Editorial so, how did we get here the tribune

In the UK, British premier David Cameron also thought he’d hit on an electoral winner by promising the public a vote on whether the country should stay or leave the European Union. Forget what many claim – all Cameron was doing was trying to put a lid on internal battles within his Conservative Party which have haunted it since Britain joined its European neighbours.

Unfortunately for Cameron he’d let the genie out of the bottle – exactly as happened in the US. Having seen millions of East Europeans enter the country – legally – over the previous decade white, migrant-fearing Britons said “enough” and the result was Brexit. Exit Cameron leaving his successor Theresa May to cope with the fallout – to date, incredibly badly.

So what had changed?


The migrants have pretty much always been there, doing the jobs Bahamians won’t do themselves, a large, silent underclass who – at some point in their own family’s history – made the desperate journey from Haiti in the hope of a better life here or, if they were lucky, further north in the US. Some still try to make the same journey but, thanks to the RBDF, most are picked up en route or after their sloop runs aground.

Cynics drew the conclusion that five months into government Dr Minnis had quickly realised he needed something to divert the public’s attention from his new government’s attempts to deliver what they’d promised. It clearly hadn’t taken them long to discover that with no money to spend, tens of millions more in debts uncovered, their hands were going to be pretty much tied – certainly in the early years in office when “quick wins” would be expected.

There were others who saw things differently, chief among them Fred Smith the extravagant – and for many – deeply unpopular human rights lawyer. Thing with Fred – who’d been among the loudest champions to help the FNM into office – is he loves a scrap, especially when he sees something is wrong and the law – as he understands it – is on his side.

First was the family of Jean Charles Jean Rony who had been pulled off the streets of the country where he was born, thrown in Carmichael detention centre and, when Fred started asking questions quoting constitution and the law, they quietly shipped Jean Rony off to Haiti. Problem was, with a little bit of help, Fred brought him back and, so far, the courts have consistently ruled Fred’s petitions are right and Mr Bethel and Co. in the wrong.

To outsiders, Mr Bethel would appear to have looked less confident of his position when he announced in the Senate on Wednesday he had now brought in outside counsel to argue the government’s case. Wasn’t that exactly what happened in the ongoing corruption trials – outside lawyers parachuted in at the last minute when the government’s case appeared to be falling apart? Fred must be shaking in his boots.

There was a glimpse it’s there this week, buried not too far beneath the surface just waiting to be revealed. It came in the story of Taranique Thurston, a teenager desperately ill who needs to travel to the US for surgery. Fred, of course, alerted us to the story because it was to him the family had turned for help. He kept out of the headlines because it was about Taranique, no-one else. We reported how she couldn’t get to the US because under current citizenship regulations she is effectively, stateless.

We put her story on the front page for the first time a fortnight ago. Surely, we thought, the government would forget the rules and jump in immediately – as it had the power to do – and help Taranique on to a plane. At first silence, so we did it again. Surely it must dawn on someone in this government to see this was an easy win. Pick up the phone, make the call, make it happen.