THE WEEK IN THE BAHAMAS BY ELCOTT COLEBY (29th Dec 2014 – 2nd Jan 2015)

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In last week’s commentary, I reported on several vessels interdicted in Bahamian waters transporting illegal immigrants, specifically at Barre Tarre Exuma.


Well, in a race against time and with limited resources on this family island, immigration officers transported the migrants from the landing point to the relative safety of an auditorium in Ramsay Exuma, some thirty-five minutes away, before transport to Nassau via a Royal Bahamas Defence Force patrol vessel for further processing. If the 119 migrants were not removed to relative safety before night fall, that would have created additional safety and security risks for both the officers and the migrants.


In the age and culture of social media, someone photographed the transport operations and the photograph of migrants sitting on a detached flatbed trailer with a removable screened metal tailgate later appeared on social media. Immediately the Grand Bahama Human Rights Association issued a press statement, referred to the image in their statement and accusing the Bahamas government of treating illegal migrants like “caged animals” and inhumanely.


The Department of Immigration quickly responded, pointing out that the construction being given to the photo by “those who are seeking to sabotage the policy of the Department is that somehow the migrants were being mistreated and being held in inhumane conditions. That is a false and malicious construction of events. The photo and comments appear designed to defame the Department” said the department in a press statement 


“The people in the photo” continued the statement, “were sitting on the back of a flatbed transport or trailer with an open end at the back of the trailer secured by a removable metal tailgate. The trailer was used to ferry the individuals from where they landed in Exuma to the holding facility the E C McKenzie auditorium in Ramsay, Exuma.” 


The migrants were held at that auditorium overnight before transport by the Royal Bahamas Defence Force to Nassau. “At no time was any person under the care or supervision of the Department of Immigration kept in inhumane conditions” concluded the statement.




First the winner of the Boxing Day Junkanoo Parade were the Shell Saxons Superstars with 86.17 points  followed by Roots, One Family and the Valley Boys to round out the top four in the “A” Group category. The fourth place Valley Boys were penalized a whopping 10 penalty points. This was Saturday, the 27th December 2014.


Later that day the amended and final parade results placed One Family as the overall winner with the Saxons placing second, Roots third and the Valley Boys remaining in fourth place. It was also reported that the Junkanoo Commission of New Providence (JCNP) convened an emergency meeting to address the controversy, public anger and rancor emanating from the parade results inclusive of excessive delays.


Coming out of the meeting was a decision to reduce the number of laps from three to one total lap for the New Year’s Day Junkanoo Parade – one on Bay Street and one on Shirley Street for the larger “A” Groups

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. This decision was intended to shorten the parade and it drew angry responses from the two major Junkanoo groups, the Valley Boys and the Saxons. During the vote, the Valley Boys abstained and representatives from the Shell Saxons Superstars did not bother to attend the meeting to cast a vote.