Categorized | National News

Cuban Report Haunts Gov’t

The Christie administration is conflicted over a report into alleged abuse at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre, with the prime minister weighing several options on how to deal with it.

The Bahamas has been the subject of intense criticism ever since allegations surfaced that Defence Force officers severely beat Cuban detainees.

Last week, the Free National Movement (FNM) claimed that Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell was involved in a cover-up of international proportions.

FNM Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis claimed that the abuse was so bad that some of the detainees had to be taken to the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH).

On Monday, Prime Minister Perry Christie said he has no problem with making the report surrounding the alleged abuse of Cuban detainees public when it is complete.

Mr. Christie said as long as he presents the idea to his cabinet and his ministers agree then he sees no issue with revealing the findings of the investigation.

On Sunday, Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell announced that he supports the idea of making the report public.

Last week, human rights watchdog Amnesty International criticised The Bahamas, namely the former Ingraham administration, for not releasing the results of a 2009 investigation it did surrounding Cuban nationals as well.

“I never had a difficulty about publishing reports which are the results of investigations, unless those reports have some relationship with people’s rights for the courts,” Mr. Christie said.
“This includes a possible prosecution and some implication to that. Obviously subject to advice of a legal nature, I have no issue with publishing the report.”

“Moving forward, where a matter is of such public importance I think I would have to speak to my colleagues in cabinet. But I expect a decision to be made to let the Bahamian people know exactly what has taken place, except that there is a vice that might endanger any further steps that have to be taken. This includes being done for anyone that may be impugned as a result of the investigation.”

The nation’s chief also said he had no issue with allowing the media to tour the Carmichael Road Detention Center.

In fact, he said he would like to tag along for the tour.

“If there is some implication to the security and the conditions there then I will take that into consideration,” he said.

“But as far as the Bahamian press is concerned, I would be surprised if there is a difficulty in that regard. If there is some rule preventing that, other than national security concerns, then I’ll have to be briefed on that. I would like to go with you [the press] and see that we have the same concerns that are taking place.”

Mr. Christie said he would like to see The Bahamas get to the same place as the US where when migrants are spotted in waters, they are held until patrol officers from their country are able to apprehend them rather than bringing them in to the detention center.

Housing and feeding these detainees, Mr. Christie said, is taking up too many resources that could be used for other things.

However, he added that The Bahamas is in a predicament where it would have to treat detainees as humanely as possible until they are granted asylum in a third country or deported to their country.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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