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2005-12-08 16:42:02

Roman Catholic Priest Attacked in Hate Crime

Racism in the Bahamas continues to flourish as racist Bahamians attack a Catholic priest of Haitian ethnicity and police say 'that's okay'.

Eight Mile Rock police are presently investigating a brutal assault on a Roman Catholic priest that occurred over the weekend.

The incident is said to have stemmed from a minor car crash, but an onlooker got involved and began swearing at the priest after discovering that he was of Haitian ethnicity.

According to reports, sometime Friday evening Father Alain Laverne was headed home after his service in West End, and along the way somewhere in Pinedale, Eight Mile Rock he got into a minor accident.

Reportedly, a lady was reversing onto the main road when the reverend was passing and when he tried to swerve out of the way the two cars collided.

Reports further state that a few men in the area, who witnessed the accident, approached the scene and began carrying on in a disorderly manner. Father Laverne then instructed the men to back off because it didn't concern them.

One of the men then referred to him as a "f-ing Haitian" and later hit the priest with a large rock.

Even though police are not classifying the incident as a hate crime, Father Laverne seems to feel differently.

Editor's Note: That the Bahamas police do not classify this as a hate crime is absurd. It is the reason racism flourishes in the Bahamas. Shame on the Bahamas Police.

"It might be a racial thing because he said you f-ing Haitian and it was no reason because he was not involved in the accident," he said. "I know in The Bahamas there is a growing animosity and tension towards the Haitians."

Recalling what happened that Friday evening, Father Laverne said, "I was coming from West End Friday evening after mass and when I got up in Eight Mile Rock a lady was reversing onto the main road and I was trying to avoid her but we collided side by side. We called the police and as we were waiting for the police to come some men, I believe they were drinking, came over and started carrying on."

He said when the men saw the police coming they backed off. After the officers made their initial investigation, they called a wrecker to get the reverend's car because his tyre was flat.

"The gas station was closed and my spare was no good. When the wrecker came the police left and as the truck driver was loading my car onto the truck, I was talking to someone and my back was to the street and I heard the lady who was in the accident say, 'Don't do that, don't do that,' and just as I spun around to see I got hit with a big rock. I got hit on my knee cap and it was busted open and bleeding. I then asked the truck driver to call the police again."

By the time the police arrived the assailants were long gone.

Superintendent Leeland Russell, officer in charge of the Eight Mile Rock District, said yesterday that investigations into this matter is progressing well.

"We haven't had the opportunity to do as much as we like to but it is progressing smoothly," he said.

By ANGEL ARMBRISTER, Freeport News Reporter

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