Categorized | Featured, National News

Gov’t To Remain Strong Over Cuban Protests


Government officials need to “stand their ground” on the Cuban protests happening in Miami, according to Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Fred Mitchell.

Mr. Mitchell, who briefed reporters on the issue yesterday, said he does not plan on meeting with the protestors at all.

Protestors demonstrated at the Port of Miami over the weekend over what they deem as abuse of Cubans at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre.

“We ought to stiffen our spines on this matter and show our resolve,” Minister Mitchell told reporters.

“This is The Bahamas and we do not mistreat detainees. If there are any specific allegations of abuse of detainees, bring those matters to the relevant authorities and they will be investigated in due course. The anger of the protestors is misdirected. What they want are these people to be in the United States so if they want that they need to speak to the authorities there and we’ll be more than happy to release them if they have a country to go to.”

The immigration minister said some of these people were paroled out on the basis of the interviews from the UN Human Rights Commission.

“The next thing we knew was that the US Coast Guard arrested some of these same individuals for smuggling so they were re-detained,” he said.

“Then this campaign about The Bahamas starts about us abusing these detainees so some of the detainees were removed from the Detention Centre for causing disruptions. As far as I know, no one was abused or mistreated. We happen to find ourselves geographically fixed between two countries who don’t get along – Cuba and the United States.”

Minister Mitchell said the decision over whether government officials meet with protestors is “above his pay grade.”

“But my advice is that we don’t meet,” he said.

“This has to be settled at the international between Cuba and United States. The Cuban government in January proposed that we re-open migration talks on the question on these issues. We have agreed and the prime minister has asked myself and the minister of national security to arrange high-level meetings to see if we can discuss the way forward as soon as possible. It’s complicated.”

He said not everyone is going to always like The Bahamas or how the government operates.

“Independence is not a static thing,” he said.

“As discomforting as this is, we simply have to stiffen our resolve in the face of the criticism. You’re not going to always be popular. Ministry of tourism officials are however trying to see how they can best de-escalate this issue by speaking to high-level Bahamians in Miami to speak with the Cuban American community to see how we can best come to an understanding.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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