Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Solidarity with the Millar's Creek Preservation Group

Today at Nicolette Bethel’s blog she carries a press release from the Millar’s Creek Preservation Group’s chairman E. Emmanuel McKenzie that is shocking and alarming. He reports that his envirionmental group’s fundraiser event at Millar’s Creek Recreation Park was targeted on the night of April 19 by police who terrorized the 300 plus patrons with gunfire , violent interrogations and death threats, people who were unarmed and offering no resistance. At least one person was gun-butted by the policemen who were apparently seeking undocumented Haitian nationals. None of the men who carried out this raid wore uniforms. In fact, most of them wore masks, “the same kind the robbers wear,” Mr. McKenzie told me this morning by phone.

Policemen in masks? Gun butting? Show me your immigration papers or you’re dead? Guns drawn and leveled and fired at a community fundraiser with children present? And then, NO PUBLIC OFFICIALL RESPONSE WHATSOEVER TO EXPLAIN TO THE BAHAMIAN PUBLIC , NO STATEMENT AT ALL, NONE REGARDING AN INVESTIGATION, NONE REGARDING AN APOLOGY? The RBPF needs to knw that we the new and awakened public doesn’t sit by silently anymore when bad cops are allowed to run rampant, to violate our human rights in raids like this one. We must stand in solidarity with the people of Millar’s Creek and demand that for once the police and I dare say, the government at last step up and take serious and appropriate action to root out the bad cops in this organization. They must do it for the victims. They must do it for the public which has the right to a decent, lawful, civilized police force. They must do it for the sake of the good officers who are slandered and disgraced by this corruption of their proud uniform. They must do it for Mr. Mackenzie and the good people of this preservation group who are working together to save a piece of our vanishing green places.

This is the thing. Even if that event was packed to the rafters with illegals, a lawful, decent, humane immigration and police operation CANNOT BEGIN WITH MASKED GUNMAN FIRING SHOTS . When Mr. McKenzie saw them he thought they were being robbed by a gang of gun-carrying hoodlums. We are all in trouble when we cannot any longer tell the difference between the criminals and the police. The party-goers at the Millar’s Creek fundraiser know the horror of this first hand. All of them, Mr. McKenzie told me, are deeply traumatized, especially those legal and documented persons who were still locked up at the time of this conversation. Mr. McKenzie is asking: Who is responsible for the terror and trauma caused to these innocent people?

I call on other human rights activists to speak up in support of Mr. McKenzie and his group. Environmental groups also should express outrage that such violence would be perpetrated against a group that has worked tirelessly for the past two years to restore Millar’s Creek and make it the beautiful centerpiece of the Millar’s Creek Park, These dreams for the rebirth and transformation of their struggling neighbourhood have been shaken to the bone by this nightmare experience. Nonetheless, he told me: “I love my country and we will not give up.” In fact , there is another fundraiser planned for this Saturday night.

Readers, you can help by sending an email demanding an official response to the Millar's Creek Raid to www.royalbahamaspoliceforce.gov , attention, the Comissioner of Police.

1 comment:

Gerald Cash said...

Excellent post Lynn! My favourite line was:

"Even if that event was packed to the rafters with illegals, a lawful, decent, humane immigration and police operation CANNOT BEGIN WITH MASKED GUNMAN FIRING SHOTS".

Unfortunately your readers won't have much success sending email to www.royalbahamaspoliceforce.gov because it is not a valid email address, nor is it the correct web address for the RBPF.

Their website may be found at http://www.rbpf.org/, and email should be addressed to Commissioner Reginald Ferguson at the email address cop@rbpf.org.

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