A family of four was fishing off the beach off Bakers Bay on March 10 at about 2pm in the afternoon. The two young boys (aged 8 and 10) were enjoying a day on the water with their parents and a local from Guana . They were doing some catch and release of small fish in the protected waters close to the Bakers Bay Resort.
Out of nowhere came a go-fast with at least eight persons on board. There were at least three uniformed immigration officers, a police officer from Guana cay and personnel from Bakers Bay security .
They boarded the boat and said they were conducting an investigation; they immediately took the family’s cameras, phones and made them scroll through all the pictures and show them to the officials. After interrogating them for almost 20 minutes they made the family cut their fishing trip short and escorted them in the boat to a dock on the Bakers Bay property.
They then told the local to go home and proceeded to take the family by Bakers Bay vehicles through town and back to their rental home in Orchid Bay where they conducted a search lasting over an hour and requesting any cameras, phones, computers, etc . They were intent on searching every device that they had looking for something. The helpless tourists kept asking them what they were looking for but all they responded was that they were conducting an investigation.
Finally after not finding what they were apparently looking for they left. On the way out one of the immigration officers commented that the Bakers Bay property has some very important guests and they thought the visitors might have been paparazzi.
This is an extreme abuse of power and these officers should be ashamed of themselves and they should be reprimanded. First of all there is no crime in taking photos of anybody – anywhere. Second of all, I know that immigration and customs and the police have the right to search but on what basis was this search conducted. The fact that someone thought they were taking pictures of some famous person?
These guests are staying at $6000 a week rental home in Orchid Bay and were enjoying a day on the water with their family. They were not taking pictures of anyone and for them to be harassed by these officials is ridiculous. What kind of pull does Bakers Bay have on these officials to get all these personnel assembled and apprehend people on the open water for allegedly taking photos???
That time could have been much better spent checking work permits in the same development where they spent all this time trying to protect the celebrities. They should be checking on boats illegally entering the Bahamas without clearing customs. They could have went out and spot checked to be sure persons are following the fisheries regulations.
These people deserve an official apology and I demand that this incident be investigated.
I must add here that I totally support our police and uniformed services. As anybody in Guana can tell you I am the one they call on in the middle of the night when they need assistance and I have put my time, energy and resources into helping the police, customs and immigration time and time again and will continue to do so but this incident is unacceptable and has left a very bad impression on our valued guests.
Editor’s Note: The Abaconian made contact with the authorities who stated they also received a copy of this letter and were doing an internal investigation. No other information was forthcoming.