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February 17, 2010



Excellent. The ignorance and resulting hatred is astounding and so very sad. Should mail this article to every bahamian in town.

Rick Lowe

Good stuff Larry.
One other point that needs to be raised is what we do about the Haitian slums.
These happen as a result of not having property rights, and so many of them have been here for so long, they're Bahamian's but without status, so they cannot buy property. Hence the slums etc.

larry smith

They can't even open a bank account.

Nicolette Bethel

Ditto to the kudos. One thing though - the proposal you attribute to me actually came from Victoria Allen, another professor at COB - I was reposting it. But be that as it may - good article as usual.


Rick Lowe

We (the Country) should discuss the property rights of Bahamians that are being eroded by the slums as well.

Pieter Hale

I have to throw in my 2 cents again Larry.

When there’s competition for resources, we form alliances and divisions.
Alliances are developed on commonalities, and divisions on differences.
In good times, vive la difference, and al’s&div’s aren’t an issue.
In a recession, al’s&div’s are the issue.

Hence, the current grumbling should raise no eyebrows.
Although I don’t get around much myself, I do have saturation coverage from a source in the trenches.
The picture emerges of a huge illegal infiltration.
Precisely because we are unable to count this moving target is the reason for our ‘level of ignorance, fear and hate-mongering’.
The upcoming statistical exercise will not count the illegals. The only way to count illegals is to count slippers abandoned and garbage cans overturned by panicked immigration raid evaders. And nobody’s counting those.
My source reports:
. at the clinics, the first numbers are reserved by HB nurses for H’s – B’s are rudely directed by the HB nurses to the back of the line
. at the passport office, non-English speaking H's outnumber B's waiting to be seen
. at PMH, most births are now to H’s
. H’s speaking not a lick of English are producing huge numbers of children
. H’s speaking not a lick of English are claiming hundreds of dollars every month from NIB
. at schools, free lunch and books are only provided to H children – low income B families are denied
. if you turn your car around in an H compound, you are threatened for trespassing on private property
. H’s are running the drugs now, the B’s having all been locked up
. zoe rules the streets (Carmichael and the Grove)

Personally, rather than live in that part of town, I’m taking my source’s word for all this.
Remember the differences:
. a foreign language is a menace at home (charming in H)
. a foreign culture (voodoo etc.) is a menace at home (charming in H)
. a harder working and more capable foreigner is even more menacing!
Perhaps most menacing:
. illegals must bribe to survive, thus perpetuating a corrupt administration

Vive la difference is fine in small doses, but my feeling is if H’s don’t already outnumber B’s, trends make it inevitable in our lifetime.
We oldtimers are already challenged by the antics of our own kind – just imagine how much harder it’ll be under an alien H culture.

Say, as a by the way, responses to your column should be printed with your next column, like Marquis used to do, and I thought you used to do. I think a diversity of opinions makes for a much more engaging newspaper.
No disrespect intended, a web page tends to be overlooked by most.

larry smith

Your "source" repeats the unsubstantiated rubbish referred to in my article.

My main point is that we cannot address a problem without taking account of accurate information. And I don't agree that the attitudes towards Haitians have anything to do with the recession.

The latest and most comprehensive hard data on this issue in the public domain is contained in the IOM/COB report, which directly contradicts the assertions made by your unidentified confidant - who obviously has his or her own agenda.

This is not to deny that the migration poses significant problems that we have to address. Take a look at two relevant articles in the COB research journal (vols 14 and 15):


Show me the numbers that "most" births are to Haitians etc. etc. And if Haitians have been paying into NIB for years (and most likely both sides of the contribution) then it is their right to collect NIB benefits - you can't collect if you haven't paid!

All these myths were exposed in the IOM study.

Patricia Josey

I would be interested in reading the 94 page report from International Office of Migration.

larry smith

You can read it here...

Piter Hale

The % of Haitian nationals in the general population in 2000 already looks alarming to me: 7.2% for New Providence.

Following your IOM link, I found this:

During the period, 1963-2000, the percentage of Haitian community in the all Bahamas population increased from 3.2% to 7.1%, which indicates that the size of the resident Haitian community has increased above that of the overall increase in the population of The Bahamas(Figure 5.1). It is this disproportionate increase in the size of the Haitian community which could be the basis for some of the comments reported in Section 1.

This increase in the population should also be seen in the context of Haitian females being more productive than their Bahamian counterparts as well as the addition of new migrants.

True, I didn't attempt to soften my source's remarks, and true, they follow the usual pattern referred to in your article,
which brings me to the crux of the matter - the matter of perception.

I'd say that perception by this source, and most, would be the obnoxiousness of the experience.
So, regardless of the numbers, the influx limit of tolerance has long been exceeded.

In Saddam's Iraq, the minority Sunni lorded over the majority Shiite. The proportions in Abaco look just about the same to me.


As yall debate this I note Abaco is mentioned.
The out islands vary widely with some having almost zero haitians and others like Abaco being overrun.

Also some are citizens of the bahamas after being born to haitians here. They live in the haitian slums, speak creole better than english, and call themselves "haitians". This further skews the view on the ground as opposed to the study.

larry smith

These are good points, which are mentioned in the report.

Strong Youth

writing this i have nothing against haitians personally, but to preserve this country called the Bahamas we need to know the foreigners who are over here are legal and if no dealt with.
i am a young man that grew up on the island of Abaco. Now i reside
in Nassau. going back for visits to the island which i was born. it is very disturbing to see that Abaco is being over run with haitian's.
The people of Abaco and the whole Bahamas look at illegal foreign migrant as the norm. we all talk about it but do nothing. we need to make a stand. no more talking the Bahamas needs action.
Yes i understand that Haiti is in great need of help right now. But first make sure Bahamians people are in a position to help.
In a time of sorrow it is easy to make guilt decision and we can all relate to that

Trevor Brown

Very informative article! Thank you very much!

Lil Tangerine

The answer to the counting problem is that we should provide them with an incentive to come out and be counted. We should be promoting citizenship. How many "Bahamians" would fail the tests required for a foreigner to gain citizenship?

The idea of being an educated, employed, law-abiding, prosperous "Citizen of The Bahamas" is something we should try promoting aggressively. To Haitian and Bahamian alike.

I've had a lot of ideas about what we could try but most of them probably sound crazy since I don't _really_ know what I'm talking about.

For instance we could promote integration by arranging it so a Bahamian (or foreigner who has earned their citizenship) can vouch for an illegal. Any non-immigration legal problems the Immigrant gets themselves into (crime) also become the problem of the vouching Citizen. The citizen (should) sees to it that the Immigrant finds suitable housing pays their national insurance and attends English classes. If they are wise the will even help the Immigrant with English and with whatever else they can help with. It would do much to help us identify the ones who are definitely not criminals and are truly interested in achieving "The Bahamian Dream".

Unfortunately with that idea you'd find a bunch of expats vouching for their babysitter, gardener or maid but it's a start.

Residents in Haitian slums should be encouraged (or threatened) to pool their money and start making down-payments to the owners of the land they're squatting on so they could someday sort-of-own it.

They don't have the money to build a "proper" house but there should be some sort of construction and sanitation guidelines that prevent these places from becoming filthy "slums".

Note: some ghetto all-Bahamian communities are also absolutely filthy.

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