Smith Blasts Burning of Haitian Vessel

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Attorney Fred Smith QC condemned the burning of a Haitian sloop that landed on Long Island on Saturday.

In a Facebook post, Smith said the sloop was destroyed after the 45 Haitian migrants were handed over to the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and the Bahamas Customs Department.

Smith said, “The sloop was promptly burnt to a crisp! This “invasion” aroused the ire of the islanders!”

Why it matters

  • 36 adult Haitian men and nine women were found in Long Island after the vessel ran aground the day after Christmas. Long Islanders are known to have little tolerance for illegal migrants.
  • The immigrants were to appear before a Magistrate in Long Island today.
Immigrants in Long Island after their vessel ran aground on Saturday.

What Smith says

“I suggested that in this Christian moment, celebrating Christ’s birth, that racial diatribes, xenophobia, hatred, and nastiness towards one’s fellow human beings, was probably not the greatest expression of Christ’s message.”

Smith says he was verbally attacked for defending the rights of the immigrants. He said, “Much of the work that Human Rights Bahamas and I do, along with alleged “sympathizers”, relates to respect for the rule of law and due process in the Bahamas. Something I was proud to hear our Prime Minister, Dr. Minnis, pledge himself to when sworn in at Government House.”

The sloop is shown here before it was burnt.

Smith continued, “Firstly I don’t know who burnt the vessel, but if it was burnt on the orders of anyone from the government, that is firstly a crime and secondly unconstitutional in that it is a destruction of private property not in accordance with the law.

“Secondly, I’m concerned as to whether or not flying a Magistrate down to Long Island and having a court hearing is really necessary and or nothing more than form over substance. Will it be nothing more than a Kangaroo Court? Will the humans really be getting a fair trial? Will humans be properly advised as to what their rights are? May some of the humans actually have been born in The Bahamas and are simply returning home as many try to do? Smith asked.


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