Monday, Oct 14, 2019
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‘Cry the beloved country’

Dear Editor,

I watched in horror and dismay when our northern islands were decimated by the terrible storm, Dorian, resulting in massive loss of life and belongings.

However, in the weeks following this disaster I have been even more horrified and dismayed in watching my country forfeit its right to be called “a Christian nation”.

I never dreamt that I would hear my fellow countrymen and women spew such vitriol and hatred against the “stranger in our gates”. This is especially so given the help and love shown to us by countries and people from all over the world.

A friend of mine from another country, not Haiti, has been helping in the camps set up for the evacuees. She cooked and found clothing for them for weeks, until last weekend when she saw the persons in charge of the camp or centre, place on the food table a piece of paper with the words “Bahamians only”.

Is this what we have come to, Bahamas?

This week, she will continue helping but she will ensure that she gives her gifts out personally. She also noted that while the Haitian refugees would sweep and mop, the Bahamians would lay off and watch. This is reminiscent of the people of North Eleuthera liming while foreigners repaired their settlements.

The situation has not been helped by the vitriol being disseminated by social media and talk shows ad nauseam, and further worsened by The Bahamas government changing its stance in respect of Haitians displaced by Dorian.

Has the government forgotten that these people watched members of their family be washed or blown away? Has it forgotten that they too have lost everything?

These persons are still in a state of shock. Some of the children are orphans.

Have we, noted for our Bible pumping, lost sight of the need for humanity.

Are we really serious about sending persons like these, many of whom have unexpired work permits and have been in The Bahamas for many years, into a country which is in the throes of unrest?

Do we really have to send immigration officers, dressed as if for Desert Storm, en masse into the Abaco community to add to their distress? Or are our politicians playing to the lowest common denominator in Bahamian society because they fear losing votes?

Like Alan Paton, I cry for my beloved country and I hope that we will see a return to a Christian nation.

Perhaps one day, when the sea reclaims our islands, our descendants may be begging to sit on the hills and mountains of Haiti.

– Jeanne Thompson

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