Bahamian Prime Minister Statement on President Martelly's Visit
- Monday, February 13, 2012 7:50 PM
NASSAU, Bahamas (defend.ht) - Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham held a press conference to quell a developing political scandal that would have a political party calling for his resgnation.
Hubert Ingraham's Declaration:
I want to respond to comments in the press about the intervention of the President of Haiti (Martelly) during his visit to the Bahamas.
First, I want to say that the Bahamian government had not invited President Martelly to visit the Bahamas. There is no need for the Bahamas to invite the president of any friendly country of the Bahamas. The head of any government having relations with the Bahamas may visit the country when he decides. He does not need to seek our permission for that to happen.
I myself have no need for permission from the President of the United States to go to his country, as well as that of Jamaica, Barbados and Haiti, etc ... to visit these countries.
I was informed Saturday, Feb. 4 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that President Martelly wanted to stop over in the Bahamas en route to Mexico. It was subsequently confirmed later Saturday that he intended to spend the day and night in Nassau and wanted to meet the press, the Governor General and Prime Minister.
The meeting with the Prime Minister was set for noon on the day he would be in Nassau. Mr. Branville McCartney of the unregistered party calling itself Democratic National Alliance (DNA), said that I invited Mr. Martelly. This is false.
Recently, Mr. Christie's PLP had the occasion to remind Mr. McCartney that he should stop lying. I do the same. When you lie more than once, you become a liar.
One of the things young and old politicians must ensure is that they are credible people, they take care to check things out before deciding. You should not open your mouth and making false statements about things you could check in advance.
The lack of delicateness is not good for young people, like the old politicians. I warn Mr McCartney not to continue to lie.
The second thing is that, the president of Haiti has made several statements in print and electronic media on two points which appear to have caused public concern.
First, I want to emphasize that no member of FNM [PM's party, Ed] was present at Joe Farrington Road. There was a Parliamentary PLP, former Advocate General Alfred Sears and the PLP's candidate for Fort Charlotte, Dr. Andre Rollins, the collection made by Mr. Martelly with about 7,000 Haitians and / or citizens of the Bahamas.
As far as I remember, Mr. Martelly had the meeting held on the day he arrived. The next day he went to Mr. Christie where he also met his wife and some of his colleagues.
I assume that if Mr. Christie had any objection to the statements of Mr. Martelly, he would have expressed them at this meeting. He certainly would not have waited until Friday to do so, when he presented his candidates. Naturally, this is what I have done if I had any objection to the statements of Mr. Martelly.
When Mr. Martelly and I met, I was not aware of his statements and I had learned nothing from the newspapers and radios. One of his statements against which I objected that's when he got to know that children born descendants of Haitians in the Bahamas are eligible for citizenship and stateless persons are practically seen that 'they can not apply for citizenship before 18 years.
These people are not stateless. They have the citizenship of their parents according to our constitution which is different from those of Haiti and the United States. People born in the Bahamas for non-Bahamians do not have the right to citizenship of the Bahamas until they have attained the age of 18. They must do so before the age of 19 years, otherwise they lose that right.
So, from birth to age 18 years, these people are nationals of the countries of their parents, especially their father. The Haitian Constitution differs on this point. Therefore, I think President Martelly was mistaken in thinking that the Bahamian situation was identical to that of Haiti and the United States, because people born in the United States become American at birth. This is not the reality in the Bahamas.
Regarding the second statement he made calling the Bahamian of Haitian origin to vote the party of their choice, I think it was within his rights to express themselves well.
In fact, frankly, I do not see how that would disturb the Bahamas that is said to nationals of the United States, Jamaica and Barbados required to vote in these countries, to vote the party that defends the their best interests.
And, therefore, in reference to citizens of the Bahamas who were Haitians, we certainly want to get the vote of the majority of Bahamians, they had their origin in the country or they are naturalized. We certainly hope to benefit from the vote of the majority of Haitians who are naturalized and have long been in the country, because we believe that they and others have realized that the FNM is the best for them.
Related 02.10.2012: President Martelly Meets with Bahamian-Haitian Community
Related 02.08.2012: Haiti: President Martelly Prolongs Stay Abroad