The Bahamian Haitian Situation Part1

The Bahamas Haitian Situation – Part 1
By Apostle Cedric Moss

Nassau, Bahamas

March 4, 2004

 

For several months I have been contemplating offering my thoughts on the Haitian situation in our country.  Prompted by the climatic events in Haiti this past week that resulted in President Jean Bertrand Aristide’s resignation, I today I begin in earnest part one of a three part series.

More than talk
As I followed local news coverage of the events unfolding in Haiti, I was particularly moved by Dr. Eugene Newry’s request for prayer for the strife-torn nation of Haiti.  Although Dr. Newry is the Bahamian Ambassador to Haiti, he seems to recognize that beyond diplomatic talk, the real need of the Haitian people is for divine intervention through prayer to Almighty God.  I agree with him.  Therefore, we who are followers of Christ should take heart that while governments talk and exercise human diplomacy; we can exercise divine diplomacy in prayer.

Balancing Two Concerns
For reasons that are obvious, a major concern in The Bahamas about the chaos in Haiti is that thousands of Haitians will come here with the hope of finding good fortune and a better life.  However, we must have an additional concern.  We must also be concerned about the plight of our brothers and sisters in Haiti, not just the effect that the situation there can potentially have on us. 

I know it is easy to misunderstand my point so I will restate it: I am not saying that we must not be concerned about the potential additional strain that further amounts of Haitian immigrants will have on public services in our small country.  We obviously must be concerned because our resources are limited.  However, if our concern stops at the point of ourselves and does not take into account the grim circumstances faced by our Haitian brothers and sisters, we would be selfish.  So we must balance these two concerns.

A Major Challenge
The reality is that even if there was a way to prevent further illegal immigration from Haiti to The Bahamas, the existing number of Haitians already here (speculated by some to be as high as 60,000) presents us with one of the most significant national challenges we face.  This challenge cannot be wished away or talked away.  It is here and our best option is to try to deal with it proactively. 

As I listen to some Bahamians propose solutions to the problem of Haitians residing illegally in The Bahamas it is becoming clearer to me that many of them do not realize how serious and far gone the problem is.  Therefore, their solutions are no real solution.  In addition, some of the so-called solutions are illegal and/or inhumane.

Our Day of Reckoning
In my view, although it is the lot of the present government to deal with the Haitian situation, successive governments of The Bahamas have to take collective responsibility for the state of affairs.  While it would be naďve to minimize the task of effectively combating the problem of illegal immigration of Haitians to The Bahamas, I believe much more could have been done.  By this I do not mean more rounding up and repatriations since this strategy by itself is no real solution.

In addition to successive governments falling short, we are Bahamians in general must take responsibility.  Many among us took and still take economic advantage of our Haitian brothers and sisters and exploit them economically as modern day indentured servants, thereby contributing to the situation we now face.  The tragedy is that now many of these same exploiters are speaking the loudest and shouting, “Send them home!” But it’s a bit too late.  Our day of reckoning has come. 

Preview of Next Week
Now that the government in Haiti is in further limbo, the prospects of our government getting the much talked about treaty that covers repatriation, among other things, signed any time soon is not that great.  But what if they did get the treaty signed immediately?  What would it produce?  Join me next week when I will analyze the much talked about treaty and at the same time answer these questions.   

Apostle Cedric Moss serves as Senior Pastor at Kingdom Life World Outreach Centre.  Comments and feedback may be directed to: apostle@kingdom-life.org.

 

Bahamas News and Views


The Islands’ Haitian Situation– Part 2

Was Aristide forced out?

 

The Islands’ Haitian Situation – Part 3

Several months back, I followed a long discussion on the Haitian situation on the local discussion website…