Saturday, September 30, 2023

Double Standard: Case Dismissal of Three American Women

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The case dismissal of the three American women accused of defying the emergency order, is the epitome of double standard in Bahamian society.

Bahamians have long complained of preferential treatment being meted out to foreigners over locals, and on Wednesday, the court system proved them right.

The women–Mariam Mohamed Hassen, Ikrame Kanane and Rana Mohamed Kenwy were seen jumping a fence at Cabbage Beach on Paradise Island despite beach closure for the Independence weekend, due to the emergency order and then bragging about their actions.

Appearing before Deputy Magistrate Andrew Forbes, they were discharged after stating that they were given permission by a police officer in a “brown” uniform.

Since the implementation of the emergency order, many Bahamians have appeared before the same Magistrate, to be charged with defying the emergency order–breaking curfew or not wearing mask.

There is no proof that the women spoke to an officer.

Because they said it, doesn’t necessarily mean it is true.

Most disappointing was hearing the Opposition Leader Fred Mitchell and Democratic National Alliance Leader Arinthia Komolafe giving credence to the dismissal because the trial would be “a terrible image” for the Bahamas’ tourism.

In a press statement, Mitchell said, “This trial will attract international attention. Tourists who visited the Bahamas because of its advertised sun, sand and sea tourism product were hauled before the courts for enjoying sun, sand and sea all because of a bad decision by a singular Competent Authority.”

Mitchell added, “This incident will do more harm than good to the country’s tourism product and brand, not to mention our international reputation.”

Mitchell said the decision to place the women in handcuffs and the use of other restraints “when there appears to be no violence or record of flight seems over the top and may be unconstitutional,” emphasizing that “it is a terrible image for tourism in the Bahamas.”

Komolafe appearing in a television interview on Our News, expressed sympathy for the women and said the arrests of the women were the result of mixed messages from the competent authority.

She said, “They (the women) come for a very long weekend in the Bahamas, only to find that they won’t be able to patronize the very thing that they came for, which is the sun, sand and the beach.”

The statements by both parties aspiring to office, are complete and utter nonsense.

When Bahamians travel out of the country, they must obey international laws and if there are violations, they must and should pay the penalty.

The same should be expected of tourists who visit the Bahamian shores.

For such a long time, leaders have overly concentrated on tourists, placing their needs and wants above those of the locals.

The Bahamas must be seen as a place of law and order and not just pleasure.

Even a fine would have sent a message that the Bahamas is serious about the fight against Covid-19.

And, if the same is expected of locals, then it should also be expected of foreigners.

Photo credit: Shawn Hanna-Tribune

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