government, make a decision to give somebody 2,500 acres of land and then become their consultant and nothing wrong with that? But there is something wrong with me while I am in opposition? You have got to be joking.”The kings and queens of conflict of interest were at it again in the last session of the House of Assembly when on Wednesday 15th May, they accused the government of conflict of interest. Loretta Butler Turner, the queen of accusations and idle rumblings talked about “ friends, family and PLPs.” This is really a case of the pot calling the kettle black.” The Prime Minister responded to them like this:
“You are all intelligent men in the opposition, two of you actually sat in the Cabinet of the Bahamas where you had to make a decision to give people associated with one company over 150 million dollars-worth of work. The question of morality, the question of ethics, the question of choice of judgment. Where are you going to get the moral authority from to come to me and say I am renting a place from somebody’s brother or cousin? This is fair rent, you don’t question the rent but you had many choices and judgment as well? Where do you get this incredible ability from to fix your faces to tell us anything? How do you do it? What are you expecting young people in this country to think?
MITCHELL IN TRINDAD
Fred Mitchell, the Foreign Minister, travelled this week to Trinidad for the Council of Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) Meeting in that island from 14 to 15th May. That is the meeting of all the Foreign Ministers of Caricom. The meeting the next day on 16th May was that of the Community Council which prepared the agenda for the Heads of Government meeting which takes place in Trinidad on 4th July. The meeting of the Heads of Government of Caricom comes on the 40th anniversary of the Treaty of Chaguramus which created Caricom and was signed on the 4th July 1973. Mr. Mitchell then travels to Doha for a meeting on Middle East Economies before returning home. While in Trinidad he met with the Bahamian students in Port of Spain and with Patrick Manning, the former Prime Minister and he was assisted ably by the Honorary Consul of The Bahamas Dr. Monica Davis. The photos show Mr. Mitchell with the students, with former PM Manning with his wife Hazel at his sister’s home in Port of Spain and with Dr. Davis at the Picaro International Airport in Port of Spain.
CANADIAN MINISTER OF STATE VISITS
The photo shows Fred Mitchell MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs of The Bahamas welcoming Canadian Minister of State Diane Ablonczy,to the Ministry’s headquarters in Nassau. The photo is by Elcott Coleby of the Bahamas Information Services. The statement of the Minister follows:
Statement by Fred Mitchell MP
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Welcoming Canadian Minister of State To The Bahamas
12th May 2013
On behalf of the government and people of The Bahamas, I want to be amongst the first to welcome you formally to The Bahamas. I think that this is a significant visit, and from what I can see of your itinerary it is a work-filled agenda, including stops at the Deputy Prime Minister to discuss matters in Exuma; the Ministry of Foreign Trade and the Ministry of Agriculture.
We are fellow Commonwealth countries and have been working in a spirit of friendly cooperation since The Bahamas attained its independence almost forty years ago. The common themes are democracy, the rule of law, respect for the rights of the individual including the right to privacy and the security of the citizens, their persons and property. We exchanged views on these issues today, particularly in light of the upcoming Heads of Government conference in Sri Lanka in the fall.
In terms of our bi-lateral and regional relations, Canada is a regional player and has been a great investor in The Bahamas and in Bahamians. Bahamian young people buy services from Canada in education mainly. I discussed this matter extensively with the Minister and how we can improve the processes of Bahamian students entering Canada. Canadian visitors buy services in The Bahamas mainly in tourism. The Canadian banks are investors in our country and hire significant numbers of our citizens. Canadian airlines fly into The Bahamas and we have concluded up to the point of signature a Canadian Air Services Agreement which I hope can soon be signed. This agreement will bring relations in this area into the modern era.
I believe that this visit can signal greater opportunities for trade and investment expanding our bi-lateral and regional ties.
I have had a personal history of good relations with Canadian foreign ministers and I am happy therefore to make this acquaintance with you and your team. I hope that you enjoy your visit with us and that you find the meetings productive.
Once again welcome to The Bahamas.
NIB STORY CONTINUES ON THE FRONT PAGES
You will see a point by point rebuttal by the Progressive Liberal Party’s Chairman Bradley Roberts in response to the report by the accounting firm Grant Thornton into the allegations made by Greg Moss of the PLP about the conduct of Algernon Cargill as the Director of National Insurance. The report which is said to have cost nearly one million dollars reviewed a series of peccadilloes alleged of Mr. Cargill while he was Director by Mr. Moss when he was Chair of the National Insurance Board. Mr. Moss has since been relieved of his duties for publicly contradicting the Prime Minister in connection with the NIB investigation but he believes that the report now vindicates him. The report has finally been put in the public domain by being tabled in the House of Assembly on Wednesday 15th May. The release of the report beginning with when it was leaked two weeks ago has led to charge and counter charge between the PLP and the FNM about what the report means. The FNM says it means nothing and that this is a pure political witch hunt. The PLP says it confirms that Mr. Cargill’s behavior was corrupt. Mr. Cargill has reportedly been dismissed and according to the press dismissed for breaching the confidentiality rules of the Board by putting into the public domain the information contained in an affidavit in a law suit he filed against the Board. Mr. Cargill’s lawyer immediately went to court to challenge the report so there is another round of litigation. It appears that the dismissal was summary and so there is likely to be litigation over that as well. The FNM has taken several lines to discredit the report. We have given one already that there was nothing of substance in it. They then questioned the competence of the accountants. John Pinder a former Board member and FNM supporter said that the choice of an accountant should have gone out to tender. There was also the complaint that it was the most expensive witch hunt in the history of the country. They forget of course the witch hunt of the Commission of Inquiry into the Pindling administration which found exactly nothing but on which millions of dollars were spent to seek to discredit the former Prime Minister. It appears that the public is with the PLP on this one. What appears to have sunk the FNM on this was the unsanctioned payment of nearly one million dollars of bonuses to the collective executive committee of the Board under and including Mr. Cargill.
KEN DORSETT IN BVI FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
Hon. Kerned Dorsett represented the Bahamas at the Political and Business Leaders meeting of the Caribbean Challenge Initiative held in the British Virgin Islands this week. The minister made a presentation at the event. You can read what the minister said in its entirety below.
MINISTER KENRED DORSETT’S PRESENTATION
A pleasant Good Morning to all.
Master of Ceremonies, permit me to extend a warm thanks to the Government and people of the British Virgin Islands. I would especially like to thank you Premier, for the courtesies extended to my delegation.
The Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, the Honorable Perry Gladstone Christie, offers his apologies for not being able to participate in this Summit. He however sends his warm greetings and his continuing commitment to this Imitative which we launched together with Grenada in 2008.
I also would like to take this opportunity to thank The Government of Grenada for co-hosting the Summit and to thank the Governments of Puerto Rico and Jamaica for hosting the first and third senior officials meeting, and the Ministerial meeting in San Juan in March.
Sir Richard, We are indeed pleased that you have opened your home to us on Necker Island. This island reminds us of our own Paradise of Islands which are similarly kissed by the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
The Bahamas in a speech given at Rio + 20 described our home and its people’s as;
“inextricably linked to our environment, our shallow blue seas and our way of life. The environment sustains our lives and livelihoods. The environment is the very foundation of our economic activity.” It is
our Government’s recognition of these simple truths, which motivates the Commonwealth of The Bahamas to support the Caribbean Challenge Initiative (CCI) and to work assiduously to bring it into being.
The Bahamas remains committed to continue efforts to partner with all Caribbean governments, Territories, the UN and CARICOM institutions as well as regional financial institutions, and the NGO community to realize the goals of the Caribbean Challenge Initiative.
It is a shared marine heritage that none of us alone can act to protect without involving our neighbors. The Caribbean Sea is our shared marine environment, our common heritage and the gift we pass to generations to come.
The Bahamas is also supportive of initiatives to engage the private sector across the Caribbean. I am particularly pleased to be able to participate in this historic Caribbean Political and Business Leaders Summit, which brings government and corporate entities together in partnership in a way that has never been done before across our region.
The signing of the Leaders Declaration is our indication of not just governments but other key stakeholders interest in and commitment to protecting our shared marine environment, which by in large provides the cultural, social, and economic backbone of our region. It sustains our lives and our economies.
The Caribbean Challenge is an initiative that the Bahamas and Grenada launched in 2008 at the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity (UNCBD) 9th Conference of the Parties meeting in Bonn, Germany.
Minister Dorsett speaking at the CCI Political and Business Leaders Meeting
Today’s Summit represents the launch of the second phase of The Challenge. As such the Government of the Bahamas is proud to take a leadership role once again and to demonstrate our continued commitment to the Caribbean Challenge.
Not only will The Bahamas sign the Leaders Declaration, my Government also plans to complete several other strategic activities that will bring The Bahamas closer to achieving the goal of protecting 20% of its marine environment by 2020, based on the programme of work on protected areas under the Convention on Biological Diversity.
I am pleased to advise that The Government of The Bahamas has approved the finalization of legislation related to the Bahamas Protected Area Fund (BPAF) and it will be presented to Parliament for debate shortly. BPAF is a model piece of legislation developed with wide stakeholder consultation and input as a sustainable finance mechanism to support protected areas management in The Bahamas. The Bahamas is again proud to be one of the first CCI participating countries to advance its protected area fund.
In addition to the establishment of the BPAF, the government of the Bahamas is committed to provide nationally to its sustainable financing. In the 2013-14 fiscal year funds will set aside nationally to capitalize it.
The Government of the Bahamas notes that the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund (CBF) was legally incorporated in late 2012. The CBF is another important sustainable finance mechanism that has been developed to support the goals of the CCI. Along with the Government of the Bahamas’ financial commitment, the CBF will also provide funding to the BPAF.
Since the launch of the CCI in 2008 The Bahamas has declared six additional marine protected areas. While we are proud of the increased protection provided, there are more areas in need of protection. The Government of the Bahamas intends to further extend its national parks and protected areas system by including in the existing network additional marine and coastal areas.
Mr. Chairman, we have not acted alone and our success cannot only be measured by one countries actions we need all hands on deck and we will continue to work to bring all on board. We committed ourselves to this process in 2008 and it is still a work in progress.
A key player in our national and regional efforts has been the efforts of the Nature Conservancy, we again offer our thanks and look forward as we also do, to the corporate partnerships being developed.
Our vision is to protect our marine resources as we hold them in trust. The protection of the environment is in our view directly linked to managing marine areas for the benefit of generations yet born and to ensure that local communities who have used such areas as traditional fishing grounds are integrated into the process and become key stakeholders in the evolution of our initiatives.
To achieve these goals, We need all hands on deck if, given the continued economic challenges we all face, we are to realize our goal of protecting our shared marine resources on which all economic activity in our region is based.
We remain a people inexplicably linked to our environment!
THE FACE THAT LAUNCHED A THOUSAND SHIPS
Lady Joan Foulkes was in Japan and launched a new ship as part of the Campbell Shipping Fleet. She was accompanied by Her Husband Sir Arthur and Campbell Shipping’s President Lowell Mortimer The launch took place on Wednesday 15th May.
THE HOLIDAY PETER TURNQUEST WANTS TO ELIMINATE
The FNM’s position is that the holiday known as Whit Monday should be eliminated once 10th January becomes a public holiday. It was the one suggested by Peter Turnquest the FNM’s representative for East Grand Bahama. Well Branville McCartney, the DNA leader, who has been celebrating this past week the third anniversary of their party posted this note and picture on Facebook about the holiday which comes up tomorrow on Monday 20th May.
Whit Monday is celebrated this year on 20th May, 2013 and every benefit that is conducive to love joy and peace has already been provided for us. Accept God’s, grace, mercies and. Let us pray for each other. EXPECT THE BEST AND BE BLESSED.
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FRESH START IN GRAND BAHAMA
Statement from the Honourable. Dr. Michael Darville
BRADLEY ROBERTS RESPONDS TO FNM
The following is a statement issued by the Progressive Liberal Party. Its Chairman Bradley Roberts is responding to the attacks by the Free National Movement’s leader Dr. Hubert Minnis MP and its Chair Darron Cash on the National Insurance Board report.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
16th May 2013
NIB audit findings just another FNM mess to be cleaned up by the PLP Bradley B. Roberts
National Chairman, Progressive Liberal Party
Dr. Minnis and Darron Cash can prance up and down and deflect all they want. The former Prime Minister can hide from the media all he wants,
but the simple fact is that the findings of the NIB Forensic Audit exposed just another FNM mess that the PLP is tasked to clean up.
Further, the FNM is culpable and must accept responsibility and be held accountable for this mess.
The audit findings and more importantly, the incoherent ramblings from the culpable leadership of the FNM underscore their duplicity,
complicity and leadership deficit on issues on integrity in government, accountability and stewardship – all of which strike at
the foundation of our democracy. There is no acceptance of responsibility or accountability; no public apology or gesture of
atonement on the part of the FNM leadership, only distractions and deflections away from this major failure in governance.
It was none other than Hubert Ingraham who gloated to a Nassau Guardian reporter that the NIB scandal was the making of the PLP and
washed his hands when he boasted: “I hired Cargill. I thought he did a wonderful job at NIB….We left the place [NIB] in good shape.” The jury
is now in, Mr. Ingraham and his cabinet’s stewardship of the people’s monies were weighed in the balance and he and his cabinet were found
to be woefully wanting.
Equally embarrassing is current leader Dr. Hubert Minnis who initially stated that the board had good reasons for approving the illegal
bonuses. When the audit findings were published in the Nassau Guardian, Dr. Minnis opined to Darrold Miller that the Guardian
reporter could have erred in her story and he could find the error that would change the entire character of the report (and exonerate
the FNM). After the report was tabled in Parliament, the hapless and spineless opposition leader was again in the press crying about not
receiving a personal copy of the report. At all material times, the facts on the NIB matter remained constant but Dr. Minnis managed to
change his position three times without accepting responsibility. I have some unsolicited advice for Dr. Minnis: DO NOT CALL A CONVENTION ANY TIME SOON.
The fact is, Dr. Minnis sat around the cabinet table when the National Insurance Act was violated by the board and Director of NIB and based
on the Westminster principle of collectively responsibility, Dr. Minnis is culpable and must account to the Bahamian people.
As for Darron Cash, most Bahamians by now have dismissed him as lacking credibility. It is inexcusable and unbelievable that a
purported professional accountant would see nothing wrong with the obvious lack of corporate governance and wanton disregard for standard
accounting practices as reported in the NIB audit.
The FNM and their apologists have no moral authority to criticize the PLP over costs because it was none other than Hubert Ingraham who in
his infinite wisdom used the public treasury to finance not one but two commissions of inquiry where the FNM brought in foreign
commissioners to the tune of millions of dollars.
The PLP supports the Prime Minister’s decision to engage an independent auditor to review NIB accounts, as the process was
transparent and free of political interference, giving the process and results greater credibility.
We remain confident that under the leadership of both the Hon. Shane Gibson and Fr. James Moultrie, the appropriate measures will be put in
place to safeguard the assets of NIB and restore public trust and confidence in one of our most important institutions.
STAMPS FOR THE BAND
The Royal Bahamas Police Force Band is celebrating 120 years of existence. As part of the celebrations, there is a special stamp issue from the Post Office to commemorate the event. The unveiling of the stamps was done by the Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade and the Minister responsible for Posts Glenys Hanna Martin on Thursday 16th May. The photo is from the Facebook page of the Minister.
POET SULI BREAKS
The young British poet Suli Breaks is catching the attention of the teenagers. Perhaps it’s worth a listen in these video poetry presentations.
Girls are like Crepes
80s 90s baby
YEAR IN REVIEW FOR ELIZABETH
Ryan Pinder, the MP for Elizabeth reports on the year just gone.
TRIBUTE TO PERCY FRANCIS
A tribute in pictures and song to Percy “Vola” Francis, the legendary leader of the Saxon Superstars Junkanoo group.
MITCHELL PAYS CALL ON LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN BARBADOS
Fred Mitchell, Foreign Minister, renewed acquaintances with the Leader of the Opposition in Barbados Mia Mottley at the House of Assembly in Bridgetown on Saturday 18th May.
CONSTANZA ADDERLEY MARRIES DON BOURNE
The wedding of Constanza Adderley and Don Bourne took place at the Christ Church Cathedral on Saturday 1st April. She is a PLP Vice Chair and a political activist in her own right, the great granddaughter of former Senator Dame Albertha Isaacs.
TO THE EDITOR
Forrester Carroll writing from Freeport uses a quote this week popularized by Debbie Seymour in Freeport that in the eyes of a slave another slave is never qualified. It comes at the end of an article this week in response to Rick Lowe who is a critic of the government irrationally so and who without knowing the facts attacked the government’s immigration procedures.
I know Rick Lowe must play his role, in Bahamian political society, and maintain his image as an ardent critic of the PLP but must he do so at the expense of any integrity he may have?
The Freeport News published a letter, with the bold headline “DEPARTMENT OF IMMIGRATION EMBARRASSING US AGAIN?” Rick Lowe’s name was written at the end, indicating that it was authored by him, so for the purposes of this short article I will give him credit for its contents.
“Here we go again” is how Rick started his writing, giving the immediate impression (to someone who doesn’t know any better, especially outsiders) that all immigration officers do bad things all the time which embarrasses the nation. As it turned out his topic was about the department going out to a jobsite, on Paradise Island, in response to a tip called into them and questioning a female foreigner found gainfully employed (in the country) as to her immigration status. Nothing (I submit) would have been wrong with this action, taken by the immigration department, as far as “Rick Lowe” and his kind were concerned, had she not been a foreigner hailing from our neightbour to the north. I would venture to say, and daringly so, that had the person been an African female (say from Haiti for instance) Rick Lowe would have been giving the immigration department high fives for their vigilance but, because the lady was who she was, immigration’s actions within the law (I might add), as far as Rick Lowe is concerned, was an embarrassment?
We, in the public, are always being called upon to assist law enforcement agencies, in the execution of their duties, by reporting irregularities if we spot them; immigration officers were responding to one such tip and from the details I’ve seen printed in the newspapers, and from eyewitness reports, the officers conducted themselves, for the most part, within the usual perimeters set by the department; they approached and found the lady in the middle of a tour and, contrary to the accusations against them, they in fact stood around and waited, I am told, until the tour was complete before questioning her. She had no work permit; wasn’t a Bahamian national and couldn’t account for her working status; she admitted, I am told, to not having a work permit so, consequently, the officers did what they are obliged to do; they took her into custody for further investigation. After discovering that her permit had been denied but was under appeal they released her; what’s wrong with those series of events Mr. Rick Lowe? This is what immigration departments, all over the world, do; This is the same treatment you- Rick Lowe-would get if you were to be found working in Florida without the proper approvals; you would immediately be taken to the Chrome Detention Center for processing and then deported and never be able to set your feet on American soil again; the two countries are on the same page here.
But I ask, how were we embarrassed Rick Lowe? Are we not obliged, by law, to apprehend illegal immigrants where ever they are found working here illegally-even if it’s at Atlantis-or for simply overstaying the time given them for visits by the department of immigration? Let’s call a spade a spade here; I am convinced that Rick Lowe would not have had a problem had the apprehended been, as I said earlier, an “African” or even an “African American” instead of who she was; this, I submit, is the slide rule by which these racists measure their criticisms of “majority-rule” governments in the Bahamas.
The lady had no excuse for not carrying her immigration work permit (whether it was valid or had expired); she should have explained, to the officers, that her work permit was being processed under appeal; at least her honest explanation would have given the immigration team, on the scene, a clearer understanding of her status; the matter, am sure, would have been handled quite differently.
There is no embarrassment here of the sort that Rick Lowe has suggested; I feel he doesn’t think much of these COLOURED civil servants but he should, sometimes, give them the benefit of the doubt and be a little more respectful of these officers and give them some credit for using common sense while executing their duties. “A modicum of respect”, he said, was due Atlantis because Atlantis is not known for having a reputation for breaking the law; I would ask Rick only this: “what does “not having a reputation for breaking the law” have to do with this situation?”
I am highly curious about something however; the Hon. Minister (when standing on a point of order in the Hon. House of Assembly on May 1st with respect to something the idiot FNM leader said in his contribution to the debate on the making of January 10th a holiday) said that if a person leaves the country while their permit was under appeal then returns, claiming on arrival to be a VISITOR, what (he asked Minnis) was immigration to do if the person was found working afterwards? I certainly gathered from the Minister’s statement, and his pointed question to Dr. Minnis, that the lady in question-yeah the same incident that Rick Lowe says was an embarrassment to us-in fact left the country in the meantime while her appeal was in progress then returned, sometime later, and lied to the immigration officers saying that she was a visitor. If she did in fact stop working and return to her native country that would have constituted the end to that particular work permit cycle. Now when she would have decided to return to Nassau, what status would she have returned as? A visitor or as an employee of Atlantis? If she returned as a VISITOR her passport would have been stamped as such and she should not have gone to work. When her appeal would have been concluded and if she were given permission to go to work she would have been required to return to her country to undo the visitor status and then return as a legitimate employee of Atlantis. She cannot come to this country as a VISITOR and then go to work; what immigration should have done was to deport her behind for breaking the law while working without permission; these people take too much for granted and they think they can blackmail us into submission; we all know the blackmailing tricks they use so I need not spell them out for you do I? There are always two sides to every story, Rick Lowe, and in many cases there are three.
The minister, cognizant of all the facts am sure, released a statement in which he praised and encouraged the officers; Rick Lowe read it, I am sure, and would have noted where the Hon. Minister pointed out that certain of them (businessmen) admitted to not knowing the facts of the incident yet they proceeded, post haste, to berate and ridicule the officers. If they (the officers) hadn’t responded to the tip, called into them, there would have been more others who would now be complaining about their non-action and so they are dammed for doing their job and would have been dammed if didn’t.
I would urge immigration, as well as all other law enforcement officers, to remember that when they go out on these investigative details they should always bear in mind that they represent the government and peoples of our country; this we hope would motivate them to do their very best to conduct themselves in a manner becoming a country which recognizes the right of the individual to all freedoms under our constitution. We do not encourage, nor do we condone the use of brute force nor should we tolerate threats and intimidation on their part; we are indeed a democracy of laws, where the rule of law reigns supreme.
Please ponder this quotation and think where your mindset may fit in its meaning, Rick Lowe: “In the eyes of a SLAVE another SLAVE is never ever qualified” unquote (author unknown at this time).
Forrester J Carroll J.P
Freeport, Grand Bahama
Another of Sir Milo’s Sons Dies
Basil Butler, one of the sons of Sir Milo Butler, has reportedly died in Nassau on Saturday 18th May. His niece Loretta is the MP for Long Island and the former Minister of State in the Social Services Ministry.
The Film Industry In GBI
(This note was posted on Facebook by the Bahamas Film Commission on Thursday 16th May)
The film industry has become the area of focus as aspiring film producer/actor Nathaniel Lewis introduced his upcoming moving to Grand Bahama.
Frapper Avec Amour, the film created and produced by Lewis, is said to have been inspired by true-life events. READ MORE: http://tinyurl.com/cja2ay9
Fisheries Talks In The D.R.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs led a delegation to the Dominican Republic to continue talks on technical cooperation and fishing on May. The talks are near completion and should help significantly to protect our fishing grounds.
Four New Canons In The Anglican Church
The Anglican Bishop Laish Boyd appeared at St. Agnes Church in Grants Town, New Providence last Sunday to speak to the congregation about the suspension of its rector. The suspension was reported two weeks ago on this site. He said that the matter should remain within the church and that members should not discuss it. The Bishop has also reportedly announced that four new Canons of the Cathedral have been appointed; they are Rev. Fr. Crosley Walkine, Rector of St, Matthew’s; Rev. Sebastian Campbell, Rector of St. Gregory’s; Rev. Peter Scott, Rector of Holy Spirit; and Rev Fr. Norman Lightbourne, Rector of Holy Cross.
Caribbean PMs To Meet Biden And Chinese President
Prime Minister Perry Christie of The Bahamas will join his fellow Heads of Government in Port Of Spain Trinidad for a meeting with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on 28th May. He will return to Trinidad for a meeting with the Chines President Xi on 2nd June.
Farreno Ferguson Makes Fun Of Us
Interesting the talents Bahamians display. He is a Bishop’s son and photographer but also a great comedian as it turns out.
Chris Brown Sings
He is an absolute and incorrigible reprobate and a thug to boot but he sings well.
Tottenham Hotspurs Will Play The Reggae Boyz In Nassau
The Thomas A Robinson stadium will be the scene of a top notch soccer match on 23rd May when the Tottenham Hotspurs of the English Premier League will play the Jamaican National Soccer team called the Reggae Boyz. This is part of the effort to promote the country’s sports tourism platform and we are promised that there will be more of this kind of usage of the stadium putting it on the world stage.
Demetra Maynard Graduates
Well Mom, Allyson Gibson, the Honourable Senator and Attorney General and Dad, Maxwell, the Businessman, are proud of their daughter as he is now a Harvard Graduate; she is the beautiful young lady in the middle. Congratulations.
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