Upholding the Rule of Law
Over the past few days the minister responsible for immigration in this country has abandoned his duties, opting instead to engage in a very public war of words with members of the opposition over the release of two Cuban Nationals who were found to be illegally detained since 2013. The theatrics have amounted to nothing more than a soap opera filled with bad actors.
The government’s handling of this matter has revealed new levels of government opacity that are cause for concern for many reasons. Despite a lengthy parliamentary contribution on the issue both Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell as well as Prime Minister Perry Christie offered no real details into why or how the Cuban duo came to be branded a national security risk. Instead, the government presented only vague overtures which have done nothing but fan the flames of speculation and heighten public anxiety over their release into the general population.
Secondly, the government has shown a callous disregard for the laws which govern our society. This has become a disturbing trend set by this Christie administration. Since taking office this government has opted to change, or simply ignore laws which did not line up with their personal agendas. In a country already plagued by high levels of crime and lawlessness, the government continues to set a dangerous precedent. If government officials are not bound by law, then why should the criminal element in this country be?
While the minister has spent his time bickering over which attorneys from the AG’s office did or did not follow his instructions, the international community has taken note. Just yesterday Amnesty International released its 2016 report on the state of human rights across the globe. That report cited a number of concerns relative to the Bahamas including the adoption of controversial migratory reforms which according to Amnesty put thousands of individuals at risk for human rights abuses.
The country’s challenges with immigration are long standing and debates over the issue have been volatile, however, as I have said before, we can no longer abdicate responsibility for the role we have all played in allowing this issue to grow and intensify. I again call for the government to strike the necessary BALANCE in ensuring that the Rule of Law is FOLLOWED BY ALL INVOLVED and that the country’s international reputation suffers no irreparable damage.