Fred Smith’s Statement of Claim On Cubans

08/27/17 8 AM

According to the Nassau Guardian, Fred Smith has filed a Statement of Claim in the Supreme Court claiming various heads of damages against the Government for some Cuban detainees who having been released found their way back into the United States.  These allegations should be contested vigorously by the Bahamas government.  Fred Smith, as we all know, gave monies to the Free National Movement, to win the general election.  So we shall see what they do in this instance, whether the Government will protect the interests of the Bahamian people, or give in to Fred Smith.

Fred Mitchell Responds To John Pinder

08/20/17 1 AM

Statement by Senator Fred Mitchell

Opposition Spokesman on Foreign Affairs, Labour and Immigration

On Remarks By John Pinder Public Service Union President

On Steve McKinney Show 15 August

For Immediate Release

16 August 2017

One of my former constituents reported to me that on the Steve McKinney Radio show yesterday, John Pinder, the President of the Bahamas Public Services Union described the decision to hire 200 immigration officers as a “stupid” decision” and blamed the Minister for it. That minister was me. Mr. Pinder was being engaged in the telephone talk show by someone whose family member is apparently one of the recruits and complained that the recruit had not been paid for six months.

The facts as I recall them are these:

The Cabinet agreed to the hire of the 200 or so immigration officers.

The first permission was obtained in April 2013, the second in September 2016 and the final in late 2016 or early 2017.

The demand for immigration officer jobs was substantial with over a thousand applicants.

The demand for immigration officers services are substantial with several ports in The Bahamas with no immigration officer at all, and with the incursion of irregular migrants to The Bahamas increasing.

I had promised as minister to increase the force to 900, three times its present size.

There are several steps that had to be carried out: financial clearance and vetting are two major steps that are usually obstacles to progress in hiring.

There were also arguments over qualifications, and the ability of the Department of the Public Service and human resources at immigration itself to process applications.

If the political directorate waited on the public service to get these steps done within its term, it would never have gotten anything done.

The Cabinet therefore indicated that vetting in advance would be waived with the understanding that each person hired would know that if the vetting came back negative they had to be redeployed elsewhere in the service.

Financial clearance was obtained for everyone.

The police routinely take nine months or more to do the vetting. That is the single biggest obstacle to progress of applications.

The caller to the show and Mr. Pinder should not be expressing surprise at the delays in payment. Mr. Pinder knows that routinely new teachers take anywhere from three months to six months to get their first pay cheque. Our systems are simply that bad. It has nothing to do with the decisions to hire people being a stupid decision.

Since Mr. Pinder is well aware of how the public service works and as head of the Union for three terms, he should have used the occasion on radio to educate citizens on the problems of public administration in this country which have nothing to do with who the minister of the government is.

Perhaps Mr. Pinder should use his time left as Union President to urge a reform of how the government pays its new employees.

Perhaps his failures are why he no longer represents Immigration Officers.

Since he is so interested in their welfare, he should check into reports that the Government intends to fire some of those hired and is one month behind in the salary payments to officers,

Instead, he used the occasion of the radio show to turn a matter of systemic poor public administration into another political hatchet job against me Fred Mitchell, someone who he inexplicably hates.

As for the use of the word “stupid”, it seems to many in these circumstances, it is a word deserved for the man John Pinder in his home when he wakes up with morning and looks in the mirror.

End

Fred Smith Meeting In Bimini Is Environment By False Pretences

06/18/17 8 AM

There was supposed to be a government sponsored meeting in Bimini to discuss the environment on Thursday 15 June.  Turns out it wasn’t what it was advertised.  Fred Smith and his band of quacks and frauds who call themselves Save The Bays, the fake environmental organization, were at the meeting trying to drum up support for whatever their latest crusade is on Bimini.  The Minister for the Environment did not show up and neither did the new MP for Bimini.  All missing in action.  The people of Bimini were incensed that they had been fooled and told Fred Smith that no one wanted to hear from him and that he was not wanted in Bimini.  There are real problems re the environment there with the Bimini Bay Resort threatening the mangroves in North Bimini with a golf course and further housing development.

Family And Friends Turn Out To Remember Fred Sr. and Lilla Mitchell

06/04/17 12 AM

Senator Fred Mitchell with Sterling Wilkinson from Bimini, St Agnes Rector Ranfurly Brown, Rev Dr James Moultrie and Paris Cartwright at the service for Fred Sr and Lilla Mitchell at St Agnes Church in Grants Town 29 May

Senator Fred Mitchell with former Prime Minister Perry Christie at the end of the memorial service for Fred Sr and Lilla Mitchell at St Agnes Church 29 May

Senator Fred Mitchell welcomes Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling and Bradley Roberts former Minister of Works at the Memorial Service for his parents at St Agnes Church in Grants Town 29 May

Senator Fred Mitchell with Sir Orville Turnquest and Rev J Carl Rahming at the Memorial Service for his parents Lilla and Fred Mitchell at St Agnes 29 May

Carla Mitchell Seymour looks on with her children Carlton Jr and Celine and a friend Anabelle

Robert Ian Mitchell looks on at the reception in St Agnes Church Hall

Senator Fred Mitchell with Senator Sharon Ferguson Knowles at the Memorial Service for Fred Sr and Lilla Mitchell at St Agnes Church in Grants Town 29 May

FRED MITCHELL VISITS EIGHT MILE ROCK

05/21/17 12 PM

Former Fox Hill MP Fred Mitchell Pastor Barry Morris of Church of God of Prophecy in Eight Mile Rock. The pastor was passing the Anglican church where Mr Mitchell was visiting for a service and he stopped by for the selfie

Former Fox Hill MP Fred Mitchell with Elvardo Bartlette, Rev Kirkland Russell and Mrs Russell after mass at St Stephen’s Anglican Church Eight Mile Rock in Grand Bahama 21 May

A PERSONAL STATEMENT BY FRED MITCHELL

05/14/17 12 PM

I have read a lot of rubbish over the past few days since the election from the FNM leadership and its supporters.

My take on it is this. The FNM and its supporters should not believe their own propaganda.

The objective reality is that they simply have a mandate to govern for five years.  There is nothing revolutionary about their victory or far reaching.  They were able to manipulate a population suffering from the ill effects of the economic recession which was never overcome and the turn of clever phrases plus the money of foreign interests to accomplish what they have and the failure of the PLP to correct the problem.

Michael Manley said in Jamaica when he was at his darkest hour: we routed them before; we can rout them again.

I say that to PLPs.  Let us not get caught up in silly sentimentality, and believe the FNM’s propaganda about ourselves.  It is simply rubbish.  This is not the second coming but a simple election victory which can be reversed in five years. Emphasis on “can”. We have got to move quickly though and put this past behind us.

The problems are glaring and obvious but we will need professionals to guide us through the process.

The road will be difficult because these people in the FNM are especially vicious and vindictive. They have no moral or ethical underpinnings which will prevent them from doing anything that they can get away with.  That is the reality.  If we get into boo hoo and  woulda, shoulda, coulda then we are lost ourselves.

Politics is not a crying game.  It is a competition for power.  Power is the only fact.  They have it, we want it and need it to govern and protect the poor in this country.  The rich are now in charge.  Eileen Carron, Louis Bacon. Fred Smith, Sarkis Ismerlian. That is the fight now against rich and powerful monied interests.

The rats are guarding the cheese.

It was an honour working with all colleagues.  I thank those in Fox Hill who voted for me. I have no special analysis to offer. We lost.  We can win again.

Please don’t bore me with too much analysis and crying.

There is nothing else to say.  Let’s get to work and defeating these people.

End

Statement By Fred Mitchell MP Fox Hill and PLP Candidate for Fox Hill FM

05/07/17 1 PM

STATEMENT BY FRED MITCHELL MP
ON THREATS BY FORMER PRIME MINISTER ON THE GOVERNOR GENERAL AND PUBLIC SERVANTS

7 May 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
I have waited for several days now to hear the Free National Movement publicly repudiate the statements made by the former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham on the stage at the FNM’s rally on Tuesday 2nd May. In my various addresses from if the public stage and through social media, I have asked whether the FNM intends to follow through on the various threats to end employment summarily in the public service if (god forbid) they become the next government. There has been stony silence and contempt from the FNM. It means they mean to fire people if they come to power.

The attack by Mr. Ingraham is particularly egregious and worrisome since he was the author of similar policies from the public platform as far back as 2007.

This is a new low even for Mr. Ingraham and it reminds us of the adage that we employed against him in 2002: Don’t put a goat on a board floor because it will prance.

It is embarrassing for a former Prime Minister of this country, a country that wants and expects an elder statesman, who can speak to issues of national import without vitriol and nastiness and partisanship, and who can be comfortable and respected in his retirement by all sides. Now he comes back into the public fray and attacks the Governor General, threatening her post, in a move which violates all traditions and norms. He is attacking someone who he knows cannot defend herself. She can say nothing but be subject to nastiness and filth from man who ought to know better.

He also knows that the PLP came to office with two Governors General who were former FNM politicians. In each case, their tenure was secure until they themselves decided it was time to leave. The PLP believes in protecting our national institutions, not prostituting them.

Finally it is advisable for the former Prime Minister to give it a rest. Bitterness over his dismissal by Sir Lynden Pindling, the Governor General’s late husband back in 1983, is something he ought to let go. As a retiree himself, he ought to be preparing for Jesus and leave his bitterness to the Lord.

Is his revenge on Sir Lynden in 1992 not complete enough? He is reminded that he said when he took over as Prime Minister on the night of 19 August 1992: “the maid gone, the dog gone, the car gone.” He was speaking of the official support given to a Prime Minister. He ordered them unceremoniously stripped away from Sir Lynden.

That night he showed how spiteful and hateful he was as a person. Twenty-five years later Sir Lynden has gone on to his eternal reward and now he turns on the man’s wife. What type of man does that? It is time for him to let the hurt of being fired go.

Since Independence we have only had three prime ministers. That office carries with it public responsibilities even in retirement. It would be a sad thing if the post script on Hubert Ingraham were to record he left the public gaze a bitter and angry man.

I again call on the FNM to repudiate these threats, separate themselves from the former Prime Minister and say whether public service jobs will be protected when should they prevail.

End

 

Fred Smith Attempts To Bribe Fred Mitchell

04/23/17 12 PM


Fred Smith QC has once more gone over the top.  He circulated a video tape on Saturday 22 April where he is seen speaking and a black man shining his shoes.  Mr. Smith is so mentally obtuse that he probably does not realise how patently offensive his conduct is.  It is purely racist.  The more important point from the statement however is that he confesses that he is supporting the Free National Movement financially.  This means that he is confirming that the Save The Bays money is actually going just as we thought to help the FNM.  Secondly in the video tape, Mr. Smith offers the Minister for Immigration Fred Mitchell money.  Mr. Mitchell said speaking at a meeting in Exuma on 22 April that Mr. Smith has a client before him and a request of the Minister for Immigration to make a quasi-judicial decision.  He questioned the crowd as they re-joined that this was bribery.  Mr. Mitchell said he would be asking the Attorney General to investigate this as a possible bribery offence.

This Jackass Fred Smith

02/26/17 10 AM

Last week, Fred Smith used two of his many guises ( Save The Bays and Grand Bahama Human Rights Association) to attack Fred Mitchell about the Communications Bill which Mr. Smith has dubbed the spy bill.  As usual Mr. Smith has missed the mark.  First Fred Mitchell has nothing to do with the bill whatever. Secondly, he was as usual overstating his case, like the loony tune that he is, talking about the government getting the right to spy on Bahamians.  The bill does no such thing.  Jackass.

Fred Smith And Friends Deserve No Special Protection

11/13/16 8 AM

Statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
8 November

8th November 2016

For Immediate Release

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Immigration of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas regrets to learn that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (“IACHR”) has granted the Petition of the Grand Bahama Human Rights Association on behalf of five Save The Bays members who alleged that they feared for their lives at the hands of the State or by agents of the State. Messrs Fred Smith, Q.C., Romauld Ferrier, Francisco Nunez, Joseph Darville and Kirkland Bodie were granted precautionary measures against the Government by the IACHR.

The Ministry’s review of the allegations by Smith and the other petitioners found that the allegations were not properly grounded in facts and were without evidentiary support or legal merit. The Ministry finds it especially regrettable that the IACHR made its decision despite periodic communication from the Government that while the matter was under review a formal response was being finalized and would be issued soon.
As far as investigations revealed and as far as investigations could be conducted by the Royal Bahamas Police Force in the face of refusal of cooperation by any of the Petitioners, investigations showed that there was no reason that special protection of any kind should be granted to any of the Petitioners.

The Ministry therefore wishes to inform the public that the Government is committed to providing its comprehensive response setting out fully the true nature of the individual Petitioners and their circumstances and that of the Save The Bays organization. Police will continue to conduct investigations also involving post-September 2016 complaints when and if any of the Petitioners are willing and able to assist in the Police investigative process.

While the Government is concerned that a mockery should not be made of the judicial system and the relief that it offers, the Government stands ready to protect the rights of all, citizens and others, in The Bahamas when in real fear of death.

The Government will continue to inform the public in this matter.

FRED MITCHELL MEDAL ANNOUNCED BY P. M

10/23/16 12 PM

Here is what the Prime Minister said about Fred Mitchell as he named a new award called the Fred Mitchell Award for Statesmanship (photo by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services): 

Excellences, best viagra ladies and gentleman, I am sure I speak of Minister Mitchell, but it is truly a matter of pride to be in the midst of these distinguished honorees and call them my friend. But I decided to exercise my prerogative as prime minister. I have the responsibility of appointing diplomats and the privilege to be able to declare new initiatives. Even to dare to look at foreign affairs and decide that there is one award that’s missing.

As I sat here this evening, I made some notes because I happen to enjoy the privilege of watching Fred Mitchell travel the world on behalf of our country. I have seen in the region the appreciation and admiration of PMs and his contemporaries, foreign ministers, for his ability and talent which are gifts. I‘ve seen the confidence they have reposed in him, for inviting him to be a part of delegations in the region to investigate.

I have watched him as he and I and former PM PJ Patterson mandated by the region to move back and forth between Haiti and the region during the Aristide presidential experience. I have seen him in interaction with those persons who represent the United States of America, inclusive of Ms. Lisa Johnson and the level of integrity he brings to the process. I know his level of commitment to human rights. His own philosophic opinion for who are without and most disadvantaged of our country and by extension the region and the world. I am in deep admiration of the quality of his representation as a member of my cabinet and representative of the people of The Bahamas in all of our external affairs.

I told the director of his ministry, that I am going to not just advocate but use my own, preeminent position to declare another award. And the award will be in the name of Fred Mitchell who is at the end of his term. And I want this award to be well thought out, and by the end of this month, I would be in a position to receive the full recommendation of the Director and her ministry. But the award must embrace the fact that Fred has taken our country to new heights. New heights diplomatically. I want the award to be given to a person who not only innovates but thinks out of the box. Because I think what I find compellingly attractive about Fred, is that he does not see the Bahamas has a small country when it comes to his representation. He sees it as a country that can have a mighty impact. He thinks big as he should, he thinks large as he must. And therefore, he has this heavy influence with outcomes that are so positive to our country. And often times a Foreign Minister, in the exercise of his judgement, positions his government and his country in a way that if he is mistaken, and makes an error, it is very, very serious situation and can even be calamitous. Fred, I have so declared.

Excellences, please join me in a round of applause to those who we have honoured, and please include Minister, Frederick Audley Mitchell.

Fred Mitchell With An Old School Friend

08/28/16 12 AM

Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell with University of Buckingham classmate Elenne Ford. The two won the constitutional prize in law at the University and graduated in 1985. This is the first time they have met since Buckingham. 23 August 2016

Fred Mitchell At Bamsi With The Chinese Ambassador

08/14/16 9 AM

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Pictured from front left: Foreign Affairs Director General Sharon Haylock, Chinese Embassy 1st Secretary, Minister or Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell, Chinese Ambassador H.E. Huang Qinguo, Parl Sec Cleola Hamilton, Amb Godfrey Eneas and Dr Hanna of BAMSI , Andros Administrator Mr. Ferguson and BAMSI staff.

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Dr. Cox of BAMSI briefing group about livestock and small ruminants. from right: Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell, Dr. Cox, Parliamentary Secretary Cleola Hamilton, Chinese Ambassador H.E. Huang Qinguo, Chinese Embassy Staff.

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BAMSI grown bananas received with appreciation by Minister, Ambassador, Parliamentary Secretary and others.

Fred Mitchell Gives The Emancipation Day Message

08/07/16 11 AM

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viagra times, best cialis serif;”>Fox Hill MP Fred Mitchell delivering the Emancipation Day statement 1 August in Fox Hill

Here is the full statement:

Remarks by Fred Mitchell MP
Fox Hill
1st August 2016
Emancipation Day at Fox Hill

Your Excellency

Today marks 182 years since the slaves were set free by the British throughout their then empire. The Bahamas was a part of that and history tells us that the act of emancipation was celebrated and marked every year since then. Today we mark the occasion once more.

I welcome you here to mark this momentous occasion.

I invited a friend of mine to this event and he refused. He said that he would not come to a celebration of the British freeing the slaves. He found the idea repugnant and not worthy of celebrating.

I disagree with him. It is a part of our history. It is not a celebration of what the British did as if freedom was accomplished by them. We are here to mark what he slaves did and the former slaves, the sons and daughter of Africa who led the revolts and forced the end of slavery and began the larger fight for the humanity of the Black man in this world.

You know that the fight continues today.

The Bahamas is a part of the Caricom movement for reparations for slavery. Many people have asked why we are wasting time, that it’s not a struggle worthy of our time and money that it cannot succeed.

With respect that is what those who fought against slavery were also told. But our ancestors did not give up the quest to be free.

The next most momentous occasion on that freedom calendar was when in 1967, the majority African population of this country obtained Majority Rule. And the end of the white oligarchy and the beginning of true representative democracy.

Fox Hill, the village today, made up of Congo Town, Burnside Town and Nango Town is one of the last redoubts of the African culture in its purest forms in The Bahamas. The history tells us that Samuel Fox was given a grant of land in the vicinity of St Augustine’s College in 1703. That grant and the surrounding villages morphed into what is now known as Fox Hill. We are the last community in The Bahamas to celebrate Emancipation Day. In doing so we celebrate the African presence in The Bahamas.

Today then I salute our ancestor who caused us to be free.

In a particular I pay tribute to my predecessors George Mackey and Frank Edgecombe who revived the modern Fox Hill Festival as a means of marking the occasion. They are now both gone on to their reward but both had me promise that I would continue this tradition.

I remember also today the former Chair of the Fox Hill Festival Charles Johnson, Eric Wilmott and William Rahming who gave of their time and talents to ensure that this Festival would be successful.

We remember too Mrs. Paula Tynes who at her husband’s side continued the work of the Festival. Sadly she too is gone too soon. We thank Mr.Maurice Tynes and his whole team for all the work which they do to make this the success that it is.

You all know that The Bahamas is part of the effort by Caricom to seek reparations for slavery. Many people have asked us why we are wasting time, money and effort.

The former British Prime Minister David Cameron insulted the leaders of the Caribbean when he went to Jamaica and rejected the idea of the British paying reparations and told the Jamaican Parliamentarians they must quote “get over it”.

I recall a story that I read about Georgetown University, the Catholic Jesuit School in Washington D C which produced the basketball player Patrick Ewing. Georgetown University had a mortgage in the 18th century and the mortgage was about to go into default. In order to save the University they sold their slaves to a planation in Louisiana. The three million dollars they made from the sale was able to save the university from bankruptcy.

The New York Times reported earlier this year that the head of the University, responding to the moral shame in which the university was involved sought out the descendants of the slaves that were sold and began talks about what can be done to make amends for the moral shame in which they were involved. So you see that the great Georgetown University was literally saved on the backs of African slaves. That was a moral wrong. Slavery was a moral wrong. That is what the quest for reparations is about to compensate for the moral wrong. It will never end until justice is done both in America and here at home and in the wider Caricom region. The cry will always go up for justice.

The legacy of racism still abides with us. Majority Rule came in 1967 but still some people who were associated with the acien UBP regime, do not get it. When I say do not get it I am reminded of the interview with Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives who said that he gets it, that he understands what black people in the United States go through every day of their lives and that white Americans cannot understand what it is to be black in America. If he gets it and he is a white man from Georgia and one of the most conservative people you can meet, then we have to ask why don’t the descendants of the ancien regime, those who ruled us before 1967, don’t get it.

They too have told us to get over it.

The only and marked exception to that attitude is that of Sir Durward Knowles who has publicly apologised on no less than four occasion to black people in The Bahamas for how they were treated by white people.

Recently though we have evidence that many don’t get it. One example is from a man who is a former Deputy Prime Minister of our country, who went to a segregated school as a child in this Bahamas, who has no experience of being a young Black male or having young Black male children tells us that we should not have warned out children and their parents about the dangers they face in American when they travel and live there as young black males dealing with US policemen. Scores of parents have thanked us because they get it.

Last week, the country was astounded as one of their lot now a Member of Parliament Richard Lightbourn without thinking about what he was saying, about who he is and what he represents in the history of our country, blithely suggested that women should have their tubes tied involuntarily, completely insensitive to the larger meaning of what he was saying and closing his eyes to the obvious issues that would cause.

That here was a White Bahamian, tied to the old UBP regime, whose doctrine was racial discrimination, saying in effect that black women were having too many babies and it should stop. It’s what you call a dog whistle. My mother used to say, even if you think that, there are some things you just don’t say.

Since then he has apologised but no one for a minute believes that the apology was anything more than a politically correct patch up job that was uttered because it might adversely affect his political fortunes.

There ought to be sanctions for that and he ought to consider whether it is advisable for him to stay on as a MP for the Five Pound Lot and for Kemp Road in the circumstances of his statement.

There is an example of what to do from the United States. When the former Majority Leader Trent Lott made a statement in which he supported the segregated South in America, the then US President George Bush from his own party disassociated himself from the remark and Mr. Lott not only lost his job as a Majority Leader but as a Senator as well. It seems to me that this must follow in The Bahamas.

The organization to which he belongs must make that clear and fully dissociate themselves from it. They must ensure that he does the appropriate thing in the circumstances which is not to return to Parliament and give another person a chance in that seat.

Some have drawn this as a matter of women’s reproductive rights and the freedom to choose. I am sure it is that and I agree but there is something much larger at stake here. The racist element in it cannot be overlooked. Even if it were not intentional, closing one’s eyes to the obvious shows the disregard for the humanity of the African people of this country and women of African descent in particular. It is so serious that it must not be overlooked.

Remember the history of calls for forced tube tying, with experiments on aboriginal peoples in Australia and in the United States; the report of Peter Knaur in the early 1960s who advised the pre 1967 government which unveiled a plan by the then oligarchy on how to keep people of African descent in this country under the domination and control of the minority ancient regime.

I have said many times before that we teach our young their history not because we want them to be prisoners to it but so that when they see it repeating itself, they why will know and recognise it and stop it dead in its tracks. That is what we see here today. 2016 is not that far away from 1834 in that context and those in that time who said the slaves should not be freed.

And so I wish you all a good day. I hope that you remember this day as a tribute to the men and women of African and other descent who went before us to ensure that we are free.

This is likely the last time I will be addressing you on this theme and certainly on an Emancipation Day before I have to return to you and ask for permission to stay on in this job. It has been an enormous privilege and pleasure, an honour, and I must thank you for the privilege of serving. It has been my honour.

May mighty God bless you, bless Fox Hill and bless the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

Fred Mitchell’s Annual Visit To Long Island

07/17/16 10 AM

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Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell reading the Old Testament lesson St Paul’s Anglican Church Clarence Town in Long Island at 7 a m mass with Fr Alvardo Adderley 12 July. 

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Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell with Captain Alphonso “Archie ” Moree at the latter’s home in The Bight in Long Island 13th July. 

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Fox Hill MP Fred Mitchell with Rev Scofield Miller, Pastor of St John’s Union Baptist Church in McKann’s in Long Island at the rudiments of the Bishop Harcourt Pinder Community Centre in Miller’s in Long Island 13 July. 

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Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell with George Frieze, Co-owner of the Stella Maris development in Long Island at Stella Maris 13th July. 

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Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell with Captain Mario Simms, Proprietor of the Blue Chip Restaurant and Bar in Simms in Long Island 13th July. 

 

Intervention by Fred Mitchell MP Fox Hill – Budget Debate 2017

06/26/16 12 AM

discount cialis times, serif;”>Intervention by Fred Mitchell MP Fox Hill

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration

Budget Debate 2017

20 June 2017

Check Against Delivery

Tribute to Muhammad Ali, who was at the PLPs convention the first year that I spoke to the convention and who if he had arrived after I had spoken, would have left me with no audience.  Thankfully, he showed up just after I spoke to the audience was full.  Lynden Pindling jumped to his feet leading eh standing ovation.  He ran up to me to shake my hand and said: “My boy you are on your way.”

Tribute to E Patrick Toothe Esq who was my pupil master and who died in April of this year.  I was unable to attend the service on 26 April but I wish to recognize his passing and to thank him for the training which he gave me as an attorney.  I extend my condolences to his family.

 

I wish to say that just as I did in the Mid-Year Budget debate, I will lay a full copy of the review of the budget in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration on the table.  I do not propose to read the review of the figures.  I will however put them in the public domain by that device.

 

Secondly, I have read the statement of the Opposition’s spokesman on Foreign Affairs the Member for St Anne’s.  The only reference that I saw to the Foreign Ministry’s work and that was tangential was that the Canadians had issued a further travel advisory for The Bahamas.

 

We are aware of the advisory and of course it is regrettable that they felt the need to do so.  But as we have explained to the Bahamian public before advisories are not exceptional for any country.  The home governments have an obligation in law to say what they know about the safety and security of visitors to a country they’re visiting. 

 

We can issue similar advisories about Canada and various neighbourhoods in Toronto I am sure.  We have done so with regard to the United States, particularly about Miami. After what happened in Orlando what would the Opposition’s spokesman have us do about that and what should we advise Bahamians about travelling to Orlando? I leave the point there, the answer is so obvious.

 

We all continue to work hard to crack down on crime.

 

I propose during this intervention to review some of the matters that have become public concerns about the work of the Ministry.  Seek to defend the budgetary allocations and the work we are called upon to do.

 

I think the Ministry has performed well, given the fiscal challenges and difficulties from ordering toilet paper to having to replace a generator and all the bureaucracy and nightmare delays associated with it.  There is a creative fight in the bureaucracy over what some consider the over centralization that is occurring which tends toward less efficiency and not more.  The struggle continues.

 

I wish to thank all those who work at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Immigration both at home and abroad for their stellar work in the defence of this country.   Our team is led by Sheila Carey the Permanent Secretary, Sharon Haylock, the Director General, William Pratt, the Director of Immigration, William Nottage, Senior Policy Advisor on Immigration. They support a political team of me, the Parliamentary Secretary the MP for South Beach who has direct superintendence of the Detention Centre and The MP for South Andros who is the Ambassador to Caricom.

 

I turn to Foreign Affairs

 

On 12 June, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued the following statement:

12 June 2016

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expresses its sympathy to the people of the United States and the people of Florida and the city of Orlando, following the murders of 49 people in Orlando. Orlando is a city with which our country has significant trade and familial ties. The state of Florida is also our closest trading partner. In addition there are significant familial ties with Florida. Our offices in Florida will be monitoring events to ensure that Bahamians are afforded the legal protections in the state and in the city. A diplomatic note will be sent expressing the condolences from The Bahamas.

End

 

I have since issued a statement to the British expressing our sorrow and support following the assassination of a British MP, caused it appears by hatred because of her views in the referendum campaign now being held in Britain.

 

I want to thank the MP for Elizabeth for his thoughtful statement delivered in this place last week when he said the following:

 
Before concluding I want to speak briefly on the recent referendum. I am very disappointed in the results, in the way our people allowed phobias to complicate the issue. The inequalities on the transmission of citizenship are astonishing, and as a country, we are not in good company in this regard when compared to other countries around the world. I fear that we as a country and a people still may not have matured enough to make decisions in isolation for the betterment of the country, to reduce discrimination in the Bahamas. This was a matter of citizenship, nothing else.

 

During the course of the campaign to amend the constitution, there was a campaign of deceit and misinformation in the country which was perhaps unprecedented.

This was led largely by a group of clergymen who have simply disgraced themselves by the astonishing untruths which they perpetrated during the referendum campaign.  It was simply breathtaking.

In a recent statement to the country, the Government was blamed for missteps in the process.  I reject that.  There can be no remedy for deceit other than truth.  The truth was plain to see but instead of the work of God being done, it appears the work of the devil has for the moment succeeded.

While they crow from the rafters from stopping some shadowy hidden agenda, the people who have suffered are women and children, and the people of The Bahamas.  They have set us back a generation.  Aluta continua.

I have called for them to find Christ and for them to apologize for that campaign of deceit.

 

I repeat it here today.

 

They blamed the United Nations.  False.  They blamed the yes campaigners.  False.  There is no one to blame really.  However, those who first practiced to deceive are now having to engage in tangled web  and blame others. 

 

The results of the vote are what they are.  However, what concerns me now is the lingering hate which the debate has engendered and this is particularly against the backdrop of what just happened in the United States and the United Kingdom and how words of hate can lead to destructive behavior amongst the mentally ill and ignorant.

People who are preachers should publicly separate themselves from violence and hate.

This is a liberal democracy not a theocracy.  It is a secular state: where there is a separation from church and state.  Indeed the Judeo Christian tradition is to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that our God’s.  You have to be careful how you trust theocracies when after all it was a theocratic power who handed Jesus Christ over to be crucified;  they were more interested in temporal power than in saving souls.

 

I tell the story of the appearance on the radio after I said the preachers must find Christ. After telling them to find Christ, they went into full attack mode.   In defending themselves though, Jesus Christ was not mentioned once, not one soul did they seek to save; they not ask one soul to come to Christ. Busy talking about me and bashing me. Not turning the other check out straight out bashing.

 

I say to them their role is to preach the gospel every day and sometimes use words. In other words, you should live the gospel.

 

The gospel says all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

 

We have a substantial job to do in this society to separate ourselves from hate and violence.  It consumes us too often every day.  You will remember that two people were killed in Adderley Street in the Fox Hill community last week.  On the day that occurred a voice note went around saying something like this; “Bey! One nigga just put three in Smokie”

There was a survey done at one of our local primary schools, here is the results of that survey:

A sample of 212 students was surveyed from Grades 4.5 and 6 and the following results were produced:

9 per cent of the students had lost a parent.  Of that group 70 per cent lost their father and 25 per cent lost their mother.

How did their loved ones die?

11 per cent of murder

12.5 per cent from accidents

 

52 per cent of the students surveyed and witnessed domestic violence

20 per cent have a parent living in another country

36 per cent experienced separation or divorce

44 per cent had heard a gunshot

35 per cent knows someone who owns a gun

38 per cent have seen a gun

 

Remember these are students not yet 12 years old.

 

The violence is caused by a number of other faults.

The lack of social skills for example.  One of the coaches at a high school told me the story of how appalled he was listening to a student athlete talk to a potential school coach in the US about a prospect of being given a scholarship opportunity.  This what he said to the US coach:

“Ya… you get my numbers right? Just hit me up.  Let me know what’s good  but I ga be right here”

 

Our country interrelates with the wider world.  We  cannot survive without the wider world.  Therefore I found the demonizing of the United Nations and other international institutions in the recent campaign to be puerile and just plain silly and ill advised.

As Minister I defend our membership.

Most of our people want to travel to the United States. That is a very legalistic country.  The United States exercises extra territorial influence and jurisdiction over many parts of our lives whether we like it or not.  It is the United States government that said that  rights trump culture.   So we can sit here and stew in our own fat or if we want to engage with the wider world, we had better get with the programme.

The US has their responsibilities too. From a foreign affairs perspective, we follow what is going on in the US.  The statement indicates that we were concerned about the violence in Orlando because Bahamians frequent that city.   We also intervened with public statements in the Black Lives matter campaign because our young Black males go to the United States and if racial prejudice is being expressed in the United States against young Black males, then Bahamian young males ought to be warned and advised.

The US has to resolve the issue of guns and gun trafficking as it wreaks havoc in our societies.   I think we have a thoughtful administration in the United States, headed by quiet a thoughtful leader Barak Obama.

 

Recently he visited Hiroshima, the city which was the object of the first atomic weapon. The York Times columnist Thomas Friedman said this about that visit in his column 15 June: 

“Hiroshima, Obama suggested, represents a world in which for the first time ever a country possessed the power to kill all of us — and if it had to be any country, I am glad it was America. But today, he said, we’re entering a world where small groups — maybe even soon a single super-empowered person — will be able to kill all of us; therefore we’d better start thinking about the moral implications of where technology is taking us.

“Science allows us to communicate across the seas and fly above the clouds, to cure disease and understand the cosmos, but those same discoveries can be turned into ever more efficient killing machines,” the president noted. “The wars of the modern age teach us this truth. Hiroshima teaches this truth. Technological progress without an equivalent progress in human institutions can doom us. The scientific revolution that led to the splitting of an atom requires a moral revolution as well.”

Mr. Friedman goes on:

“And the only thing that can stop them is from the inside: a meaningful mass movement by Muslim governments, clergymen and citizens to delegitimize this behavior. It takes a village and only stops when the village clearly says, “No more!” And that has not happened at the scale and consistency it needs to happen.”

 

Frank Bruni New York Times 16 June wrote about the fact that there is a responsibility to treat people with respect and dignity, and to acknowledge their existence not treat them as if they don’t exists because you don’t identify with who they are.  He said that even the church in Orlando refused to recognize  that it was LGBT people who got killed in Orlando.

 

Here is what he wrote 15 June in the New York Times:

…There were exceptions, including Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, Fla., who wrote a blog post in which he conceded that religion, including Catholicism, “often breeds contempt for gays, lesbians and transgender people,” and that this contempt can lead to violence. Lynch stressed that the Orlando victims “were all made in the image and likeness of God.”

“We teach that,” Lynch wrote. “We should believe that. We must stand for that.”

 

Peter Bergen New York Times “Why do terrorists commit terrorism?” wrote on 15 June:

“These stories underline how hard it is to satisfactorily answer the question of why terrorists commit heinous crimes. Human motivations are complex. As the philosopher Immanuel Kant observed, “From the crooked timber of humanity not a straight thing was ever made.” It’s a useful reminder to journalists and politicians alike that human beings often defy neat categorization.

 

Finally, the Editorial New York Times Threat To Gay Americans:

16 June

 

“While the precise motivation for the rampage remains unclear, it is evident that Mr. Mateen was driven by hatred toward gays and lesbians. Hate crimes don’t happen in a vacuum. They occur where bigotry is allowed to fester, where minorities are vilified and where people are scapegoated for political gain. Tragically, this is the state of American politics, driven too often by Republican politicians who see prejudice as something to exploit, not extinguish.”

Mr. Speaker what in my respectful view happened in The Bahamas is that a minority was demonized and dehumanized in this country to frighten people into  voting against the rights of women.

 

I say again, that is not something to be proud about because the only ones who will suffer are women and their spouses, their children and men and their spouses.  The bills were simply about giving men and women the same rights in the constitution.

You know that the Roman Catholic Archbishop can’t speak to doctrine unless the Pope approves. That institution is also a legalistic institution going back hundreds of years.  Episcopal to a fault.  The Roman Catholic church in The Bahamas therefore could not support any measure in this country which would  support same sex marriage. They are implacably opposed to same sex marriage.  Yet the word of the unschooled was preferred to the word of the Catholic Archbishop.  Things get curiouser and curiouser.

 

The extent of the deceit goes further than the errant clergymen. Here was Bran McCartney who claims that he voted because Dame Joan Sawyer said so.  With respect, every who is in the know, knows that Dame Joan Sawyer has been overturned by the Privy Council more times than the garbage can outside my yard

 

The Leader of the DNA Branville McCartney admits that he voted against the bills even though he supports same sex marriage called civil unions.  Here is what he told The Tribune 15 June:

“I think people should have rights but that’s a very touchy situation and something I can’t see happening right now, civil unions and gay marriage. For me personally, when it comes to marriage I have a difficulty. But we must always be careful with rights for people.”

 

 “I have many friends who are lesbians and gays. It’s the world we live in. I pray to the Almighty that we exercise tolerance and we don’t put ourselves in the seat of judgment and we are not there to judge anybody. We cannot be judge and jury because they may have a different way of life. We should not discriminate against a person because he is gay.”

 

So now having done the damage and voted no, he now says mea culpa.  We now know that was not the reason at all.  The only people though who suffer are not him but the women of our country and their children.

 

 

 

The Leader of the Opposition in this matter was the most remarkable.  It can best be described as hiding in the tall grass as soon as the gun was fired.

 

Let me remind him of the policy of the FNM  on these matters.

 

Here is what Hubert Ingraham had to say on the subject. That statement by the then Prime Minister has not been controverted by any government in this country since then but it certainly has not been controverted by any leader of the FNM since then.

8th March 1998:

“I believe that the hysteria being created by certain individuals against gay persons visiting The Bahamas and who represents themselves as the leadership of the Christian Council, is becoming irresponsible. I believe that the hysteria is, as is usually the case with hysteria, unfounded. It is also un-Christian.

“An individual’s right to privacy is a basic human right cherished by all people. It is a right which citizens of democratic countries expect to be respected by their Government. Quite simply, it is not the role of the Government to investigate and pass judgment on the sexual behavior of consenting adults so long as their activity is conducted in private.

“Whether a private sexual act between consenting adults is homosexual or heterosexual is not my business, and I do not think it is your business either. We cannot, and ought not try, to dictate or to legislate morality. In any event, all past efforts to do so have always failed miserably. A good example is the success of the laws against adultery. Certainly, adultery is a far greater threat to a Bahamian family life today than is homosexuality. Could we build a jail large enough to house all Bahamian adulterers? Could we exclude all other adulterers from tourists welcomed in The Bahamas. Should we exclude them?”

That was Hubert Ingraham.

 

Fred Mitchell in Trinidad

6 February 2014

 

Nothing is more contentious than this issue in our politics that I now raise, given the religious aversion, and visceral reactions to discussion of LGBT issues in our region. Some people see it as striking at the very heart and fabric of our cultural identity. The Bahamas is not an exception to that aversion with many people seeing the discussion as a moral and religious one and not a human rights one. My own political career suffers because of my insistence that in this regard like all other aspects of human life, there must be tolerance at a minimum and we must uphold the principle that the general rights for which we fought as being rights for all people, particularly as a formerly enslaved and indentured people, cannot be derogated from because of someone’s sexual orientation. In other words, when the Charter in Article III says:

“States shall, in the discharge of their legislative, executive administrative and judicial functions ensure respect for and protection of the human dignity of every person.”

That in my view means literally every person and not just confined to what Article V says:

“ No person shall be favoured or discriminated against by reason of age, colour, creed, disability, ethnicity, gender, language, place of birth or origin, political opinion, race, religion or social class.”

The Charter is a 1997 document so orientation was not included and perhaps even in today’s atmosphere cannot be included but the conversation has begun and the pressure from other societies with whom we deal is upon us to consider what our stand is on the rights of all people. Do we as a society for example condone violence against people simply because of their sexual orientation? The answer to that must be no. And if the answer is not no to that, then the charter is not worth the paper it is written on.

The Prime Ministers of Barbados Freundel Stuart and Dr. Denzil Douglas of St Christopher and Nevis have begun public discussions of these issues in their societies. The Prime Minister of Barbados even challenged the Anglican Church on the subject at their provincial synod. That was right and just. The Bahamas has decriminalized behavior associated with sexual orientation.

We have available in aid and comfort to any change to amplify the discrimination provision in the Charter, the constitution of South Africa which admits to orientation as one of the named classes for which there can be no discrimination. There are profound changes throughout the United States and Europe our main trading and cultural partners on this issue. It would be unwise to ignore it.

I often find that in drafting solutions to contentious problems that one solution is a generic one. One solution is that the Charter can become justiciable with enforceable rights across the community. Less coercively, it can be open to the Caribbean Court of Justice as the final arbiter of Community Law to adjudicate upon the Charter and declare the rights of individuals for any aggrieved individual seeking an opinion from the court declaring his rights and the wording of the provision at Article V can be reworded to read:

“ No person shall be favoured or discriminated against by reason of including but not limited to the following: age, colour, creed, disability, ethnicity, gender, language, place of birth, origin, political opinion, race, religion, social class or some other characteristic which in the opinion of the Court deserves special protection.”

Of course the short way to deal with this is simply to add orientation as one of the listed characteristics. I have no remit to pronounce on that, however and I do not do so.

What is important is that our leaders have already begun the conversation and that conversation should continue. That conversation should be underpinned with the principles of tolerance and the protection of the law for another disadvantaged group.

The late Myles Munroe went ballistic.  Never understanding what was being said

 

Against that backdrop then do I wish to defend Dame Anita Allen in the face of the withering criticism in response to her thoughtful address at the College of the Bahamas.  Here is a Judge, doing what judges do all the time and that is in an academic setting to discuss the  pertinent legal issues of the day.  Her speech was thoughtful and useful.  Yet the backlash from the same group now, embarrassed that they find themselves on the wrong side of history.

Here is what the Bahamas Information Services said about her remarks:

“Dame Anita remarked that no provision of the Marriage Act provides that the purpose of marriage is exclusively between a man and a woman.

“She said arguably, the laws of The Bahamas do not discriminate on the basis of sex and facilitate not only marriages of every description but also consummation of the same.

“If indeed there is not law which embodies a qualification that parties to an intended marriage must be respectively male and female, then arguably same sex, transgender or inter sex couples could not legally be refused authorization to marry in either a civil or religious ceremony. And if refused, may well be entitled to mandamus ordering the relevant officials to grant them permission to marry,” she said.

 

There is no reason in law for her to recuse herself from anything.  There is no case before her. She has not pronounced any result, nor fettered her discretion, nor is she involved in self-dealing.

 

The reason I have gone this route is  to ask respectfully these preachers to step back from hatred and division and seek to restore love and peace in this society. And they may say they don’t preach hate. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it, and the clear intent to is to demonize a minority group for political gain only because you don’t want women to have equal rights.  It is the modern equivalent of what led to the death of Thomas Becket when Henry II said: Who will rid me of this bothersome priest” Henry’s men took that as a signal that the King wanted Becket killed and they killed him.

I say to them preach love and not hate.

I implore them to preach love and not hate.

Tolerance and not prejudice.

Support the rights of women.

 

While in the Dominican Republic last week, I was surprised to find that a member of the LGBT community was in the DR invited by the Organization of American States to represent the civil society of the Bahamas.  She made an impassioned plea for tolerance.

She said how  people from her community in The Bahamas were being expelled from their parent’s homes, fired from their jobs, stripped of their dignity by constant taunting in school and at work and on the playing field. That the community is paying for a safe house  to ensure that people who find themselves expelled or disposed because of their orientation are properly housed.  Talked about the stigma associated with  obtaining medical treatment from health care professionals in the country because of moral judgments being made.

 

I understand all of that. But my main concern is that the demonizing of any group of people must stop and the preachers must step back from their hate, intended or not. Martin Luther King said all that counts is the content of your character.  The message of hate has gone forth and they must instead preach love.  They must find Christ.

 

I ask myself do these preachers actually look around and see who is in their churches.  Do they look to the left and  to the right?  Do they think that if these people decided to leave their churches they could survive a Sunday service.  Probably be no music for church.

I say preach love, not hate.

Mr. Speaker, the MP for Ft. Charlotte sent out a Facebook Message last evening which urged people to protest because he claims that there might be a secret deal to give economic citizenship to Chinese  in The Bahamas.

 

Here is what he said:

We know that the voices of the Bahamian people are powerful, whenever Bahamians decide to use them. However, there is no stronger message to any government than when its citizens decide to act en masse in voice and in deed.

I urge all patriotic and concerned Bahamians to email, message, text or call all PLP members of parliament, especially Prime Minister Christie, and PLP Chairman Bradley B Roberts insisting that the government disclose ALL of the details surrounding the list of DEMANDS put to them by the Chinese investors and the terms of the DEAL they have agreed to sign with those Chinese investors.

The GIVEAWAYS being negotiated include hundreds of economic citizenships, tax exemptions valued in the billions of dollars, thousands of acres of crown land, hundreds of work permits etc. Once PLP government officials hear your outcry, they will be forced to cancel a terribly bad deal that absolutely does not serve our national interest and that our country simply cannot afford.

Do not believe that you can just wait until the general elections to take action. By that time it will be too late. The damage will have already been done. Some of the PLP parliamentarians and groups here on Facebook that you can contact include: Pinewood PrideJerome Fitzgerald, Ryan Pinder,Ken Dorsett Southern ShoresKendal V O MajorPhilip Brave DavisCV Hope Strachan SeabreezePlp Women’s-Branch New-ProvidencePlp Fox Hill BranchArnold ForbesMichael DarvilleAlex StorrYoung Liberals

 

It has come to the point where these kinds of falsehoods  are trotted around lightly.  It was started by a talk show host and continues to have currency.

 

First I intervened just as I did in this statement about prejudice and racism.  Instead of joining me in that call, the Opposition’s spokesman on Foreign Affairs said I was being hypocrite because I called them out for being anti-Bahamian.  But while he is entitled to that opinion about my words, I only want to know does he condemn racism.

 

I again urge caution about racism in the public discourse.  Money has no colour and the history of this is quite clear, the Chinese investment came here with the welcome mat of Hubert Ingraham of the FNM, the conditions under which they came here were also negotiated by Mr. Ingraham and approved by him.

 

There is no special magic in Bahamar’s failure. The developer proved he could not manage his business, he failed to pay the bank and the bank foreclosed. The bank is now a mortgagee in possession with a receiver in charge The Bank can sell it to whom they want. 

 

The House will remember that long ago, the Government announced that economic citizenship was not a policy of this administration.  That continues to be the policy.  In order for that to change, it would require legislation.  That is simply not going to happen.

 

The current law is that you have to reside in The Bahamas for at least 7 years before you can apply for citizenship of the Bahamas.  There are a number of ancillary  matters which you have to fulfill before you can do so, none of them have to do with how much money you invest in the country.  They all have to do with are you in fact a Bahamian in spirit and in truth.

 

The truth then is there is no truth to the assertion of the MP on the matter of economic citizenship.

 

Some of the press have asked about the Dominican Republic and the talks with the Government there.  The matter of the exchange of gunfire was discussed with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the DR. He spoke immediately with the Commandant of their Navy.  The navy said that they received a report about the incident from the fishing company concerned and an investigation is underway.  Once that investigation is done then the results of the report will be shared with us. 

 

The point I make though is not what the DR does is that we do.  We should enforce our laws with strength and vigour.  The RBDF has the equipment to do so  and the rules of engagement allow them to use weapons when  the call for force is necessary.

I want to draw your attention to the section in the report on the passport office.  The passport office faces a number of challenges which means there is significant backlog for passports.  This is a combination of equipment breakdowns, transition to new equipment, lack of resources and manpower, the demand for the e passport.   The wait is now eight weeks.  The passport can be expedited with the payment of the 200 dollar fee.

 

This fee cannot be waived by the minister.  The fee can only be waived on the grounds of medical emergency or student returning to school.

Please plan your trips accordingly.

 

I wish the public to be aware of the issues around US visas.  We are concerned about the anecdotal reports of arbitrary and capricious refusals of visas by personnel in the US consular section.   The Bahamas Ministry of Foreign Affairs cannot address individual complaints.  US Visa decisions are subjective.  But we have raised the concern that people who have been traveling all along unimpeded suddenly seem for no obvious reason to fall afoul of their decision making.  This has caused us concern.  We are in touch with US authorities about these concerns.

 

I want to issue some advice especially to parents of high school aged athletes.  The US Embassy has told us that the rejection rate of applicants from this age group is about fifty percent.  It has raised the question in their offices about visa fraud.  The problem appears to be that some schools that students are applying for are not acceptable.  They have been engaged in practices which appear to violate trafficking in person’s laws.  They give students the promise of scholarships and then when the students get there their passports are withheld, the students have to work for their keep, their passports are withdrawn and they are withheld from access to their parents. 

 

We are asking parents to exercise in light of those facts a great degree of caution in promoting the applications of students to these schools in the US.

 

Before leaving Foreign Affairs, I would point out the allocation for UN Peace Keeping.  Last year this was inexplicably not included in the list of payees and we found out mid-year that we owed some 3 million dollars for UN Peacekeeping.  The allocation this year is 1.2  million and this is meant to help reduce that bill.

 

In turning to Immigration, the issue I think is the fact that we got 1.5 million dollars last year for the Budget for repatriation.  This year that has been cut to 800,000.  We have made it clear that this is insufficient given that  we have spent 1.7 million this year and there is every indication that the migrant population is increasing, particularly from Cuba.   We have been assured that we will get the money we need and get it expeditiously.

 

Further, the public should be advised that there is an uptick in the number of Cuban detainees coming through The Bahamas.  These people present serious security challenges for the detention centre.  We are working with the Cuban authorities to find more effective ways to move them out of The Bahamas and return them home.

 

I have read the comments of the MP for Elizabeth on the services for work permits and permanent residence.  I agree with the complaints.  Efforts are being made to streamline the procedures and to make them more transparent.  I think that what is required is a substantial increase in the cost of permanent residence in  particular and I intend to make recommendations on this shortly.

 

Finally, I wish to address the people of Fox Hill to whom I shall be asking for their support for the fourth consecutive time.

I think that we have found the resources to substantially complete the Community Centre which has been used by the community since 2007.

 I hope that you are happy with my leadership and satisfied that I have done the best I could in trying circumstances to warrant re-election. I have tried to remain in touch.

I will be dedicating the next campaign to the fight for women’s rights. Having seen what happened in the last referendum campaign I am more convinced than ever that there is a need to address this issue.  The issue is not just about the legal rights of women but about their self-image and self-esteem. I am concerned that the Euro centric interests are so dominant that it disfigures Black women and this should stop.  Young Black girls should know and appreciate their bodies and faces and see them in a positive image and likeness and not try to reach some ideal which does not exist and which is harmful to their self-esteem and this includes their hair.

I say this against the backdrop of the work which women do in the politics of our country.  Like the church,  the politics of the country could not survive without the work and support of women. I pledge the remainder of my public life in that fight.

 

At the same time, I am concerned that the little boys and young men in Fox Hill should be taught their role as protectors and keepers of the peace, not to create havoc and war. 

 

This must start when the children are in primary school.  That is why so many of the resources of the state are spent on primary school education.  We still need at Sandilands Primary a pre-school.  This is a priority for me. Education generally is the key to forward progress.  I thank my colleague the Minister of Education for all the support given to the three schools n Fox Hill Doris Johnson,  L W Young and Sandilands Primary. The three principals James Clarke, Janet Nixon and Esther Cartwright.

 

I single out Mrs. Nixon who will with the close of the school year end 45 years as an educator, the last 7 of them as Principal of the LW Young School. I thank her for her leadership and I wish her well in her future endeavours.

 

I dedicate all that I do to find work for young men and women who bear the brunt of unemployment.  I dedicate my every working hour to addressing this problem.

 

It is left only for me to say God Bless the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.  I will support these Budget resolutions.

 

I now lay the report on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration.

end

FRED MITCHELL’S BUDGET STATEMENT

06/26/16 12 AM

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The Budget statement on 20 June of Fred Mitchell, the Minister of Foreign Affairs covered several items: the condemnation of the preachers who were involved in the “no vote” campaign; information about US visa issuance and  information on immigration.  The press chose to fasten on to the issue of  the statement calling for tolerance not demonizing the LGBT community.  You may click here for the full statement.  The photo is by Peter Ramsay of the Bahamas Information Services.

Fred Mitchell Thanks His Workers For Referendum

06/12/16 12 AM

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viagra buy times;”>The following statement as issue by Fred Mitchell MP for Fox Hill for those who helped him in the referendum campaign and the voting day on 7 June:    Mr. Mitchell is shown greeting voters on 7 June outside Sandilands Primary School 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

8 June 2017 

I wish to thank all of the members of the team who worked with me in the Fox Hill Constituency to ensure a free and fair referendum exercise yesterday on 7 June. Do not despair. Keep your chin up always. 

I was pleased to work with you to be a part of the fight for equality for women and children in The Bahamas. It was the right thing to do.  In democracy things sometimes turn out the way they have. 

Notwithstanding the result, our work continues to expand the rights for all people. My commitment to freedom for all continues.  My commitment to service to the Fox Hill community continues.  Let us not skip a beat.  Let us be upbeat as we begin to work anew for justice and equality for all. 

One thing we know today is that the sun has come up.  The world has not come to an end. Contrary to the negative message, the sky has not fallen.  We are yet alive. 

 As long as there is life there is hope. Let us all continue to work to ensure a better Fox Hill and a better Bahamas. I thank those who turned out to vote for their participation in the exercise of citizen democracy. It is a rare event and it was a useful exercise.  My best to all, friend and foe alike. 

End

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