Anti-Haitian sentiments on the rise following Dorian

Anti-Haitian sentiments on the rise following Dorian
Louby Georges.

Activist files police complaint over viral death threat

NASSAU, BAHAMAS —Anti-Haitian sentiments in the country have soared in the aftermath of deadly Hurricane Dorian as widespread devastation and financial loss expose historic prejudices.

Activists, government officials, and hurricane victims have reported worsening ethnic tensions and fears that hate speech on social media could reach a tipping point.

On Monday, outspoken human rights activist Louby Georges filed a complaint with police after he received an expletive-filled voice note detailing an attempt on his life. He told Eyewitness News Online he normally ignores detractors, but immediately reported the voice note due to the emotions amplified by the catastrophic category 5 storm.

Georges, a spokesperson for the newly-formed United Haitian Community, urged the government against pandering to calls for an immigration crackdown against Haitian storm victims as it begged for humanitarian aid on the world stage.

Georges said: “We have a volcano on the ground right now; tar so hot that you ride with the car on it [and] your tires will melt. That’s how hot the tension is.

“We have to set some kind of precedence where voice notes like this, threats of death are taken seriously. [Haitians] facing a lot of [hateful comments], they are scared at the moment.”

Dorian leveled portions of Abaco and Grand Bahama, leaving thousands displaced and at least 60 people dead. Just under 1,600 storm evacuees are being housed in shelters across New Providence, with a significant portion of them evacuated from decimated shantytowns in Abaco.

At the Kendal G L Isaacs Gymnasium on Monday, a displaced and undocumented mother of three told Eyewitness News Online while she understands the government position, Dorian survivors are still deeply traumatized and unable to sleep. She said documented migrants and those with irregular status were equally afraid and unsure of their future, especially those with children born in the country with a claim to citizenship.

A chief concern has been the lack of clarity over how the government will identify those with legal right to remain in the country given the widespread loss of documentation; and when immigration officers will begin to comb through shelters.

Haiti’s Foreign Minister Bocchit Edmond has asked the government for a moratorium on repatriations as the country works to fast-track the replacement of documents for its citizens.

His comments came as Immigration Minister Elsworth Johnson repeatedly warned undocumented storm victims that they were not safe from enforcement efforts. Johnson suggested the tone struck in the immediate aftermath of the storm – when migrants were assured they would not be targeted – was instrumental in building trust with traumatized storm victims who may not have accepted aid due to their status.

Following an Immigration statement reiterating work permits for migrants are non-transferable and non-nationals seeking employment in The Bahamas must make new applications from their home country; Attorney General Carl Bethel told The Tribune jobless migrants must “go home”.

Georges opined the government’s shift in tone towards migrant storm victims further evidenced the deep divisions that – in part – kept hundreds of migrants in shantytowns on Abaco, instead of heeding warnings to evacuate.

“It’s because of the timing,” Georges said.

“Normally, no one can castigate or go after the minister for what he said. He said the right things, but it’s timing of it.

He continued: “Who are you really speaking to? The evacuees are not receiving newspapers. Obviously, you are speaking to the Bahamian populace…”

“…Any social group right now and Facebook group this is the topic.”

Less than a week after the storm, a group of 13 young men blocked the entrance to Staniard Creek in North Andros to prevent Haitian workers believed to be undocumented from accessing Kamalame Cay.

Central Andros Administrator Glen Lightbourne told Eyewitness News Online the ‘minor’ incident was swiftly resolved by police.

Lightbourne said: “Earlier that morning, they had blocked the road and we got information that they were stopping persons and asking for identification but the police dealt with that very quickly.

“I went into a meeting with police and immigration officers who are responsible for the area and we told (group) it’s not their position to do that, if they have any information to pass it on to police or immigration. It didn’t develop into anything major, there were about 12 to 13 young men.

Lightbourne continued: “At Kamalame Cay, we know they have residences that are being built constantly so contractors bring their workers there to construct that.”

Lightbourne insisted the matter was an isolated incident; however, in the following days a group called Descendants of North Andros raised concerns about the alleged relocation of Haitians from Abaco to Andros.

The group’s letter, and its claim that a San Andros shantytown had swelled to some 700 residents, was met with furor as it spread widely on social media.

Bahamas Christian Council President, Bishop Delton Fernander.

Yesterday, Bahamas Christian Council President (BCC) President Bishop Delton Fernander told Eyewitness News Online the proliferation of hateful public discourse is a growing concern for the church.

“We are concerned but we are careful to not draw a generalization that it is all Bahamians making those speech,” said Fernander, who underscored his comments reflected his personal opinion.

“I think it is the few personalities that have been known to be on social media and talk shows who are voicing their personal opinions but we are human beings who are part of the human race and we must really understand that everybody is a child of God and everybody is designed by God and so we must be careful when we think we’re better than anybody because we have all been given this breath by God.”

A government official sent to Abaco last Wednesday, spoke to Eyewitness News Online on the condition of anonymity after spending nearly a week on the island.

The official noted while some of the anger directed at Haitians were in response to attempts to rebuild in shantytown areas, there was a noticeable xenophobic undercurrent.

“Now that I’m in Abaco I can feel the tension people have been describing,” the official said.

“There’s a lot of talk on the town, persons expressing their feelings about the Haitian population. Unfortunately they are speaking negatively, it is noticeable. They were attempting to rebuild in Sandy Banks, I went with the police officers and they took us on a tour and showed us frames for buildings they had to knock down the night before.

The official continued: “Bahamians are angry, (Haitians) are back rebuilding and trying to reestablish themselves in these shanty town communities. That’s one of the things, but to be honest I think people are just against them because they are Haitian. That’s what it comes down to, because these people were always in the community.

“These are the persons who have done the jobs in the communities that you would describe as menial, and even now these persons are the ones doing some of the cleanup.”

Eyewitness News Online reporters Royston Jones, Sloan Smith and Ava Turnquest contributed to this report.


I do not understand why Haitians in the Bahamas do not return home to their native Haiti homeland, along with so-called human right’s lawyers and help to improve the economy there. Perhaps someone can enlighten me to their woes?

We are not discriminating against Haitians, the fact is that most of them are here illegally and that’s where the problem begins. They all want us overlook that fact. Breaking the law is committing a crime and consequences should follow after. It’s only fair.

I hope that your sentiments are also expressed for foreigners living in other countries, like the United States. I hope you are not one who berates the Republicans for their stance on immigration.

Bahamas and the Bahamian people are now showing who they are. My family and I use to travel there for vacation. And was given the impression that they are a welcoming set. But this hurricane is shedding much light on how prejudice and dirty the hearts of the people of Bahamas are. We as a group don’t feel comfortable anymore in visiting or even supporting Bahamas. God knew your hearts that’s what cause this disaster on the country. Trust me more to come just watch.

Bahamians for years have been tolerant of the migrant community in The Bahamas. The elder Haitian migrants had a different mind set from the younger generation today. So when Bahamians hear comments from Haitians like “Its more of us than y’all” and “Haitians taking over The Bahamas”, it causes some persons to get upset and retaliate. Then the Haitians twist these comments as hate and xenophobia against Haitians. But really and truly, the Haitians are the ones making negative comments against Bahamians and some choose to turn a blind eye. The Bahamian people will not sit back and be silent forever and that moment is now upon us. Haitians are just too aggressive, biggity and ungrateful. They break the law by crossing over our borders illegally, then demand rights. Louby Georges and Fred Smith claim to be Bahamian but their actions prove different. In my opinion, they are traitors became their loyalty is to Haiti, not The Bahamas and the Bahamian people need to demand the revocation of their citizenship.

I blame past and current government leaders and politicians for the massive Haitian population I The Bahamas. They have failed the Bahamian people miserably.

All we ask is that the immigration and citizenship laws of the Bahamas be fixed. NO MORE ANCHOR BABIES!


We the Bahamian people has decided that all this illegal immigrants, illegal land grabbing, illegal building and exhausting of our education system, exhausting of our health care system, exhausting of social services, and on top of that the level of disrespect for the law of our Governance taking our kindness for weakness has expired, threats of there are more of us ( Haitians ) then you all ( Bahamians ) not to mention the disrespect for the God we serve by posting garbage like ( one profile pic & US $20 we will turn you into a Goat) we are a Christian Nation and the most of them refused to turn from their obiah by saying one one get sick oh someone fix them Enough is Enough this is a Sovereign Bahamian Nation if they want to be Hatian give up the bahamian passports stop BURNING our NATIONAL FLAG and Leave immediately thank you very much it was nice not really knowing your disloyal disrespectful an appreciative set of people Shalom Shalom Dennis Cates the Farmer

The truth of the matter is that all countries have the right and obligations to safeguard its borders. I am pretty sure that whatever country you are from more than likely does not open its borders and allow illegal immigrants to surge in. However if that is the case why not petition for your government to allow these poor migrant to come and live in your country? Instead of talking why not take up the good fight and allow your government to provide these persons with free education and health care that the Bahamas has generously been doing for years? Finally, Be careful what you wish on others…it just might come back to bite you in the a## .

I was born in the Bahamas 1976 at PMH. Bahamian always called Haitians name I never like that we are all black people from Africa. Nobody is better then another you should always help ur sister and brother. I dont even believe in Christianity. Black leave that religion alone love God not religion.

We as Bahamians have helped the Haitians enough!!! Free healthcare, free schooling, free food from social service, we hire them knowing that they send their money back to Haiti not building up the Bahamas where they live, they squat on our native soil and pay no bills….when Bahamians do pay bills…its just not fair! Enough sucking on the Breadt of the Bahamas! Its weinig time! Leave the nest and go home!!!

The Bahamian people should agitate that Fred Smith and Louby George citizenship to the Bahamas be revoke. Their loyalty is to Haiti and the Haitian people. I hope that the Bahamas Government is serious about doing due diligence and sending the illegals to their birth country. Whether they are Haitians, Cubans, Indians…the law is the law. It MUST be applied to EVERYONE. No more free passes. LOUBY GO HOME AND TAKE YOUR FAMILY WITH YOU!

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