False footage

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Fred Mitchell
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Fred Mitchell

NASSAU — Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Fred Mitchell said yesterday the government is seeking legal advice after a Florida television station aired a “staged” video that purported to show Cuban detainees at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre being beaten by Bahamian officers.

“The video is that of a news broadcast by a Spanish language TV station in Florida,” Mitchell said in a statement.

“That video is a complete falsehood and an outrageous concoction.”

Mitchell said the video, which is on‚YouTube, was examined by the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and Police Force.

He said the police noted that the video appears to be staged; the accent of the person purported to be a Bahamian law enforcement officer is not Bahamian; no faces were shown and the interior of the building does not appear to be the detention centre.

“This appears to be a manufactured attempt to create a damaging and defamatory impression of The Bahamas,” Mitchell said.

“The television station ought to be ashamed of itself for publishing something which is so patently false.

“It is irresponsible of them to publish it knowing the passions that these matters can inflame.

“We have now referred the matter to our lawyers.

“The acting consul general in Miami has been instructed to make the strongest protest to the station over this matter.

“It remains to be said that the Bahamas government does not beat those in its custody.

“All detainees are treated with respect and in accordance with all applicable conventions and with human dignity and courtesy.”

There has been a series of recent events related to Cuban detainees at the Detention Centre.

A Cuban detainee escaped from the facility during a severe storm that flooded eastern New Providence last month.

In March, 18 Cuban immigrants at the centre staged a hunger strike to protest their upcoming repatriation.

Following the hunger strike, Cubans living in Florida demonstrated outside the Bahamian consulate in Miami to protest conditions at the detention centre. (Nassau Guardian)

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