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Concerns with American base at Andros

Dear Editor,

On July 17, 2018 at 7:30 in the morning, while our fishing vessel was anchored in South Bight, Andros, the following announcement came over our VHF radio on channel 16: “Securite, Securite, Securite. This is Warship 66 advising of live fire operations in the vicinity of 24 degrees, 27 minutes and 55 seconds north. 77 degrees, 25 minutes and 02 seconds west. Please maintain a distance of 15 nautical miles from my vessel.”

I would like to ask all right-thinking Bahamians if they think that this is acceptable in Bahamian waters, so close to shore? This is approximately 17 to 18 miles from our coastline in Andros, in Bahamian waters.

What should be clear today in 2018 to every thinking person is that the United States has no loyalty to anyone except itself.

President Donald Trump has shown that there is no treaty or agreement that cannot be dissolved by the stroke of a pen. There is no national leader who is above his cowardly petty attacks. And, if you do not think he had The Bahamas right in there with his description of “shithole countries” I would say you are not paying attention.

His simple-minded, racist and selfish mind has no concern for anyone around him – people or countries. His belligerent policies and threats towards China, among others, should leave no doubt that we are quite literally “stuck in the middle”.

Is this a position, likened to standing in the middle of a gang war, or a shootout with police, that we would like to find ourselves in?

On the one hand, we are welcoming China into The Bahamas with open arms.

On the other hand, if we read the papers, there is undeniable growing tension between the U.S. and China. Big tension that could easily turn into war. Is this not abundantly clear to all?

The U.S. clearly believes that The Bahamas “belongs to their sphere of influence”.

To allow ourselves to be caught in the middle of this very potential ticking time bomb is not exactly sound thinking. Is it, my fellow Bahamians?

Are the handful of jobs AUTEC provides in Fresh Creek really worth it in terms of our national security interests? Or, have we even considered it? Why is there no public discussion or input regarding this contract with AUTEC being renewed over and over? Who, in this whole sordid AUTEC affair is benefiting?

Time and again Andros is said to become the ecotourism capital of The Bahamas. Are low-flying gray helicopters and massive warships part of an ecotourism experience for a seasoned traveler? Hardly.

A couple of weeks ago, as related by a couple of Bahamian fishermen who were in the Tongue of the Ocean, they witnessed a missile being launched from a “warship”. One of the fishermen hit the deck. The other fishermen on board laughed and said, “If that missile comes our way, there won’t be nothing left to flee from.”

The captains of the mailboats who serve Andros tell of increasing requests to “alter course” by the

AUTEC operations, costing “us Bahamians” time and money, in our own Bahamian waters. Is this acceptable?

Pilots who fly into Andros from Nassau also suggest they are often requested to avoid the area off Fresh Creek in the Tongue of the Ocean due to these war games and live fire operations that are taking place in Bahamian waters.

Who thinks a deadly accident is not likely? Perhaps we will never know. Perhaps any accident, after a “thorough” U.S. and Bahamian investigation, would be chalked up to pilot error, or mechanical difficulties, eh?

Maybe long ago in some fairy tale era it was deemed acceptable by the most educated here to allow the U.S. to bring their war machine to our shores. If anyone paying attention this last year could soberly say the same I would claim they were dangerously delusional, evidently brainwashed, possibly even bribed.

Neutrality has its place in foreign relations. This is one time whereby it seems absolutely necessary to tell the U.S. to find another place to practice killing people.

It is a time to say that we welcome all people, just not with their bombs and bullets and war apparatus. Is not the safety of our nation worth thinking this through and acting immediately in our own best interests?

 

– A Concerned Fisherman

 

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