Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert Minnis called for love between Bahamians and Haitians as the government seeks to regulate that group of undocumented illegal migrants and their Shanty Town livelihoods. He was addressing the League of Haitian Pastors’ 24th Annual Crusade/Civic Night at the Church of God Auditorium on Joe Farrington Road on Thursday, May 24, 2018. With the Minister of Transport and Local Government, the Hon. Frankie Campbell serving as interpreter, the Prime Minister referenced the strong ties between The Bahamas and Haiti and addressed misunderstandings in the government’s dealing with issues of illegal immigration. The Prime Minister said, “no matter where we hail from, we also celebrate unity in our diversity. We must be one people in love and unity.”
He thanked the organization for inviting him to share with them, counting it a privilege to be among “this wonderful turnout.” And, he hoped the crusade would be filled with blessings and become a time of renewal. “I thank the League of Haitian Pastors for the work you do in our communities, including your pastoral and social ministry and outreach,” the Prime Minister said. Quoting the Biblical verse from 1 John 4:16: “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” The Prime Minister urged the group to let their crusade be a time to express their love of God and love of neighbor, which God has instructed all to do. “No matter the struggles, no matter the suffering, no matter the trials and tribulations, no matter the heartbreak, no matter the mountains to climb, we should always rely on the love and mercy of the God who sustains us in every season of life. Let us all always continue to seek God’s guidance and grace,” the Prime Minister said.
He also sought to clear up any misconceptions regarding the Government’s intentions to, over time, remove shantytowns in New Providence and Abaco. He said that the government has set up a large task force to carefully plan for the removal of shantytowns, “so that we can better assimilate the residents of these areas, and help to improve the quality of life of residents.” The Prime Minister emphasized that the task force includes a number of representatives of the Haitian community, including pastors with whom the government is in continuous dialogue. “I thank all the members of the task force for their dedication and hard work,” the Prime Minister said.
He noted, though: “There has been a tremendous misunderstanding, by some people, of what we are trying to do” and assured that the government has been careful to address the issue in a comprehensive, careful and compassionate manner. “Our aim is to improve the lives of all of those affected by what we are doing,” the Prime Minister said. He pointed out that The Bahamas is made up of people who have their roots from throughout the world, including the Caribbean. “The ties between the Bahamas and Haiti go back several centuries. Haiti and The Bahamas are bound together by history, by geography, and by family ties,” the Prime Minister said: so many Bahamians enjoy such family ties; this is something to be celebrated. He added: “We celebrate those who have contributed so much to building our Bahamas, no matter which land we originally came from.”