Treasonists should “die and be planted in an unmarked grave”, says minister
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Minister of Financial Services, Trade and Industry and Immigration Elsworth Johnson called for loyalty from regularized citizens as the country seeks to shore up its borders from illegal landings.
Johnson stressed The Bahamas has a shortage of space to accommodate those seeking to migrate to the country.
“When you take this oath, and you do this pledge and you sing this national anthem, you’ve given your loyalty and your commitment to this country. And if you don’t live up to that, and you commit treason, you should die and be planted in an unmarked grave,” Johnson said during the mid-year budget debate.
“And we should not be ashamed Mr. Speaker. I know this is not popular and I have to take my time.”
Johnson said when police officers and marines leave their families every day, sometimes they do not return, losing their lives while serving their country.
“When you come here you have to be loyal,” he said.
“It’s a way of life. We may not always want to embrace it, but Englerston’s father (former Governor General A.D. Hanna) had it right. When he speaks about Bahamianization it is not about hatred you know, it is about commitment to a country. That’s what it’s about. All we are saying in the immigration department is we will respect the rights of all; we will do our jobs properly.
Johnson added: “That is the kind of commitment this country requires.”
As it relates to undocumented migrants in The Bahamas, the minister pledged their human dignity and human rights should be respected and the Department of Immigration “fully appreciates this”.
“We are going to respect the dignity of the human person, but not only the dignity of the human person you know, you have to respect the dignity of a country to self-determine and survive,” he said.
“You have to respect the dignity of a democratic and sovereign country to self-determine and to survive. And so, as we seek to discuss the budget, we have already prepared for how many students can be in our schools.
“We have already prepared for how many persons our doctors can serve. We already know the capacity with which our military can respond, so when we say to persons if you want, and you want to bring your children, we have no more space in our schools; tell me where you are going to educate your children.
“We’re not being mean. We’re not being hateful. When we say this is how you get rid of your refuge, this is how you build — we are not being spiteful. We still will protect the dignity and integrity of the human person.”
As the department undergoes a digitization transformation, Johnson said officials have observed have uncovered people with “dead people’s birth certificates”.
“We know that people take pictures in the graveyard,” he said, adding that identity theft is a serious problem in The Bahamas.
The minister said he could not provide specifics as some of those matters have been taken before the courts.
“There’s a certain sociopolitical activity that is only reserved for citizens,” he said.
“In the name of Jesus, if you are not a citizen don’t try to vote,” Johnson said.
“If you are not a citizen, don’t to get involved in our politically economy.
He commended the staff at the Registrar General’s Office, while warning regularized citizens that if the government finds they have stolen the identity of anyone, they will be revoked.