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Henfield: Manchester made a Freudian slip

  • Darren Henfield.

  • Doug Manchester.

SLOAN SMITH
Guardian Staff Reporter
sloan@nasguard.com

Published: Aug 04, 2017

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Foreign Affairs Minister Darren Henfield yesterday characterized comments made by U.S. ambassador-designate to The Bahamas Doug Manchester describing The Bahamas as a protectorate of the United States as a Freudian slip and called on the U.S. government to clarify the point.

During Manchester’s Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday, he was asked by New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez about his conversations with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff during which he described The Bahamas as a protectorate of the United States, and whether that is a view he believes is a part of the relationship between the two countries.

Manchester stated that The Bahamas “for all intents and purposes” is a protectorate of the United States.

He later attempted to explain his comments, insisting, “I don’t believe that is what I’ve mentioned.

“...I think that from a protectorate standpoint, if I said that, I said that in the context of, in fact we currently... have government agencies working hand-in-hand with the Bahamian government.”

The controversial comments have garnered both national and international attention.

Speaking to the media on the matter, Henfield said, “I have heard the comments. I have read them.

“I view them as somewhat of a, I know they are a misstatement, made by a candidate before a Senate committee seeking confirmation.

“He speaks for himself and not for the United States of America.

“It is very clear and obvious to all and sundry that America recognizes The Bahamas as a sovereign state, independent since 1973, and that is the nature and basis of our relationship.

“So I viewed Mr. Manchester’s comments as somewhat of a Freudian slip and nothing more.”

Henfield said while Manchester’s comments were unfortunate, the comments made by former Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell addressing the matter were “farcical”.

In a statement Wednesday night, Mitchell called Manchester’s comments “patently offensive” and likened his use of the word protectorate to an “instrument of colonialism”.

“We want to see where our government stands on this matter before Mr. Manchester comes to The Bahamas,” he said.

“It must be made clear that coming here is not a mandate to re-colonize The Bahamas.”

Henfield disagreed.

He said, “I don’t think that it requires a sovereign country to speak to a nominee before a Senate committee, who misspeaks or who makes a misstatement.

“I don’t think it rises to that level, but I do feel that it is in the remit of the United States to clarify the point.

“I think that it ought to be clarified by the United States.”

Henfield added that he does not believe the comments will have any impact on the relationship between The Bahamas and America.

“The Bahamas and the United States of America enjoy perennially cordial and good relations where each side respects each other’s sovereignty and independence and point of view,” he said.

“But in international relations, countries deal with each other on a daily basis, and in the process of dealing with each other there are sometimes things, quid quo pro arrangements, that we make.

“... It’s a peculiar relationship and it’s one that is beneficial to both of us, I think.”

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