By: Senator
Fred Mitchell



28 JUNE 2000


          Mister President, the Government of The Bahamas by the passage of this resolution will get the approval of Parliament to sell the national heritage and treasure, the birthright of the Bahamian people.  The Progressive Liberal Party through its leader has made the position absolutely clear.  He made is statement on the very sands of the beach at Clifton—the so called jaws beach.

          Mister President this is what he said and I quote: “ We hereby put Chaffin and Associates, the Bechtel Corporation and all other partners or financiers of the proposed Clifton cay Development project on public notice that when the PLP regains power following the next General Election we shall forthwith rescind all building approvals and permits which may have been issued by the FNM Government for that project.  Any construction then in progress will be terminated immediately and no new construction will be permitted.
          “ Further, we will simultaneously take the necessary steps under the Acquisition of Land Act to compulsorily acquire in the public interest all the land that would have been sold to the developers.  In doing so, we will, of course, pay compensation to the landowners in accordance with the provisions of the Act and of the Constitution… The Clifton Cay development may start under the FNM but under the PLP it will be brought to a screeching halt.”
          Mister President this statement was received to universal acclaim save for those who have a vested interest in the development.
          The Prime Minister likes to pretend that his party is monolith of ideology and attitudes when it faces its political enemy the PLP, but the votes tell the tale.  When the vote on this matter came to the House of Assembly, the Members voted with their feet.  They did not have the courage to vote against the proposal but instead chose to stay away.  This included Ministers of the Government.  So by a simple majority of one, the House of Assembly led by Hubert Ingraham agreed to give away the equivalent of the pyramids of Egypt.  This is nothing short of a national disgrace.
          And each and every one who votes for the give away of this land shall forever bear the park across their history: “ I voted to give away the birthright of the Bahamian people ”.  We urge the other side not to ruin their political careers, not to follow a pied piper, to wake up and vote their consciences on this matter.
          The Bahamian people ought to know who those 21 are who voted to give away Bahamian land in the House and we shall ensure that they know the names of those who vote tonight to give away Bahamian land by asking after this vote for a division. The record must be clear.  No one on this side will vote for this resolution. 
          Those voting in the House of Assembly to give away Bahamian land were: Algernon Allen, William Allen, Ronald Bosfield; Carl Bethel; Earl Deveaux, Juanianne Dorsett; Theresa Moxey Ingraham; Hubert Ingraham; James Knowles; Zhivargo Laing; Sylvia Scriven; Alvin Smith; Mike Smith; C.A. Smith; Robert Sweeting; Vernon Symonette; David Thompson; Tommy Turnquest; David Wallace; Frank Watson; Greg Williams.
          Today we are sure to add others to that list but they ought to be forewarned, their names will live in infamy.
          The Government should know better, because the objective evidence is clear about Clifton Cay.  This is simply  political bloody mindedness at its worst.  I want it done, so it is done.  The reports by the Government’s own experts have clearly told them that this project should not go ahead in its present form.  An international environmental lawyer with a famous name came to the country and advised the Government that this site was so precious that it deserved to e a world heritage sight.  But still the Government does not relent.
          Protestors have been out in the streets, the Bahamian people have made their voices known throughout the land. The silent ones are watching how the FNM is dealing with the national patrimony and silently making up their minds that it was a mistake to support such a  reckless political group and it would be a mistake to support them again.
          For the Free National Movement whenever there is choice between Bahamians on the one hand and foreigners on the other hand the foreigner always wins.  And that is clearly why we are here today.  We are dancing to the tune of the Chaffin Group, the brain trust behind this project.  In order for this deal to go through, the Government of The Bahamas committed in advance that the deal will be done. This is a deal that will allow the Chaffin group to get 208 acres of prime land in which to dig finger canals that are illegal in the United Sates of America.
          After the disastrous experience in this country of the desert of the Grand Lucaya Waterway; the desert of Coral Harbour; the desert in and around Sea Breeze in New Providence, we are still going to allow more canals to be built in this country to satisfy the hungry lust for water front property: faux water front.  The canals are an environmental disaster, a blight on the landscape and yet in spite of all the scientific advice to the contrary, for a few dollars, the Government proposes to go full speed ahead.
          They try to compare this project to the Lyford Cay project and the jobs which Lyford Cay provides.  It is strange argument because those in the Cay are in the main opposed to this project.  But secondly they conveniently forget to tell you that it took Lyford Cay 40 years to get off the ground.
          And all around there are subdivisions in this country that are as dead as a doornail after their developers came here singing a sweet music into the ears of successive Government from the UBP through to the PLP, about jobs and building and now the developments are covered in forests.  Nature has recaptured her own.
          Let me give you some names Mister President:  I have already mentioned Coral Harbour in New Providence.  I have add to that Great Harbour Cay in the Berry Islands; San Andros on Andros; Columbus Landings in San Salvador; Cape Eleuthera in South Eleuthera; the Grand Lucayan Waterway in Grand Bahama; Whale Point in Eleuthera; Bahama Sound in Exuma;  Cape Santa Maria  and Stella Maris in Long Island.  The things they have in common Mister President is that they all had these developers singing sweet music.  And Bahamians saw dollar signs in their eyes.  And for what.  They have all come to naught or at least come to much less than the potential that their developers predicted.
          Even today as we speak three other developments are moribund: one in South Bimini; the other in North Bimini the infamous Bimini Bay project and the other is the Emerald Bay project in Exuma.
          What do all of these developments share in common: their developers came to The Bahamas with a minimum of funds.  They had seed ,money to get the land.  Then they developed elaborate plans to show the natives; a marina, an airstrip, some fancy buildings and of yes let’s not forget the ubiquitous golf course.  Some even added plans for a casino.  They draw plans that show idyllic living in the islands under a palm tree.
          What they did not have was money to carry the project any further.  So they come to the Government with a plan and asked them to approve it in principle.  This allows them to go and shop the plan around in the developed world.  Every one wants a piece of the sea and the ocean.  They then raise money on the speculative prospect of land sales.  They add the infrastructure as they go along. 
          Often it can be compared to a pyramid scheme.  One such scheme went belly up in Eleuthera, the so called Eleuthera Island Shores development.  There are no paved roads, the residents have to supply themselves with running water and power and telephone.  Nothing provided by the developers but some rudimentary roads pushed through by tractors.  The developers sell, collect money ,collect fees and do nothing but pocket the money.  Then they disappear and leave the land owners holding the bag and they have no redress.
          Those people in Eleuthera Island shores are so desperate, some of them American retirees and they simply do not know what to do, some of them having sunk their life savings into these fancy schemes that come to no good.
          And yet the Bahamas Government has apparently not learned its lesson.  It proposes and has approved another such scheme.  This time by two developers who are said to come with sterling references amongst them from a Senator of the United States of America.  And yet  they come here with these sterling references and  yet what they plan to do will ruin the national patrimony of the Bahamas.  It is a new form of colonialism which only this Government could be unwise enough to have itself duped by.
          The experts told a public meeting that the environmental impact study provided by these sterling developers was not worth the paper it was written on.  They plan to build a golf course on the ruins of the Whylly Plantation.  We are told this is a valuable site indeed.
          Mister President, I have in my possession an Evaluation of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Proposed Clifton Cay Development.  This was presented to the Permanent Secretary of  the Office of the Prime Minister and dated 23 September 1998/  It is signed by Thomas E. Lodge Ph D and Robert Helton.   These are the Governments own consultants, it appears.  They say in their report that the purpose of the review is to determine  whether the document( the EIA of the developers) adequately addresses and compensates for environmental impacts associated with the development project.
          Let me summarize the position Mister President.  In colloquial terms, the EIA of the developers is trashed by these scientists. The study reviewed the following categories: Vegetation and wildlife; Wetlands; Water;  Wastewater management; Storm water management; Solid/Hazardous/Medical Waste; Transportation; Recreation and Open Space; Historical and Archeological Sites; Port and Marina Facilities.
          Throughout the report, the use of the phrase wholly inadequate is repeated. This report then seems to confirm the view that the Government does not have from the developers a proper environmental impact study and yet they have approved this project which could ruin this historical site.
          For example Mister President, the existing south West Bay Road is to be closed by the developers and  a new road routed around the project. This study says: “ We question the basis for, and the social impact to the public of the closing of the existing paved road through the project property. No justification is provided in the EIA. ”
          On the question of cultural resources, the history and archeology, the report has this to say: “ we found the property to be incompletely surveyed and assurances for protection and development of resources to be inadequate. ” In this connection, they   were provided with and did review the work of Dr. L Wilkie and Dr. P. Farnsworth, a husband and wife scientific team that had been given he mandate by eh Government to examine the archeology and history at the site.  These two persons have now been separated from the project because of their expressing certain concerns about this project to the Bechtel group. It ahs been widely speculated in the press that they have been put on the stop list, although our sources in the Department of Immigration have assured us that this is not so.
          Nevertheless, Dr. Wilkie and Dr. Farnsworth are reportedly banned form visiting the Clifton site to continue their work, and even to finish the work that they have begun severe restrictions have been imposed upon their work at the Archives by the Bahamas Government.  The Minister of Education in this place last week indicated that they are hiring a new archeological survey team.  Our information is that they are salvage archeologists and my take them up to 18 months to complete their work.
          This latter wrinkle is said to present new problems for the developers  who are unsettled that their findings might prevent the project from going ahead.  The developers are said to be seeking assurances in advance that the Minister will not exercise her power under the Museum and Antiquities Act to so zone the property that they cannot develop it.”
          Yet despite all of this the Government ahs not paused for one minute.  It is clear that the natural heritage is at risk, but natural heritage be damned apparently.  Money is a passing hands here and that is apparently all that counts.  We on this side have question the role of these developers and the apparent ease with which they intervene in the internal domestic and political affairs of the Bahamian people.  It is clear that they speak with authority and that they have the political assurances of the FNM to interfere in our internal political and domestic affairs.
          I wish Mister President at this point to talk about the historical and cultural aspects of this project, and to make some general observations about the culture of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas as we see it today, tracing back from the pre- Columbian time. This will also be an appropriate time to address a vexing question that has rage in the country over the last week, based on remarks made in this place about the creolization of The Bahamas last week.
          It has been rather interesting to see the national debate which has kicked off over those remarks as the country seeks to find some answer to why we have the level of crime in the country. Having reviewed the remarks extensively with colleagues, friend and advisors, the problem seems to be the juxtaposition in the written text of the intervention last week of the statements about a creolized culture next to information about the death of Archdeacon Thompson.  But if you examine the text and review the text in its entirety and its property context, you will see that the remarks made about the general state of the underclass in this country is disjunctive not conjunctive.  There is the use of the semi-colon not the comma. But nevertheless, we are we are and what has been perceived has been perceived.
          What the debate about the question of the creolization of The Bahamas shows is that underneath it all is a fear of  any citizens of The Bahamas that the traditional culture and way of life is being swamped.  I have no such fear.  What I fear is the lack of attention to these matters, the lack of leadership on these matters by the FNM Government with its head in the sand approach. Without proper study and analysis, no sensible public policy can be developed. That is what I arguing for, and proper public policy on immigration and on integration will I am certain lead to a more stable society.
Clifton has the remains of three cultures on its site.  Now I want to tell the story of the trip made by  Melissa Sweeting to my branch in Fox ill to talk about this project.  She describes herself as a conchy joe Bahamian.  That means according to her that her culture dates back to the white Bahamians who were here before the Loyalists came  from America in 1783.  She says that there is part of that culture there.  She says that there is certainly evidence of a major Lucayan site, the pre-Columbian culture.  Finally there is the culture of the Loyalists and their slaves.  That is the part of the culture from which we spring.
-end of part one-

          Mister President, the word creolized in The Bahamas is apparently a red flag, a buzz word that means to many citizens of The Bahamas that the Haitians are taking over.  In fact, the very word Haitian in The Bahamas is a pejorative for many things that are negative.  That is most unfortunate because there is nothing intrinsically wrong with the citizens of Haiti.  They come to this country out of a desperate political and economic situation.  They come to this country for a better life.  They provide manual labour for the country at a level at which Bahamians are either unable or unwilling to work.
          But in the classic sense, the pure scientific sense of the use of the word, creolization means a culture which grows up out of the local experience.  And so in the classic sense The Bahamas is already a creolized culture in the sense that none of us came originally from here.  We all came by boat so to speak.  The aboriginal inhabitants of this country were carted away long ago.  By the time our ancestors arrived in this country, the aboriginal inhabitants were long gone, in one of the most cruel transfers of human cargo in the history of nations.
          It is ironic that we are involved today in a national debate over what is an extremely sensitive subject.  Sensitive because of the negative connotation in our country associated with being Haitian.  This has driven any sensible discussion about the problem underground, and such discussions that do take place surround jingoism on the one side and unrealistic romanticism on the other side.
          The problem is that we have a problem with illegal immigration.  That touches and concerns migrants from Haiti, Jamaica and Cuba.  It appears that at one level political problems drive the exodus from those countries.  But the great magnet is the economic activity in The Bahamas.  Bahamians are ambivalent about the presence of Haitians in The Bahamas. We can’t make up our minds.
          On the one hand, we want the Haitian peasant that comes here - in the main illiterate and impoverished - to work in our homes and our yards and do our manual tasks.  On the other hand, we want them to know their place.  We want them out of the country because we believe that there is a burden on our health care system, on our national security, our education system, and on our environment.
          But then there are the middle class, who having absented themselves from the inner urban areas of New Providence have rental accommodation in those inner city areas and they rent them, pack them in and collect rent for sub-standard housing.  They would not want the immigrants to go.  There is also that group of persons including the Government who own land in the hinterlands of New Providence that allow Haitians, to squat on their land.  Many private citizens collect moneys from Haitian immigrants for living on their land.  They do not care about whether the sanitation facilities are proper and lawful, or whether the trees are destroyed.  All they care about is collecting their land rents.  The situation has provided squalor in many areas of New Providence, Grand Bahama and in Abaco.
          And so Bahamians have to examine themselves on this question. Who is at fault?  The fault dear citizens is within ourselves.  We are the ones who have allowed this to happen over the many decades and months, so that we have The Mud in Abaco.  Despite all the protests about The Mud in Abaco, it is still there.  And why does it survive there? Because Bahamians do not have the will to end their dependence on the labour pool which those Haitians provide.
          I wish to disassociate my self from any sentiment which condemns any people as a class.  That argument cannot logically be sustained.  I believe that each individual has to be judged on his or her own merits.  I am surprised at those in the Human Rights movement who seek to draw a distinction between myself and them on that point. Nothing has changed in that regard.                                                
          But as a politician, I know what is being whispered in the barrooms and on the streets.  I know what the police have said to me, and continue to say to me.  I know what the official testimony has been to this very Senate about the Haitian community. As I said to one reporter who called me, that does not then make me take a flying leap from the observation that some descendants of Haitians in The Bahamas may be involved in gangs and other forms of social disruption to the conclusion that Haitians as a class are responsible for crime.  It is irresponsible for people to suggest such a thing.
          But surely those in the human rights movement must admit that we have a responsibility to study these anecdotal observations and find out the truth or otherwise of it.  Not because that is the only cause of crime, or that it is a cause of crime, but if important sectors of the Government’s enforcement machinery including the education system believe it, then public policy is being informed and shaped by it.  It may turn out to be nothing more than prejudice, but the fact is whether we like it or not, there are many in authority who believe that fact and act on those beliefs.
          No one seeks to make the Haitian community in this country scape goats either.  It is irresponsible to suggest such a thing.
          But The Bahamas is already a polyglot of cultures as Melissa Sweeting points out about Clifton Cay.  The irony is that the first contact which this country had with Hispaniola, the island where Haiti is located, was the pre-Columbian migration of Lucayans from Hispaniola to here.  Then there was the purge that took place after Columbus came, where the Lucayans were transported back to Hispaniola to work in the mines.
          The British arrived here looking for religious freedom in the seventeenth century.  They met no indigenous culture here, and started the British culture we have today.  The next spurt of growth came when the Americans came here following the revolution in 1776.  They transformed the population from a fishing village to a plantocracy, and they doubled the black population.  For the first time in the history of the country, the Black population outnumbered the white population.  The Americans brought with them grits and okra.  We still eat these things today.  We talk like the Black people in the Carolinas talk even today.
          And if you go by Michael Craton and Gail Saunder’s accounts of the history of these transformations of population, the Bahamians then were worried about these strangers coming into their midst and what it would to the them and their culture.  They had a feeling of being swamped and they were right.  Their entire culture was supplanted by the new populations.
          One must also point this body to a long essay written by Sean McWeeney who discovered that after the revolution in Haiti when the African slaves there defeated Napoleon’s troops in the early nineteenth century, that there was mass exodus from Haiti to the Americas especially up to Quebec.  Many Haitian boats stopped here.  In fact there was a trade in human cargo from Haiti, and many Haitians stayed.  They too upset the population in those days, and the Government sought to take measures to stop the influx.
          But out of that migration came Stephen Dillett who became the first Black member of the House of Assembly.  We revere his name today. So what happened Mister President is that the dominant culture of the British still survived and it simply accommodated itself to the newcomers.  The newcomers themselves wanted to integrate, and they were not prevented from doing so by the dominant culture.  Can anyone argue that our population is not richer for that immigration centuries ago.
          At the turn of the century there was another significant migration as the colonial Government looked for workers to staff the civil service and the trades.  One of those persons was my grandfather a Barbadian on my mother’s side who came here at the age of one with his father and mother and first cousins.  They settled in Augusta street.  He died here in 1961.  He married a Hanna woman.  The pattern of that is repeated in so many families.  The first generation of Black leaders of the country were many of them first generation Bahamians.  Sir Lynden Pindling, Sir Clement Maynard, Alfred Maycock, Loftus Roker, Jeffery Thompson– all first generation Bahamians.  And so in that respect would be no different than the so called Bahaits who are here today.  It is no disgrace to be the son or daughter of an immigrant.
          They came as policemen, as teachers, as nurses from Barbados, Trinidad, Guyana, Jamaica and Bermuda. No one doubts that this later group of twentieth century immigrants are making a valuable contribution to The Bahamas.
          What then is the difference between that group of immigrants that the Haitian immigrants.  The difference is that the other group came here in the main legally.  And with the possible exception of Jamaican immigrants to the country now, those that come from the English speaking Caribbean in the main come here legally.
          The Haitian immigrant in the main comes here illegally.  He is an economic refugee.  His Africaness and his poverty and the fact that he does not speak English makes him the subject of derision while at the same time a need economic prop upon which this country survives.  They are not known to be dishonest people. But what some Bahamians do not like is the apparent ease with which they are able to set up shop as vendors in his country, and many say in the straw market and the fish markets, and setting up thirty day joints without any apparent interference or enforcement of the law.
          You constantly hear Bahamians in poor constituencies complaining that while the law is enforced on them it is not enforced on the illegal migrant population. 
          So you have the makings of problems between the Bahamian citizen and the Haitian citizen because of all the things that I have said.  And again it does not help that they are Black.  That only makes it worse.  All of our racism comes out in us when we see them.  The Jamaican culture is influencing out young people, and the older generation does not like it, but the antipathy toward Jamaicans is nothing compared to that nursed against the Haitian community.
          The result is that the Haitian immigrant who is born here and raised here, in many cases tries to hide his or her identity.  There can not be full participation in this society because of the discrimination but also because of one important difference which did not exist before 1973.  The PLP took the decision which I think was wrong to deny the right of citizenship to those persons born in The Bahamas who did not have Bahamian parents. That changed the situation under the colonial Government. The result is that you have a substantial migrant population and their children here.  The parents have  status.  The children have a conditional status. And there is no political support to change it.
          The Prime Minister in fact may have inadvertently caused people to think in the direction of Haitians and crime when he himself blamed the U.S. for deporting 100 criminals back to The Bahamas from the U.S.  These people had served their sentences.  He said 25 of them had no connection with the Bahamas.  What he meant by that is that the 25 were born in The Bahamas but because their parents were not Bahamian they could not claim Bahamian citizenship.  But the U.S. deported them to The Bahamas because they had Bahamian identity documents.
          Indeed when I raised the very question here a few weeks again when we debate changes to the constitution I suggested that we consider an amendment to the constitution which would clear up the problem by  two formulations: every one born here is Bahamian and every one whose parents is Bahama will be Bahamian.  But against here is no political support for that.
          What I said last week was that as a result of that legal discrimination, you now have an underclass of people who are in fact Bahamians except in the legal sense, who are discriminated against, they segregate themselves, there is no effort to integrate them into the community, and so they feel no connection to us because they are apparently not wanted.  We should not therefore be surprised if some of our difficult social problems can be traced to that group.  We have no idea who they are and apparently don’t care to know.  Our only response has been let’s get them out of the country. We can not know who they are because some have deep sixed their identity: by anglicizing their names or using their Bahamian parents name if they born out of wedlock.  And I know of at least one case of a Haitian descendant who has Anglicized his name who is terrified that people will find out who his ancestor is.  That can not be good for personal self esteem, and we need people in this country who are sure and certain and confident about who they are.
          I said that Felix Bethel calls our calls the George VI Negroes.  I said in more common terms he is describing the ruling class that now rules the country, that grew out of the political struggles of the 1940s, 50s and 60s.  We are a dwindling class. And coming below us is an underclass, part of which is this migrant group who will eventually become themselves the ruling class. It is like night will follow day.  We have been unwilling or more likely been unable to pursue the public policy of expelling all illegal immigrants.  The solution then must be a concerted effort to fully integrate these people who are Bahamian in everything but the law into the larger society so that the dominant culture maintains its position while accommodating itself to the newcomers.  That is how the culture of The Bahamas as we know it today will survive.
And that is, if it is important to Bahamians for it to survive.
          I said a few weeks ago that we have to get used to the idea that one day, persons with buds and Rasta locks will sit in his Parliament, Those are amongst the new Bahamians coming below us.  And Mister President what was interesting about all the responses to the latest debate about Haitians is that there is a divide between the older persons and the younger persons.  The younger ones are less concerned about the threat to the culture.  The younger ones seem quite accommodating and less concerned.  But each persons that I met had a point of view, and are convinced that their point of view is right.
          I want to say again that because an immigrant group may have gangs, gang members and be involved in forms of organized crime that does not mean that the whole group is condemned as a class.  That takes a great leap of illogic.  And that is the illogical leap that the press took about my remarks.  And that is the illogical leap of my critics within the human rights movement.
          I would argue that it is not because the persons are Haitian that what is described by policemen and teachers are a tendency of some young men in that group to involve themselves in gang activity occurs.  It is rather because of poverty, deprivation and discrimination., And if you seek to eliminate those things then those activities should cease.  What happens immigrant groups here is no different than what occurs in the migrant groups in other countries.
          The dominant culture has always accommodated itself to the influx of whatever migrants come to these shores.  That dominant culture since the 18th century has been the Anglo American culture.  We continue to be that Anglo American culture and that is not threatened.  The strong underpinnings of this overlay of Anglo Americanism is Africa with the creolized culture of the Caribbean seeping lately from the twentieth century.
          I would like also to respond Mister President to Fred Smith, purportedly of the
 Grand Bahama Human Rights Movement who attacked me with a great degree of venom and hyperbole. I know Mr. Smith very well and I understand his innermost insecurities and sensitivities.  It is those insecurities, some of which are related to discrimination against him because of his place of national origin that I assume has caused him to react with an irrational exuberance.  Comparing me to Nazi storm troopers and the like.  He connected me with what the
 called PLP hate filled propaganda.  I forgive him for his excesses.
But Mr. Smith, now that he has resurrected himself must tell the Bahamian people whether eh is fish or fowl in so many things.  Foremost amongst these is are you fro the downtrodden or are you fro the rich.  Are you for the powerless or are you for the powerful.  For at least five years now, Mr. Smith has not been actively involved in the Grand Bahama Human Rights Association.  He has instead been engaged in defending the Grand Bahama Port Authority,.  Indeed when we last heard from him he was letting us know of a case in which the Australian judge in Freeport rescued himself from all Grand Bahama Port Authority cases.  Mr. Smith was in fact representing the Grand Bahama Port Authority in that case.                                       
          Mr. Smith has been engaged in defending the policy of the Grand Bahama Port Authority to take away people’s houses when they fail to pays service charges.  These relatively small service charges owed the Port, lead to the confiscation almost always of people’s homes.  He has to say how he is able to defend his professional work with his stand for the human rights of people.  I do not fault him for his professional choices.,  But the time is now to say whether he is fish or fowl.  He must also begin to take a more measured approach to life,.  He has gone past the stage for that kind of excess of language.
          Mister President the culture of The Bahamas has been and is being influenced by the Haitian community.  That has been happening since the 1950s when the policy which is now pursued by the FNM came into being to deal with what was then called and still is called today: The Haitian Problem. 
          In fact, I would recommend to all you to read The Haitian Problem by Dawn Marshall, the sister of attorney Jeanne Thompson.  It is the finest study on the migration of Haitians to The Bahamas but it is current only to 1979.  I tried to get the FNM to hire Mrs. Marshall who lives in Barbados to update her study so that she could help us deal with the problem.  That was 1993.  I was studiously ignored.
          And so what are we pursuing as a policy in 2000?  We are pursuing he exact same policy of the colonial government of 1957, of the UBP of 1963 of the PLP in its decades in power.  We have a system of round ups, crackdowns: whatever you want to call them.  All Governments have failed to excise the problem by dealing with it in that way.  The migrant population from Haiti remains here and remains stable despite the best efforts of every Government and every Director of Immigration.  There is no reason to believe that this Government will be any more successful with this policy.
          And so to Fred Smith who accuses the PLP of attacking Haitians, he must answer to history.  The PLP did no better or worse than its predecessors or successors in that regard.  And in fact were perhaps more sympathetic to the Haitian people. 
          When the PLP came to power, the first Minister to deal with the problem was the late Dame Doris Johnson and this is what she had to say in 1967: “ Either we must absorb them or expel them.  Expulsion is out of the question because so many Haitians here are raising families. .. There must be some way to legalize their staying in this country. ” That was 1967.  Mrs. Marshall reports, however that despite the best intentions of the PLP within a year or so, there was so much political pressure that the Government had to announce a policy or round ups which is exactly what colonial Government and the UBP had done decades before.  And so I say to the FNM nothing has changed in that respect.
          Mrs. Marshall ends here study by giving this warning to the Bahamian people: “ It can not be in the best interest of either the Bahamian Government or the Bahamian nation to allow a large proportion of its population to live and develop in isolation.”
          And so Mister President, I wish to thank the press for raising this debate in such a curious way.  I hope that it enlightens the public.  I hope that as we are drawing attention to the public policy on Clifton that we now see how important it is to protect our heritage.  The Bahamas Government is wrong to alienate this land at Clifton from the Bahamian people.  The Leader of the PLP has called for the creation of national park.  I support that.  This side will oppose this resolution, we will call for a division so that it will be known who voted and how they voted.  It will be the next generation of Bahamians who will ask those who voted yes to Clifton Cay to explain why their forefathers voted to give away the land of The Bahamas.
          I thank you very much indeed.

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