I am ashamed of the behaviour of this Bahamian Immigration Officer, the Caribbean sister should write the authorities

Dear Editor,

As a Bahamian citizen that has lived in Nassau my entire life, it was with great disappointment and shame that I read the letter titled “Warm welcome to the Bahamas” that was published in your newspaper on October 29, 2007. The relating of such blatant discrimination and mistreatment of a Guyanese national at the hands of a Bahamian Immigration officer left me feeling so badly that I felt compelled to write and offer my sincerest apology on behalf of my fellow Bahamians and to hopefully offer myself as an example that his attitude and actions in no way reflect the sentiment that all Bahamians carry towards Guyanese or towards other Caricom nationals.

As there can simply be no excuse made for the poor treatment that this Guyanese lady and Caribbean sister suffered at the hands of this brutish immigration officer, I will not even attempt to offer an explanation as to what may have led to this officer’s obvious predisposition to hostility. I will say though that I have noticed a disturbing trend among some of my countrymen towards the skewed perception that tourists originating from the global north are in some way deserving of more courtesy than those originating from the global south inclusive of our sister nations in the region.

As Bahamians, like myself, who are proud to be a part of the most beautifully diverse region on the planet continue to do what we can to dispel such nonsensical views, I would like to strongly encourage the lady who had the misfortune of encountering this cretin to lodge an official complaint by contacting any or all of the official representatives listed below:

Mr Vernon Burrows

Director of Immigration

Bahamas Department of Immigration

P.O. Box N 831

Nassau, The Bahamas

(242) 322-7531

Hon. Brent Symonette

Minister of Foreign Affairs

P.O. Box N 3746

Nassau, The Bahamas

(242) 302-9300/1

Hon. Branville McCartney

Minister of Tourism and Aviation

George St. Bolam House

P.O. Box N-3701

Nassau, The Bahamas

(242) 302-2000

I would sincerely expect for there to be some recourse with a view to compensating this individual for her mistreatment as well as for the eventual reprimand of this immigration officer for his display. I would also hope that this incident could also be used as an example of the sort of attitudes that we need to curb here in the Bahamas. Indeed we are a beautiful nation, but we Bahamians must also remember that beauty remains in the eyes of the beholder.

Yours faithfully,

Tamico Gilbert

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