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Breaking News:

A potential Haitian takeover

Published: Aug 16, 2013

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Dear Editor,

While I am very grateful for this opportunity to reveal the disturbing thoughts that circulated throughout my mind lately, I am also very frustrated and, at times, angry that our country’s leaders are seemingly not taking the immigration problem we have seriously. I dare say it is at the point of being ‘gravely’ serious.

At times I read with disgust the number of illegal immigrants, mainly Haitians, who are coming to our country, so easily at times, that it seems as if they are being smuggled in by some person or people who not only have the power to do so, but can also get away with it because of their connections to others in high places.

God has blessed Bahamians with The Bahamas and it grieves me to see how we as Bahamians are not viewing this illegals problem as something we must do our best to deal with.

I consider myself a kind-hearted Bahamian, one who will go out of my way to help a brother or sister in need. Yes it is our duty to help others in need; yes it is our duty to treat them with respect, but it is not our duty to give them all of the resources of our land to the point where we have nothing left for ourselves.

From time to time I have seen where Bahamians have been too afraid to voice their stand on the matter. Some sheepishly believe that if they make too much noise then the Haitians that are here would carry out some secret revolt against Bahamians.

I am tired of their thinking. If you don’t believe me, then observe the number of Bahamians who will read this letter today and assume that I am some ignorant and selfish Bahamian who needs to shut up because they will be offended. Why should Bahamians be silenced when others are breaking our immigration laws? It is against the laws of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas for individuals from other nations to come into our country without documented permission. Anyone doing this, despite their economic or financial situation, automatically, whether they know it or not, is in breach of our laws.

I will never get tired of telling people, Haitians or Bahamians, that I will never be ashamed of proclaiming that The Bahamas is my country and that we as Bahamians must protect what is ours. What God has allowed us is to have our own paradise here on Earth. If we allow people from other countries to come here, especially by means which go against our laws, then soon we will have nothing left to call our own.

If our government, the one now and the ones to come, doesn’t take heed then The Bahamas will soon become ‘little Haiti’, where Haitians will try to infuse their culture little by little into ours (and it is already happening) until everything Bahamian will soon be a thing of the past.

If you don’t believe me then look how many students in our public educational system are of Haitian descent. Look how many women giving birth in the hospital everyday are not Bahamians. Look at how many patients seeking medical assistance in our public clinics daily are not Bahamians. And in case you may not have noticed, there is an increased number of notices on both radio and television that are read in English and Creole.

Our country is rapidly changing because of the negative effects of illegal immigration. Do we really want that? I believe that everyone is equal. Those reading this letter should not judge me by the harsh words I speak at times. It only hurts because it is the truth.

I believe that the present government should take that bold step to be the first one to completely seal up our borders. That is the only way we can stop the leakage. If the immigration authority in our country would take that necessary step and create regulations that turn away illegal immigrants as soon as they are discovered in our waters that would help to decrease the numbers getting in.

Also, I could never understand why our Bahamian government would take illegal immigrants into custody and detain them for such long periods of time. If they are deported immediately back to their countries we would not have the problem we do today. If we man our borders, then we can stop more illegal immigrants from coming.

Our defence force has an extraordinary base in Coral Harbour, but another adequately manned base is desperately needed in Inagua. The Bahamas comprises a chain of islands from Inagua in the south to Grand Bahama in the north. Why is it that our defence force cannot protect our borders from north to south? Those travelling by boats into our country illegally have to sail in one direction coming straight through our islands. If another base is set up in Inagua, any or everything that moves whether by plane or boat can be detected.

Yes, the government has stated over and over again that there is not enough money or man power to properly seal up our borders. I say this is no excuse.

I am sure that if the government wants to or cares enough it can purchase state-of-the-art seacraft and aircraft to get the job done. As far as man power goes, please, so many of our young are graduating from school each year and with the well-organized Defence Force Ranger Program thriving in our high schools there is no way we will not have enough officers to operate such aircraft and seacraft patrolling our waters and airspace day and night to protect our country. It can be done. Anything can be done once it is deemed as important.

You see the most important thing that makes any nation sovereign is its ability to protect itself; its ability to take care of its own and to govern its own affairs. If we treat this immigration problem as light then we as a people will live to regret our actions.

If we can do this, and make it a priority, that is if the government gives it a ‘code red’ status while it is planning its next budget, then we will be able to curtail to a great degree the number of people coming.

Yes there is economic hardship in Haiti. Yes the people fleeing are doing so to survive and are taking great risks for a better way of life. But can The Bahamas afford to allow them to come here? No.

We are a small nation. Haiti, although it is one of the poorest nations in the Caribbean, has a much larger population that ranges in the millions compared to our near 300,000 citizens. When you do the math, can a small nation like ours absorb the growing number of illegal Haitian immigrants coming here? We just cannot and should not allow this to happen, and no smart and caring Bahamian government should allow it either.

We have to be tough in carrying out our laws, but it has to be done. Unfortunately, corruption in high and low places has allowed this vexing problem to continue. Some of us simply do not care if Haitians take over our nation and I dare say that others, especially those who have Haitian roots, live for the day when our Bahamian culture is eradicated.

We cannot pretend that this truth is not real. It is what it is. It is an ugly view of what is really going on. Some will be angry with this letter, others sad, some understanding, some agreeing, but one thing each will remember about what I wrote, The Bahamas was created by God for Bahamians. Those of us who are Bahamians must utilize every strength we have to promote this.

– Sharmaine Nottage

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