It seems the accusations of abuse at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre are once again coming back to haunt us, no matter how much our political leaders would like them to go away.
U.S. President Barack Obama’s nominee for ambassador to The Bahamas, Cassandra Q. Butts, said that if confirmed one of her priorities will be to ensure that all illegal migrants detained in The Bahamas are treated humanely.
When the allegations first arose last year, the government seemed relieved to grasp on to a video they said appeared staged, holding it up as proof that the allegations were not true.
Later, when eyewitness statements from marines at the detention center emerged detailing severe beatings following an escape attempt, a disciplinary hearing was launched and five marines were charged.
There has been very little progress since then, as after repatriating the detainees in question the government awaited permission from Cuban officials to interview them for the hearing.
And there the matter lay quietly, for the last several months.
For anyone who has followed this issue over the years its return should come as no surprise. Under the first Christie administration, accusations of violence against detainees at the center also arose only to be downplayed by authorities.
Again and again, the attitude has been that to take such allegations seriously would be in some way anti-patriotic, a betrayal of our law enforcement officers and an admission of inferiority on some level.
The fact is the more a country — especially a small developing country — seeks to avoid confronting such situations honestly, the more corrupt and backward it appears to the rest of the world.
In truth, we have no one to blame but ourselves. We have allowed a misplaced nationalism to prevent us from instituting the kind of internationally recognized best practices that would have prevented this kind of allegation from arising in the first place.