As a Haitian-Turks Islander, reading this really ached my stomach but I had to be remind myself that those are his words and feelings. We should all know by now that the venomous words of a particular politician do not always represent the true feelings of the masses.
According to JamaicaObserver,
Turks and Caicos Islands Finance Minister Washington Misick last week launched a blistering attack on foreigners, including Jamaicans, bluntly telling them to stay out of his country if they want to engage in public celebration of their cultures.
“We have something coming up here called Haitian Flag Day. We have got Haitian Flag Day. We got Jamaica Day. We have got Bahamas Day. When the hell we going to have Turks and Caicos Day?” Misick, the former chief minister, was reported as saying by the TCI Sun newspaper.
According to the article, Misick said that the best places that expatriates can practise their respective cultures are their homes, not the Turks and Caicos.
“If these people want to be part of us we cannot encourage, we can’t support them with all these days, if we are going to be Singapore. If you are going to be in this country, be in this country, part of this country. If you want to be in Jamaica, if you want to be in Haiti or The Bahamas, stay there,” the TCI Sun story quoted Misick.
According to the newspaper, the finance minister was making his contribution in the House of Assembly to a private member’s motion tabled by Opposition member Edwin Astwood, who lobbied for more environmental laws to be enacted and enforced. But Misick, the TCI Sun said, “veered off course into chastising immigrants for celebrating culture publicly”.
He lashed out at persons in the private sector who, he said, are colluding with expatriates to observe and celebrate their countries’ milestones.
“And that’s part of the problem, it is being encouraged by a lot of these different groups who are in senior positions in the private sector, who encourage this kind of stuff. So we have to send a strong message while we, as a people, have to make sure that we do the right thing by our country. And by the same token, we have to make sure that people who come here do the right thing by our country,” the TCI Sun quoted Misick.
The newspaper also said that he urged the populace not to support events staged by expatriate groups to honour their countries’ cultural and political achievements.
“We should not be supporting these splinter groups with their different days. You would never see me appear at one of them. I would not. This is Turks and Caicos, if you are here, this is Rome, do as the Romans do. If you want to be here, you contribute here; if you don’t want to be here, if you want to be somewhere else, then American Airlines flies here many times a day,” he was quoted as saying.
The Sun published official figures showing that the Turks and Caicos Islands have a population of 31,458, of which 12,030 were British Overseas Territories Citizens and/or Belongers, 10,981 are Haitians, 1,768 are Jamaicans, 1,476 from the Dominican Republic, 818 from the United States of America, 524 from The Bahamas, 403 from Canada, 381 from the United Kingdom, 374 from Guyana, and 262 from other countries.
The Sun, though, reported that Misick did give expatriate groups some credit as it relates to volunteerism.
“We like to bash foreigners too, and then people who do the most volunteer work in this country are not from this country,” he was reported as saying.