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Government Has Failed Bahamians in Property Disputes

It is the failure of the government to enforce the law and prosecute crooked lawyers that has caused families to loose their life savings in the Arawak Homes dispute.

Please permit me an opportunity to make comment on something that has been troubling me which I think was confirmed today by two things published in your paper today – a notice from the Immigration Department and an article on MP Edison Key and the Pigeon Pea situation.

Like thousands of other Bahamians, I am keenly watching the developments in this country.

I must. I have young children for whom I am obligated to do the very best I can and, hopefully, to leave where they live better than we met it.

I am a professional and I have lived in several developed countries. In past elections, I have supported the FNM.

Like thousands of my colleagues and counterparts, however, I am faced with an awful decision in the next general elections. I am unable to support the PLP not because of their policies but because of the current leadership of the party. I am, however, not able to vote for the FNM either. The policies advocated by the FNM and the behaviour of its leadership have left me embarrassed and angry. Men who are desperate to hold on to power even when their time has passed are in my opinion dangerous men. Both parties are being led by dinosaurs in a high tech era.

In my professional capacity, I am aware of immigration matters. Having lived in other countries, I am appalled at how lax our immigration controls are. What is most troubling, however, is that the current Minister of Immigration either doesn’t appreciate or doesn’t care about the long term impact on granting citizenship in particular as casually as they do. For far too long, this has been a tool used in general elections and the Bahamian people pay the price for the short sightedness of both major political parties.

I was very angry when I opened The Tribune this morning, to be greeted by an article where Edison Key is alleged to have stated that the immigrants – illegal or otherwise who are illegally squatting on land in Abaco and Pigeon Pea in particular cannot be moved until they have somewhere to go. What an outrage! He further added that he wanted the government of The Bahamas to make arrangements for these people. In today’s paper, Mr Key is also calling for land to be set aside for these illegal to live on!

This is an insult to all Bahamians. What arrangements have been made for the Bahamian families affected by the court’s ruling in the Arawak Homes dispute?

The people in the dispute with Arawak Homes are Bahamians, many of whom did nothing wrong but were the victims of a broken system of government.

They have paid thousands of dollars for a place to live. The people in Pigeon Pea are only in this country because they broke the law. They shouldn’t be here and it is not in dispute that they are living on land that they do not own.

In fact, it is widely acknowledged that they have blatantly disregarded the eviction notices.

These people have no respect for the Bahamas and its laws.

Every day they are allowed to remain where they are is a day they thumb their noses at the rule of law in this country.

Their children are born into this lawlessness and disrespect for the law and are allowed to operate outside of law. It is no wonder that they grow up to be menaces to the Bahamian society.

I find the statements from Mr Key to be unacceptable and irresponsible.

Thousands of Bahamian families are struggling to make ends meet and hundreds of Bahamian families face the possibility of losing the homes they have paid for in the southern part of New Providence because courts rule that the property they paid for in fact belongs to Arawak Homes. There has been absolutely no public support of the Bahamian families affected in the dispute with Arawak Homes from the government. However, when the question of eviction of Pigeon Pea illegal residents came up, the Prime Minister was quick to come to the defence of the illegal and was quoted as talking about “equity” as it relates to them. Where is the equity for the Bahamian? Is it that the Prime Minister and Mr Key only think illegal immigrants need to be protected in the Bahamas? To add insult to injury, the Department of Immigration is inviting hundreds of persons with obviously Haitian names to come to the Department on Saturday, presumably to give them some sort of legal documentation.

No Bahamian should take these developments lightly. The Prime Minister has told us to watch what he does and I have. What he has consistently done is to elevate the foreign above the Bahamian, whether from Canada, Europe, the US, Asia or Haiti. The message that he has sent us is that Bahamians don’t count in The Bahamas.

The Bahamian who is awake and conscious will therefore understand the Immigration Department’s behaviour for what it is – an attempt to give away our birthright by granting as many citizenship applications to Haitians as possible in preparation for the next general election.

If this trend continues, prepare for the backlash because there are those among us who will not allow the only country we have to be destroyed.

The old political games where the Bahamian loses must stop and all involved be held to account. The time has come to take our country back.

Nassau, The Bahamas
November, 2010

Posted in Opinions

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