Straw Vendors Need Help Not Lectures
By Bradley Roberts
The Deputy Prime Minister Brent Symonette’s remarks about the arrest of the vendors in New York is unhelpful. A Minister of Foreign Affairs cannot come off as politically impotent in their situation. When its citizens are in trouble, they expect that the government will come to their assistance. Thankfully, the technocrats in Foreign Affairs know what their job is: to intervene to ensure that there is due process, that they are being properly treated and have the benefit of all the rights to which they are entitled. Now is not the time to lecture people about what they ought to be doing but rather to seek to help in a bad situation.
From what is in the public domain, firstly it is being said that the Americans conducted a surveillance operation in the Bahamas which led to the arrest of the individuals. A further question is: Was the The Bahamas government aware of the surveillance operation and did it give its blessing to this operation against its citizens? it is being said that the Americans conducted surveillance operations in New York which led to the arrest of the individuals. The PLP notes with great interest and alarm that the Federal Agents and other US Agencies apparently did not arrest the Merchants who sold the knock off luxury goods to the Bahamian Straw Vendors. It stands to reason that if there are no Merchants selling illegal goods then there would be no buyers. Will Minister Brent Symonette raise this matter with the USA Authorities? In light of the Government’s handling of the recent case involving the Bare Foot Bandit, will the government peruse a measure of reciprocity with the U.S. government?
The PLP is deeply concerned about the fate of the Bahamian Straw Vendors, their rights to due process, and the inability of Bahamian consular officials to contact those persons who were arrested.
Instead of lecturing the vendors, the Deputy Prime Minister ought to take time out from his schedule while in New York to ensure that the vendors are secure and that their rights are protected. The PLP intends to send an investigative team to find out for ourselves what the situation is in New York.
By: Bradley Roberts