Thursday, October 12, 2017
By Fred Smith QC
THE Bahamas is now being thrown from the frying pan into the fire.
What makes this worse than under the PLP administration is that Prime Minister Minnis keeps talking about respecting law and order and the rule of law.
What he and his cabinet intentionally fail to understand is that the immigration policy enforcement is so illegal.
All due process has been thrown out of the window!
How does “The Government” or “the Immigration Department”, or the “Immigration Officer” know someone is an “illegal”?
On what legal basis can the government justify falsely imprisoning and calling it “detention” as if that’s supposed to make it okay?
It is only the court that is the judge and jury under our constitution, not an immigration officer nor the director of immigration, nor the government!
I thought this FNM administration as promised by the Prime Minister would respect the rule of law as he pledged when he took his oath of office at Government House.
I was there; I watched; I listened; I had hope!
Respecting the rule of law means taking people who are suspected of being “illegal” before a court, charging them and letting the judicial system deal with their guilt or innocence.
Once proven guilty, then the government can execute the judgment.
Whether it is to deport, or to imprison in accordance with the sentence imposed by a judicial authority.
For the last five years and now continuing under the FNM government, they have failed to abide by the provisions of the Education Act, Criminal Procedure Code, the Constitution, or the Immigration Act.
It is the government that is acting completely outside of law and order.
No wonder crime is rampant in this country when there is so much lawlessness at the highest level of governance.
And, if the government is really interested in stopping corruption at the Immigration Department and at the Carmichael Concentration Camp, then deal with people in accordance with the law, not in accordance with some illegal policies of the Immigration Department.
If the Prime Minister, cabinet ministers, Director of Immigration ,etc. cannot see and understand everything they have been doing is completely lawless, illegal and an abuse of the rule of law then they are being intentionally blind.
They are pandering to a xenophobic public.
They don’t see that huge human resources are being wasted and squandered; the taxpayers’ money being squandered in these raids, detentions and deportations instead of making thousands of people positive, contributing members of our society.
That is why I say the Bahamas has now been thrown from the frying pan into the fire.
Minnis is the New Mitchell and he is a Menace to The Rule of Law!
I say this because those in power now know better!
They have been educated.
I have advised them.
I have spoken with them.
I have explained it to them.
Judges have done the same thing... again and again and again!
The international community has.
They were part of the Opposition opposing this kind of conduct and they pledged themselves to the rule of law.
They are being intentionally criminally illegal in their application of the immigration laws and the Education Act.
This is a disgrace and Rights Bahamas intends to fight this as hard as possible.
I wish I could be expending my energies in constructive, positive, uplifting ways instead of having to fight the evil policies of this FNM government yet again for another five years.
Similarly with the spy Bill.
It is worse than the PLP spy Bill.
What could possibly possess this FNM administration to come to the Bahamian public and then take away their right to privacy so abusively.
Pure hypocrisy on the part of the FNM.
And why do we need a spy agency?
This Government doesn’t even have any money to pay the national debt; education; hospital; teacher salaries; and Freeport continues to deteriorate!
There are so many socially uplifting, culturally developmental, economically expanding and environmentally profound policies that can be adopted by the government.
What the government needs to do instead of threatening the alleged “illegals” – and let us remember that everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty – is to spend time and energy and resources in regularizing people who have been here for decades; who have been born here; who have citizenship rights; who have residency rights!
Then the government should start to legally arrest, take before the courts and prosecute both alleged illegals and employers!
This can be done in a humane, systematic, orderly, cost effective and legal way.
What is the public policy sense in going on an illegal rage and rampage of illegal behaviour and to continue breaking law and order and to continue to disrespect the rule?
It is shocking how an administration that has been given a unique mandate to dramatically change the Bahamas for the better is so lackluster, visionless and barren of ideas they should continue to follow in the steps of the PLP.
Does the FNM really have nothing positive to contribute to the development of good governance in the Bahamas?
What happened to the Freedom of Information Act?
What happened to resurrecting the Grand Bahama economy?
With this announcement, by the Prime Minister nonetheless, the FNM administration has shown itself to be nothing more than a PLP Fred Mitchell copycat!
I urge the government to rethink this declaration of war against the rule of law!
Stop, consult with public and civil society on the immigration issues, and develop a constructive and positive plan.
I am sickened by this approach.
It is a human rights disgrace.
And yes it was a wonderful humanitarian gesture for the Prime Minister to open the arms of the Bahamas to assist our neighbours in Dominica, but not at the expense of abusing children born in the Bahamas to their own right to education!
Especially, how can the government in good conscience, invite, with open arms, children from Dominica into our public schools, at the Bahamian taxpayers expense, when children born in the Bahamas can’t even go to public school because of the illegal immigration and Ministry of Education policies?
I am so so disappointed, discouraged and exhausted by this lackluster, visionless and unthinking FNM administration which is just following in the footsteps of illegal PLP policies!