The Bahamas Migration

1689 Words7 Pages
The other pominent historical group of people that migrated to the Bahamas are the Greeks, Lebonese, the Jews. In 1924, the Greeks was seen as an asset to the Bahamaian economy. They were the brain behind the development of the sponging industry in the Bahamas. Through their expertises the sponging industry in the Bahamas exculated. Regardless of their contributions to the economy there were still some animosity toward them, as they were considered to be aliens. In 1928 the members of the House of Assembly debated on the Immigration Restrictions Bill. They were concerns that the Greeks ,whom they felt were aliens, did not purchased any land or outfit sponge vessels. A sponge merchant retaliated and retorted that the Greeks did not outfit…show more content…
After 1804, when the Haitians achieved the first successful slave revolt in history, a number of white and coloured refugees resettled in the Bahamas for one reason or another. Among the most successful were Edward Laroda and Stephen Dillett, who became the first non-whites to be elected to the Bahamian House of Assembly - "monumental accomplishments" in a period when slavery had only just been abolished. In the late 1800s Haitians began a small but constant migration to the southern Bahamas in search of work, and the Bahamian presence in northern Haiti was also high during this period. Some Haitians in the southern islands married Bahamians and produced families, two notable issues being our current governor-general, Sir Arthur Foulkes, and the acclaimed actor Sidney Poitier. Other common Anglo-French names like Bodie, Deleveaux, Dupuch, Duvalier, Godet, Moree and Marche attest to the large Haitian influence in the Bahamas. There is even a strong belief that former Haitian dictator Francois Duvalier was born in the southern…show more content…
As we became more prosperous and conditions worsened in Haiti under the Duvalier dictatorship, the familiar pattern of thousands of Haitian boat people seeking a better life in the Bahamas took hold. By 1960 the Tribune was referring to this influx as an "invasion". In 1963 a new immigration act specifically targeted Haitian migrants, increasing penalties, giving immigration officers police powers, and requiring Haitian vessels to officially enter the Bahamas at Matthew Town, Inagua. But when the predominantly black PLP replaced the predominantly white UBP regime in 1967 the talk turned to regularizing and integrating Haitians rather than expelling them. Critics accused the PLP of seeking to create sympathetic Haitian voting blocs in out island communities - a charge which continues to be made today on both sides of the political divide. This liberal attitude was short-lived, however, as the scale of popular anger against the migrants became clear. After the PLP's re-election in 1968, the government began to crackdown on illegal immigration, with systematic raids on Haitian communities and interception of Haitian sloops at sea. By this time, even Premier Lynden Pindling was referring to the influx as an
Open Document