Thursday, October 12, 2017
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis is a “menace to the rule of law” in the Bahamas, Grand Bahama Human Rights Association President Fred Smith has
In his harshest rebuke yet of the leader he supported in the general election, Mr Smith called Dr Minnis the “New Mitchell,” likening him to the former Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell with whom he has frequently sparred.
“I wish that I could be expending my energies in constructive, positive, uplifting ways instead of having to fight the evil of a government yet again for another five years,” Mr Smith said.
His statements came in response to Dr Minnis’ ultimatum that people living in the country illegally must get out by December 31 or suffer from ramped up efforts to enforce immigration laws. They also come as his frustration with the administration appears to have reached a boiling point amid what some activists see as self-inflicted wounds.Though their criticism has mostly been kept out of the public eye, some leading activists have been upset that the Minnis Administration recently tabled the Interception of Communication Bill, which Mr Smith said yesterday “is worse than the PLP spy bill.”
As for the newly announcement immigration ultimatum, Mr Smith said: “I am sickened by this approach. It is a human rights disgrace.”
Critics of the Minnis Administration, especially those in the Progressive Liberal Party, awaited Mr Smith’s response to Dr Minnis’ immigration announcement to see if he would be equally tough on the current administration as he was on the previous.
His increasingly outspoken criticism could prove thorny for the new administration after Mr Smith proved to be a relentless critic of the Christie Administration.
He has been a financial donor to the Free National Movement and he has had a seat at the table discussing policy with the party’s power players.
The PLP’s immigration polices of 2014 were widely supported by Bahamians according to polls at the time. However, they drew fierce pushback from activists as well as negative attention from the international community.
The PLP’s policy mandated that every non-Bahamian have a passport of their nationality and sought to end the practice giving work permits to people here illegally.
The roll-out of the policy was accompanied by high-profile round-ups in which people, including children, were picked up by immigration officers.
Despite the publicity surrounding the policy at the time, its success as a policy of deterrence was unclear.
For Mr Smith’s full response to the Prime Minister’s announcement click HERE