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Fred Smith 2

Fred Smith 2A chaotic scene developed at the Carmichael Detention Center yesterday morning following a brief standoff between Immigration officers and Rights Bahamas President and Human Rights attorney Fred Smith, that ultimately led to the Queen’s Counsel being forcibly removed from the Center.

The incident  took place shortly before 11:00am  as Mr. Smith came to see his client, 33-year-old Jean- Rony- Jean Charles who is currently detained at the Detention center, but was refused by the immigration department.

In an interview after the incident, the QC gave The Journal his description of the events.

“I was around the gate talking to Defence Force officers and periodically asking Immigration officers to see my client and I couldn’t get any response. So I walked to the Immigration administration office and the door was locked.

“Subsequently, the Defence officers told me to leave and I told them my client has a right to see me.  I was insistent on speaking to the Immigration Superintendent and instead of allowing me to, they picked me up physically and ejected me from inside the building and physically removed me,” Mr. Smith said.

Mr. Smith told The Journal that incidents such as this one only highlights what he calls the breakdown of the rule of law at the Detention Center.

“I keep talking about Immigration being completely out of control. Not only can they now physically arrest and detain people indefinitely, but they can deny people access to attorneys.

“Their constitutional rights are being breached in every way possible. There has been a general breakdown in immigration in our country.

“Immigration thinks they are the law themselves and are answerable to no one, they don’t think the law applies to them. It’s as if they are some super law that is above the constitution,” Mr. Smith said.

The Rights Bahamas president then pointed the finger at politicians who he accused of helping to create this culture; namely current PLP Chairman and former Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell.

He added that politicians continue to feed the notion that Immigration is above the law and do whatever they want to do.

Calls were made to Director of Immigration William Pratt, but they were not returned up to press time.

Mr. Smith has been very vocal about the government’s hardline immigration ultimatum that calls on illegal immigrants  of all nationalities to leave the country by December 31st.

The government has vowed that the apprehensions will be humane and within the law. However, Mr. Smith has repeatedly condemned them as  being unlawful. 


Written by Jones Bahamas

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