The burgeoning Haitian population in Pinder’s Point no one is talking about

Dear Editor,

In recent weeks, North Abaco MP Kirk Cornish and Central and South Abaco MP John Pinder have both sounded the alarm over the explosive growth of the Haitian population on Abaco in the post-Dorian era.

Despite the destruction of Pigeon Pea and The Mudd, with sheer determination and grit, the Haitian community continues to make its presence felt in Abaco via illegal migration and procreation.

Whereas a Bahamian professional would scoff at having two kids, a typical Haitian couple would have up to five to seven.

One Bahamian educator on Abaco recently alleged to an individual I know that a Haitian teen warned her that there are more of them than Bahamians on that island.

He apparently understands the importance of his people’s growth strategy in outpacing the Bahamian population growth.

The last census conducted in The Bahamas declared that the Bahamian population was roughly 354,000. Grand Bahama’s population was estimated at 51,400.

In 2012, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (or UNHCR) declared that the population of undocumented Haitian immigrants was 80,000 – 70,000 fewer than the 150,000 Haiti’s Chargé d’Affaires to The Bahamas Anthony Brutus estimated to be living here in late August.

Caribbean Migration estimates that between 20,000 and 50,000 undocumented Haitian immigrants reside in The Bahamas.

What this all means is that if Brutus’ estimation is correct, it would then mean that, in terms of a ratio percentage standpoint, the Haitian population is 37.5 percent of the current Bahamian population of 400,000.

In order to fully appreciate the size of the Haitian diaspora in the United States, especially in South Florida, the Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald both estimated that the Haitian population in South Florida is 300,000, particularly in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

There’s a vibrant Haitian community in South Florida called Little Haiti. In New York with its own Little Haiti, the Haitian population is 131,000; Massachusetts, 46,000; New Jersey, 39,000; Georgia,15,000; Pennsylvania,13,000; Connecticut,12,000; Maryland, 8,000; Illinois, 6,000 and Texas, 4,000.

Bear in mind that the foregoing United States estimates pertains only to Haitians who were born in Haiti. Obviously, any census that takes into account those born in the United States would swell the current Haitian population estimate by perhaps hundreds of thousands, which brings to mind Pinder’s warning several weeks ago.

What I find troubling is that the illegal Haitian immigration crisis in Abaco, while it continues to be adequately covered by the media, stakeholders and other officials seem to be oblivious to the burgeoning Haitian population in Pinder’s Point, which is located in the southern area of Grand Bahama.

This is a crisis that appears to be under the radar.

The same can be said about Lewis Yard and throughout the Eight Mile Rock community, particularly in Hanna Hill.

While it’s anyone’s guess what the population of Pinder’s Point is, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Haitian population outnumbers Bahamians living in that community.

A casual stroll through Pinder’s Point would give one a snapshot of the extent of the crisis, as one will encounter many “Bahamians” of Haitian ancestry who are fluent in Creole. They have retained their Haitian culture, ethos and language.

This seems to have been a well thought out decision not to assimilate the Bahamian culture, choosing instead to have an “us against them” outlook.

Certain areas in Pinder’s Point are eerily similar to the Haitian shantytowns in Abaco. It wouldn’t be farfetched to suggest that Pinder’s Point is teeming with Haitians.

The Bahamas has neither the manpower nor resources to properly police between South Florida and the area south of Inagua, which spans approximately 760 miles.

I am not attempting to start an ethnic war. Haitians, like Bahamians, are bearers of God’s image.

We must adhere to the biblical injunctions to love our neighbors as ourselves and to treat aliens humanely.

Having said that, the state is also tasked with the mandate to protect its citizens from lawbreakers and to secure its borders, otherwise The Bahamas will eventually be overwhelmed with Haitians.

I’m afraid that this has already happened to Pinder’s Point.

— Kevin Evans

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