Nottage explains delay in abuse claims update

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September 17, 2013

Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage said yesterday he did not make an announcement on the abuse allegations of Cuban detainees at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre as promised last week because he has yet to get all of the "bits and pieces" he needs about the issue.

On September 6, Nottage told reporters the government would make an announcement early the next week with regard to the release of a report into the alleged abuse of Cuban detainees at the facility.

When asked yesterday why this has not been done yet, Nottage said, "I haven't gotten [all] the bits and pieces yet; that's why I haven't dealt with it."

However, the minister stressed that he did not mention anything about the release of the report into those allegations during the earlier interview but only pledged to give more information.

"I understand what my responsibilities are," he said during a tour of the Bains Town and Grants Town constituency.

"I'm seeking to carry out my responsibilities honestly and diligently. When we have all of the information, you will be hearing from me on that matter."

Nottage would not say what else has to be done before he expects to get the final details about the allegations. "You can expect me to deal with the matter when I'm in a position to do so," he said.

More than a week ago, Nottage was asked about the release of a final report into the abuse allegations.

"We are going to make an announcement early next week, which will fully inform you of the bits and pieces that you seek," Nottage said.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell has said a probe into the allegations is being conducted and should be concluded at the end of September.

A copy of the report on an investigation conducted by the defence force was leaked to the media.

According to witness statements from defence force marines and detainees at the facility, Cuban detainees were severely beaten after they attempted to escape from the center back in May.

According to one of the marines, Cuban detainees were allegedly beaten for almost two hours and one even appeared to have temporarily lost consciousness as a result of the abuse.

Miami-based activist group Democracy Movement staged protests against The Bahamas after a video aired on a Spanish language TV station in Miami purporting to show Cubans being abused by Bahamian officers.

The government has called the video a fake. Detainees claim that the video was a reenactment of an earlier beating. Ramon Sanchez, a spokesperson for Democracy Movement, has said the group will continue to demonstrate until the report is released.

The group is also pushing for reform at the detention center to prevent future abuse.

Click here to read more at The Nassau Guardian

News date : 09/17/2013    Category : About Bahamians, Caribbean News, Politics, Nassau Guardian Stories

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