Categorized | National News

No Fallout From Cuban Protests

Even though Cuban protesters in Miami have intensified their demonstrations against The Bahamas a top Cabinet minister says the protests have had no impact on the country and there has been no fallout.

Miami-based Cuban exile group, Democracy Movement has been protesting against The Bahamas for months after allegations surfaced that Defence Force officers had severely abused Cuban detainees at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre.

The group, which is headed by Ramon Sanchez, has protested against all Bahamas-bound cruise ships. It has also protested outside of the Bahamas Consulate office in Miami.

“My judgment is that there has been no impact and there is no fallout,” Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell said yesterday during a news conference at the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA).

“I say again, this is a matter, which is largely confined to Dade County and Broward County of Miami. It is driven, in part, by the continued fascination which the local press appears to have with this matter and really giving these people more light than they deserve.”

Mr. Mitchell continued, “The fact is they have engaged in what appears to be blackmail of this country and we simply can’t support it on that basis and those are just the facts.”

Tempers flared among Democracy Movement officials after a Bahamian newspaper released a report purporting to prove that Cuban detainees were in fact abused.

Minister Mitchell has repeatedly stressed that the investigation into the alleged abuse is not complete.

Asked when that report would be complete he said, “It’s a matter with the National Security Ministry and they’ll be able to tell you the way forward.”

During yesterday’s news conference, Mr. Mitchell was asked whether The Bahamas would soon implement a national identification card as a way of curbing the illegal immigration problem.

“I had indicated that given the anxieties that the Bahamian public has about the question of migration and the impact of migration on this country that the strict enforcement that they were calling for meant that you would have to have some type of national identification document,” he said.
“What I said is when people call for this they have to also understand that there are civil liberties implications to these things because what it means essentially is if you want more enforcement . . . people have to get used to the idea of being stopped on the streets and asked do you have an identity card or something which identifies you with being in The Bahamas.”

He added, “So we want to be sure that everybody has some document which identifies themselves as having a legal right to be in The Bahamas. One idea is to go to this idea of a national identity document. Now, obviously there has to be a lot of discussion about that because that takes things to a whole other level in the country. But, I always say, be careful what you ask for. Immigration is a blunt instrument; there’s no subtlety to it; it’s a law enforcement procedure, we need to bring it under control so various measures are going to be advanced to try and move that agenda forward.”

Minister Mitchell was also asked whether he would support a national ID card system.

“I don’t want to go so far as to say that I personally support it. What I’m saying is there are a range of policy initiatives that can be advanced, one of them is that. The question is which way the public goes with it. It’s something I think people can live with, but you have to determine that that’s what you want to live with,” he said.

“It’s like roadblocks. There was a court case brought by an attorney in Freeport that challenged the right of the police to stop everybody in a roadblock. And the then chief justice agreed that the . . . stopping of people in roadblocks was unconstitutional because it violated the question of reasonable suspicion. He said you can’t reasonably suspect everybody of committing a crime. That was in the 1980s, now we’re in 2013. Societal standards, I would bet, have changed and the Bahamian public is probably not so agitated about that given the crime problems. So at various junctures in a society’s life policy initiatives change and things become more acceptable or less acceptable. In the range of policy initiatives that are available that that’s one of the things that the public might want to consider.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Watch JCN Channel 14 Shows

Jcn Channel 14

Sign in now to see your channels and recommendations!

Join Us on Facebook