It got to the point on Saturday 20th September 2019 that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had to issue a statement saying that the foreign nationals in The Bahamas are safe and that there is no specific danger to them. The ministry’s announcement said that all nationals of all countries who were affected by the storms were welcome in the shelters and that there was no discrimination based on nationality.
They had to do that because in the weeks since Hurricane Dorian hit The Bahamas, there has been a raging battle in the general media and especially in social media about Haitians in The Bahamas. The Government gave the impression that they would be soft on immigration and allow the people who lived in The Mud to integrate themselves into The Bahamas without regard to the law. The Mud is that area now destroyed in Marsh Harbour, Abaco where the report and belief is that the illegal Haitian population has been squatting for years. Most Bahamians now think that the hurricane did what governments failed to do.
The problem is that the arguments now seem to be nearing violence against Haitians in The Bahamas and Haitians against Bahamians. The diplomats of Haiti have not helped by issuing statements to say that The Bahamas should accept the illegal population or words to that fact. They also have said that Haiti cannot help the refugees either. That has incensed Bahamians.
The picture that you see at the top of the column is said to be a sign outside the village of Staniard Creek in Andros and it warns Haitians not to come in Staniard Creek.
For years it is aid that the people of Long Island would not tolerate one Haitian living on the island of Long Island.
There is a raging battle on the talk shows about this. People like Rodney Moncur are very tolerant of the Haitian population with the view that many Bahamian families are Haitian anyway and the Haitians are no different from us.
Fred Smith, the Q C, has been blamed for creating the mess. The Nassau Guardian ran a headline with him denying that he has blood on his hands. The argument is by many that he is responsible for blocking the Government from destroying the shanty towns in Abaco and now that the people were killed in the hurricane, he is the one who must carry the responsibility or it
He made the situation worse for himself by arguing now that the Government cannot stop people from rebuilding on the property in The Mud.
The whites in Abaco are adamant that the Haitians have been looting and stealing their goods in the aftermath of the hurricane. So that is another flash point.
We think that Fred Smith’s citizenship should be revoked. So, whatever he says should be discounted and the courts should toss out any action which he brings.
That does not however discount the underlying problem which the Government must help to solve. It must tamp down this anti Haitian sentiment in the country. It is not healthy and it is not fair. Their failure to do this will in fact mean that they will have blood on their hands if anything was to go down.