U.S. nominee: Bahamas a protectorate of the U.S.
Doug Manchester, President Donald Trump’s nominee for U.S. ambassador to The Bahamas, yesterday described The Bahamas as a “protectorate” of the United States.
During Manchester’s confirmation hearing, New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez said: “In your conversations with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff, you described The Bahamas as a protectorate of the United States. Is that a view you believe is part of our relationship?”
Manchester responded, “Well certainly, for all intents and purposes we believe that it is a protectorate. We have Coast Guard there, homeland security; we are obviously working with the Royal [Bahamas] Police Force which we want to in fact continue to support, who are doing a great job in the interdiction in human trafficking, in drugs and also gun running.”
Pressing the matter, Menendez said: “But a protectorate implies that the Bahamians aren’t a fully independent nation, that we somehow have some view that we have some type of quasi-control over them.”
Manchester then said: “I don’t believe that is what I’ve mentioned.
“I think that obviously we have come to the help of Bermuda and other areas in the Caribbean and also Canada and all of the other countries that are surrounding us.
“We have to continue to in fact have a great military presence and make sure that we don’t end up with a South China Sea situation in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
“The Bahamas, 60 percent of their revenue comes from tourism, which I believe that will continue to increase. They have a huge number of islands and it’s a landmass of 5,000 miles, the area of California, and 330,000 people, most of which, a couple hundred thousand of them, are living in the Nassau area.
“I think that from a protectorate standpoint, if I said that, I said that in the context of, in fact we currently…have government agencies working hand in hand with the Bahamian government.”
Menendez then said: “The South China Sea issue is because China, a major country, has decided to develop islands and move militarily. You are not suggesting that the Bahamians are going to pose a South China Sea challenge to us, are they?”
Manchester said he did not understand the question.
Menendez said he did not see a connection between the situation in the South China Sea and The Bahamas.
Manchester responded: “Well, I might have misunderstood or misstated that particular statement.”
Asked how he would characterize the relationship between the U.S. and The Bahamas, Manchester said, “It’s incredibly important to us economically and also incredibly important to us from a security standpoint and, as a result, I will do everything I possibly can to continue to promote democracy and the close ties between the Bahamian government, the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and also the United States.”
Manchester said U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “told me, we just need to do everything we possibly can to promote and make the Commonwealth of The Bahamas as great as it can be”.
When prompted by Menendez on what his top three policy issues would be, Manchester said he would ensure the “protection of the United States citizens traveling in The Bahamas and obviously the protection of the embassy and all of its American citizens.
“And to promote economic well-being by encouraging additional U.S. investment into the Bahamian Commonwealth.”
Manchester also pledged to advocate for more United States investments in The Bahamas, should he be confirmed for the position.
“Working in concert with the U.S. Embassy, the Commonwealth of The Bahamas has tremendous opportunity to attract more U.S. business interests, increase economic stability and to address regional challenges associated with drugs, human trafficking and illegal immigration,” Manchester said.
“If confirmed, I would dedicate all my passion, experience, and ability to ensuring that the United States of America maintains a mutually beneficial presence in The Bahamas that creates more safety for Americans and Bahamian citizens.
“Having employed thousands of people over the years, I have seen the impact that a job and a paycheck can have on a community.
“I herein pledge that if I am confirmed, I will do all in my power to advocate for U.S. companies and entrepreneurs to invest in The Bahamas.
“As our closest neighbor after Canada and Mexico, we must ensure that we maintain a strong presence there.
“We must demonstrate our own capabilities in The Bahamas to help the country create jobs and improve economic performance.
“When the world is working and families have incomes, it is a more secure place.”
Manchester is a leading industrialist with accomplishments on a national and international scale in telecommunications, radio broadcast, medical instrumentation, publishing and real estate development.
He has served as chairman of Manchester Financial Group since 1970.
The Senate has not yet voted on the nomination.