Categorized | National News

FNM Chairman Defends US Legislators

Free National Movement (FNM) Chairman Darron Cash has come to the defense of US legislators after Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell hit back at them for criticising The Bahamas.

Mr. Cash in a press statement yesterday expressed his disappointment in Minister Mitchell for statements he made to the media.

Mr. Mitchell was quoted responding to US Republican Congresswoman Illeana Ros-Lehtinen as saying, “She does not speak for the US government as so she is just another voice crying in the wilderness.”

Yesterday Ms. Ros-Lehtinen and other members of the US Congress wrote a letter to Prime Minister Perry Christie about their disapproval in 24 Cubans being repatriated to their hometown of Cuba.

They believe the Cubans would inevitably be abused for fleeing the country.

Mr. Cash, however, doesn’t feel Mr. Mitchell’s words towards the US congresswoman and her colleagues were warranted.
“Representative Ros-Lehtinen and the other Members of Congress who wrote to Prime Minister Christie are members of a co-equal branch of the US government. They are not insignificant,” he said.

“They have considerable influence with the US State Department. Importantly, a number of the persons that Minister Mitchell is dismissing as insignificant are persons who have used their positions for the benefit of The Bahamas. They are our allies and are worthy of for more respect than Minister Mitchell is according them.”

“Specifically in the case of US Representative Ros-Lehtinen, she is a former Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, former Chairman of the House Sub Committees on Middle East and Central Asia, International Economic Policy & Trade, and Vice Chairman of the Sub Committee on the Western Hemisphere. These are all very powerful Congressional committees.”

Mr. Cash said it is very unclear what the minister of foreign affairs hopes to achieve by denigrating this important congresswoman.

According to Mr. Cash, Minister Mitchell and the government is making foreign affairs worse as the Honorary Consul for Panama, David McGrath, has been waiting almost a week for a meeting with Bahamian foreign affairs officials.

“This is entirely at odds with the statement made by Minister Mitchell on Sunday when he suggested that he was awaiting information from Panamanian officials about whether asylum would be granted to some or all of the Cuban detainees,” he said.

“If we interpret correctly Mr. Mitchell’s comments about powerful US Congressmen, then it seems that Mr. McGrath is simply not sufficiently important for the minister to waste his time in a meeting.”

Mr. Cash said the FNM is extremely concerned over the safety of Bahamians stationed at The Bahamas Consulate in Miami as there have been threats from Cuban-American protesters.

He said, “We are grateful for their continued service to our country and assure them of the FNM’s continued support for the work they do in serving our national interests. In response to threats made against our staff overseas, we have taken note of the stated commitment of US government officials to ensure their safety. We are deeply appreciative of this important measure of support.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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