Is Government Stalling On Cuban Abuse Investigation?
Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis accused the government of “stalling” the final investigation into the alleged abuse of Cuban detainees at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre.
Last week, The Nassau Guardian revealed that the government had yet to appoint the retired Court of Appeal justice and religious leader who will lead the investigation. The Guardian understands that the government has still not made those appointments.
One government official, who was not authorized to speak, said that the government was still in the process of confirming the retired Court of Appeal Justice to head the investigation and intends to discuss the matter in Cabinet today.
But Minnis said yesterday that the selection process should not take so long. “We have sufficient priests and judges for [the government] to find [one],” he said. “I don’t know what’s the delay but with time we will find out.”
Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage was expected to make an announcement regarding the issue weeks ago. However, he told reporters last week that he has yet to get all of the “bits and pieces” he needs about the issue.
“I’m seeking to carry out my responsibilities honestly and diligently,” he said at the time. “When we have all of the information, you will be hearing from me on that matter.”
Nottage would not say what else has to be done before he expects to get the final details about the allegations.
Meantime, Cuban-American protest group Democracy Movement plans to submit a report to the Organization of American States’ Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on the alleged abuse.
The move is another measure the group is taking as it continues to push for the Bahamian government to start its formal investigation into the abuse claims and release a report on this probe to the public.
Sanchez said Democracy Movement will also meet with lawyers this week to see what avenues the group has to compel alleged abusers to face the allegations in the international community.
Asked whether he thinks the Cuban group is taking the issue too far, Minnis said that’s their right.
“That’s like an individual taking a case to the Privy Council,” he said. “That’s the recourse that they have and they will maximize it.”
According to one of the marines interviewed as part of the initial investigation by the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, Cuban detainees were severely beaten at the detention center for almost two hours after they attempted to escape on May 20, and one even appeared to have temporarily lost consciousness as a result of the abuse.
Randy Rodriguez, a former detainee who was granted asylum by the United States, said he was “mercilessly” kicked on the floor by guards, pepper sprayed and doused with water.
Minnis yesterday advised the government to do what is necessary to protect The Bahamas.
The Nassau Guardian
Photo: Former Carmichael Road Detention Centre detainee Randy Rodriguez points to a scar that he claims is the result of abuse at the center. AHVIA J. CAMPBELL TNG 2013Cubans