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Fred Smith 2

Queen’s Counsel  Fred Smith recently expressed concerns surrounding the country’s law enforcement agencies and their treatment of Bahamians citizens over the years.

 Mr. Smith said that the behavior of officers from Immigration and the Royal Bahamas Defense Force (RBDF), in particular, have been most regrettable. 

He added that there have been many officers from these organizations that have often broken the law in their treatment of the public, often being the subject of litigation. 

While he admitted that officers with high ethical standards do exist; he said that those bad apples often infect the grand scheme of matters. 

He said, “one of the big challenges The Bahamas faces is that we have such a dramatic deficiency in financial and human resources to properly manage the laws that have been passed by Parliament to be able to conduct investigations properly.”

With growing complaints of law enforcement agencies being answerable or controlled by politicians, Mr. Smith said that the problem with The Bahamas is that politicians have been able to infect many regulatory agencies  in which they have no authority to do.

“You have the Bahamas Investment Authority that doesn’t exist in law, you have the B.E.S.T. Commission [Bahamas Environment, Scientific, and Technology Commission] that doesn’t exist in law.”, he said.

“The Bahamas continues to really be run from a political directorate of the Almighty. The Office of the Prime Minister is the Office of the Dictatorship of The Bahamas, whether its FNM or PLP. The amount of political power it wields is grossly inappropriate in a democratic country,”, he added. 

On the topic of immigration, Mr. Smith asked, “how do we continue to accept a society that holds people indefinitely without taking them before a court?”

He added that immigration has become “a law unto itself”.

He said, “I’ve always lamented the fact that if we continue to behave that way, one day someone like Fred Mitchell is going to use that force to do things that are undemocratic in The Bahamas, as he was doing while he was Minister of Immigration.”

He added, “what we need to do is to stop pretending that we have an immigration problem with the people who are born here, and to give them the citizenship that they are entitled to under the Constitution and focus our resources on preventing the influx year after year.”

“Stop riding around in your yellow bus picking up people at random and holding them indefinitely at the taxpayer’s cost.”, he said. 

He added that if The Bahamas is going to aspire to be a first world country, it must improve the way it treats its citizens.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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