lundi 31 août 2015


Politicians from all parties fear the power of a Haitian-Bahamian voting block and are complicit in the illegal and unconstitutional policies regarding citizenship in the Bahamas, Fred Smith argues
#I am a firm believer in giving credit where credit is due. I agree with Dr Andre Rollins who said that Fred Mitchell poses a “clear and present danger” to the continued development of democracy in The Bahamas. #In my opinion, Fred Mitchell is a long term racist schemer and political opportunist.
#And, as Nicki Kelly so accurately said in her article in The Punch on August 13: “There is little that Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell does without malice aforethought”. She goes on to say, again historically accurately: “And since it is always Mr Mitchell’s wont to fire up racial discord as part of his political arsenal.”
#So, permit me to share the full extent and objectives of what I suspect these malicious multi-pronged racist and ethnically targeted policies are towards the Haitian-Bahamian community in the Bahamas.
#First, the policies are not the personal expressions of Fred Mitchell, although he is no doubt the architect of these malignancies.
#Second, the policies have been 100 per cent supported, adopted, encouraged and fully executed and maintained by the current Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) government.
#Third, the policies, from inception, have been 100 per cent embraced by the Free National Movement (FNM), the official Opposition, which has maintained that they stand “shoulder to shoulder with the government.“
#Fourth, the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) have likewise fully supported and encouraged the policies.
#Fifth, after all the abuses manifested by the policies were exposed, the FNM have been invited - and have been provided with multiple opportunities - to distance themselves from the government policies but have failed to do so.
#In the lower and upper houses of Parliament, the FNM voted unanimously to support the 2015 Amendments to the Immigration Act which have purported to legalise some aspects of the PLP policies.
#One of the main reasons that all three political parties find the policies attractive is their political insecurity and fear of what they are now observing as the potential “Haitian-Bahamian political voting block”.
#It is one that they cannot control; it has the potential for growing extremely large, powerful and articulate; and it is legally entitled to grow and therefore must be “contained”. Which is why Fred Mitchell becomes overly excited every time I publicly urge the Haitian-Bahamian community to politically organise, to promote and protect their interests and rights, and make sure that he and other abusive MPs are not re-elected and/or get their own MPs elected.
#The unstated but long term full extent and objective of the PLP, and adopted by default, by the FNM and DNA, is to rid The Bahamas of as many people who are identified ethnically as “Haitians”, lest the Haitian “pestilence” overrun and overwhelm The Bahamas.
#This ethnic cleansing objective is being achieved by making it as difficult as possible for those who are here and have legal, moral, ethical and internationally recognised rights to have those rights recognised and/or to be accorded the legal status to which they may be entitled by various provisions of the Constitution, the Immigration Act, International Conventions or otherwise.
#That is quite a different policy than the one which is perfectly legal pursuant to the provisions of the Bahamas Immigration Act and accepted by international norms and practices, which is to humanely prevent illegal immigration. I have no quarrel with enforcement of the law, and neither does the Grand Bahama Human Rights Association or other NGOs.
#But once again, Fred Mitchell is not only holding the Rule of Law and the Constitution in contempt by threatening to burn it as he did in 1989, but now that he is an actual power, he is using the police and executive power of the State to execute illegal and unconstitutional policies.
#The underpinning of these illegal policies is the overarching illegal requirement that Fred Mitchell has illegally proclaimed by ministerial diktat that all persons in The Bahamas are required to be “documented”.
#There is no such law passed by Parliament; there is no such law found in our Constitution; there is no such common law; there is no such judge-made law; there is no international convention or law to that effect. Being “documented” is the aberrant brainchild of Fred Mitchell.
#Being documented was the fulcrum of Hitler’s discrimination against the Jews, the United States’ internment of American citizens of Japanese heritage during World War II, and South Africa’s abuse of blacks under Apartheid.
#This illegal and discriminatory policy is being achieved by various means, but ultimately by forcing every person in The Bahamas who is of Haitian ethnic origin and who does not currently hold a Bahamian passport, to get a Haitian passport even though they were
#1 born in The Bahamas before independence in 1973 and entitled to be a Bahamian citizen; or
#2 born in The Bahamas after 1973 and are entitled to be registered under article 7 of the Constitution; or
#3 entitled to apply after 19 to be naturalised and get citizenship.
#I suspect that when these persons of Haitian heritage, all born in The Bahamas, pursue their applications for citizenship, their applications will either never be determined or will be refused, by the thousands, and when not dealt with (as has been the historical position) or refused, they will then be directed to make arrangements to leave The Bahamas because, perversely, their Haitian passports, issued in The Bahamas, will not have a visa from the government entitling them to be here.
#This will then be used as the lawful reason to deport them. Many more thousands will simply be left in a “Belongers Permit Limbo Land”.
#This is not a short term policy objective. This policy has been embraced by the PLP administration, the FNM and the DNA.
#Accordingly, it is a policy that will become embedded, ubiquitous and endemic in Bahamian political governance and will continue to be implemented aggressively by successive administrations of whichever flavour of the day.
#The government will, on a continuous and ongoing basis, effect mass deportations of every person who is not a citizen, ie those whose applications have not been determined and/or have been refused.
#So in The Bahamas, the government will use this legal justification, just as in the Dominican Republic, where they have passed a law stripping all Dominican Republicans of Haitian ethnic origin of their Dominican citizenship going back generations.
#The new “Belongers Permit“ will not be of any assistance to:
#1 Those who apply for citizenship after the age of 19 as the government has already stated that such a permit will only be given to persons who have applied under article 7 (2).
#2 Those who apply for citizenship under article 7 (2) but who cannot show and produce documentation for the legal status of their parentage; those persons, despite their entitlement by being born in The Bahamas will simply not be able to apply for the belongers permit
#3 Those who are born in The Bahamas before 1973 as they, too, will be unable to produce documentation for the legal status of their parentage as required by the belongers permit application form.
#Deviously, the children of persons born in The Bahamas of Haitian heritage are also being required to obtain a passport from Haiti. Accordingly, when the continuous deportations begin of the Bahamian-born persons who have children, in accordance with what The Bahamas government will proclaim as “humanitarian internationally recognised norms”, their children, all of whom are second or third generation born in The Bahamas, will also be deported on the perverse basis that, “humanely”, they should remain with their parents.
#This is a malevolent master plan that the Fred Mitchell and the PLP have cooked up and which the FNM and the DNA have - without one dissenting voice - embraced.
#And, the master plan and objective will then be easily executed on a continuous basis, because all of the targeted deportees, including all of their children, will now have valid Haitian passports to be shipped back to Haiti ... A country none of them have ever seen or known, even though they were born in The Bahamas and have rights to be here.
#The courts of The Bahamas will not be able to deal with this as there will be too many cases of abuse. The judicial system is already clogged with thousands of unheard cases and the delays unavoidable; the Executive branch of the government does not recognise any judicial precedent set for one person as being a principle applicable to all persons in a similar category; there is no publicly funded legal aid; most persons will not be able to afford legal representation for these kinds of immigration human rights matters; most persons will not even know what their legal rights may be; and lastly there are very few lawyers (out of nearly 2,000) who are available on a pro bono basis to assist.
#Let it not be forgotten also that the Haitian government is complicit in this illegal policy, by going along with the programme and providing, at the insistence of the Bahamas government, passports to persons born in The Bahamas, notwithstanding that the Haitian government knows that these Bahamian-born applicants do not wish to be citizens of Haiti, but are being forced to obtain Haitian passports by the illegal policies of the Bahamian government.
#Lastly, I maintain there is no legal requirement for anybody to be “documented” in the Bahamas.
#Indeed, as can be seen from the accompanying official publication of the Registrar General of The Bahamas, responsible for registering births and deaths in The Bahamas, the only document we really need if born here is a birth certificate.