Charlie CharlieThis weekend I read an article in a Bahamian newspaper (the Guardian) about – are you ready for this? – a "homosexual Mexican demon" called "Charlie" who the teachers in the Bahamas were concerned with. Kids in the schools in Nassau were apparently playing a game with paper and a couple of pencils where they would summons the so-called "demon" out by asking "Charlie, Charlie can we play?"

"Charlie" sounds like a variation of the ouija board game that my brother, sister and I used to play in the 1960s, when were little kids. We would turn the lights out in our bedroom and pull out the silly game from under the bed. We would quickly whip ourselves in a childlike frenzy of fear and become hysterical with nervous laughter. My Mom disapproved of the game but never made a big deal about it. The ouija board fad lasted about a month and we soon lost interest in the Parker Brothers game. Our ouija board quickly found itself out in our garage and then in our dumpster by the street.

That was fifty years ago. But things are different in the Bahamas today. 

The Bahamian school administrators responded to the "Charlie" game by summonsing 20 local clergy members to pray for the students and try and remove the evil "demon" from the premises. The Minister of Education even became involved and told the Tribune newspaper: "It should be regarded as serious. When dealing with supernatural things, I can’t explain it, but I don’t want our kinds to be exposed to anything supernatural that causes problems. It’s difficult to explain but we don’t know the extent to which this could impact our children so I wouldn’t sanction it."  

As a general proposition, a signifigant portion of Bahamians are superstitious. Having been raised in Arkansas Ouija Boardand the Mississippi Delta, I’m used to people with a propensity to proselytize and try to scare you with images of evil monsters. I’ve encountered more than my share of desperate bible-thumpers, preaching snake-handlers and speaking-in-tongue charismatic "Christians" who are happy to save your soul in return for a check.

But the Bahamas’ reaction to "Charlie" is completely over-the-top. The phenomenon is not unique to the Bahamas but the preachers there turned the "Charlie" demon not only into a Mexican devil but a hated and despised gay one at that. 

On Saturday, I posted the Nassau Guardian article on Facebook with my tongue-in-cheek comment: "The Bahamas officially lost its marbles." I also posted a photo of a stereotypical gay-appearing Latin man in a red outfit wearing horns and a pitchfork. By Sunday, my Facebook page had hundreds of hateful comments from angry Bahamians. 

Deon Deveaux posted that I am "gay and a demon."

Jason Neil Roberts called me a slave owner. He lectured me that the Bible teaches that "homosexuality is a demonic, foul, wicked, diabolical spirit." He questioned whether I was a "proponent of what caused Sodom and Gomorrah to be wiped out?"

"Yolanda" left these comments to an earlier article: "You people still bad mouthing my country! Hell with da likes of you! Charlie CharlieMay Satan make your wheels fall off as you drive! Mr. Walker, may your family die of cancer! Hope to God your mother and father are dead! I dream your eyes lose sight of all da is! When you fall asleep tonight may you never awaken again! You are da child of da Devil! May your seed never produce! If they have already, may they lay dead to the side of the road! Mr. Walker, "IT IS BETTER IN DA BAHAMAS"

The other comments were more of the same. 

I have a profound interest in the Bahamas, particularly Nassau. I want to know everything I can about it’s history, culture, politics and religion. Over 1,100 ships are registered in Nassau in order to avoid U.S. taxes, wage and labor laws, and health and safety laws. Many Miami-based cruise ships fly the flag of the Bahamas as a "flag of convenience" in order to avoid the oversight of the U.S. government. 

A result of the Bahamian flag of convenience is that the Bahamas is suppose to investigate and prosecute crimes on Bahamian-flagged cruise ships. So I read the Bahamas Tribune, Nassau Guardian, Bahamas Press and Bahamas Weekly every single day. I want to understand how Bahamians think. Will Nassau be a fair place for a trial if a woman is raped? How will a jury of Bahamians treat a member of the LGBT community? How will the Bahamian legal system treat a U.S. citizen?  

I have traveled to the Bahamas since the 1970’s to the present day. I have interacted with taxi cab drivers, store owners, hotel clerks, restaurant operators, bartenders, court bailiffs, police and the like. My conclusion? The country is going backwards. Crime is out of control. A RBPF policeman is afraid Crime Bahamasto apprehend gang members with guns. The legal system is a joke and criminals are quickly released from custody. If you are homosexual, or not from the Bahamas, you can’t obtain a fair trial in Nassau in a million years.

If you’re a victim of crime on a cruise ship flying a Bahamian flag, no one from the Bahamas will show up. When a Bahamian police officer gets involved, he is there to protect the interests of the flag state and not the victim, even if the victim is a child. Over the last 30 years, I know not a single case where the Bahamas successfully prosecuted a violent crime on a cruise ship.

There is a deeply rooted notion in the Bahamas that the country is blessed. The 1970’s marketing slogan that "It’s Better in the Bahamas" is interwoven with the provincial and self-righteous thought that God provides special protection to the islands. But it is a judgmental, condemning, fire-and-brimstone God of wrath that the Bahamians seem to pray to, from behind their burglar bars, as the murder rate increases to over seven times higher in the Bahamas than the U.S. Bahamians are killing Bahamians, and an occasional tourist, in unprecedented numbers. There have been eight critical crime warnings about Nassau from the U.S. State Department, U.S. Embassy and the U.K. and Canadian consulates in just the last 17 months. 

The only industry in the Bahamas is tourism. But if If you have a difference of opinion with a Bahamian, be prepared to be labeled a gay demon. If you’re a passenger raped on a Bahamian-flagged cruise ship or shot on a sailboat or robbed on Bay Street and need to be protected by the Bahamian police or in a Bahamian courtroom, God help you.  

Have a thought? Please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page. 

Photo Credits: Charlie, Charlie and Ouija Board – Hello Giggles; Devil – el infierno en Costa Rica blog.

  • B.A.Bain

    There are many Bahamians who will believe just about anything.
    At one time an American prophetess used to preach at Nassau religious rallies where she would summon down blessings from God for a thousand bucks a time.
    She refused to appear for less than $30,000 a night.
    During an industrial dispute, one side sprinkled turpentine in their offices to counter evil spirits – a curse – summoned up by an obeah man.
    Haitians are often accused of ‘fixing’ people with voodoo spells.
    No surprise, then, that Bahamians believed – naively – the PLP could provide something other than corrupt and incompetent government.

  • S34

    Bahamians believe and worship the African Voodoo god “Balumba”. They pretend to be Christians and call themselves a Christian Nation, but in reality they worship the false god’s of their fathers and fathers before them. Even in an old James Bond classic movie, where he’s in the Bahamas and a Voodoo dead bloody chicken is nailed to his vacation villa’s door……lol Even in a 60’s movie the Bahamas is well known for their African Voodoo god, “BALUMBA”.

  • Jose

    Jim, that picture of the guy with the devil costume is of a satirical news blog in Costa Rica, called, el infierno en Costa Rica; The name of the character is “El Chamuko”

  • William Smith

    Yes,Balumba, may God forgive them for believing in false prophets. I saw that 007 movie, the bloody Voodoo chicken nailed to 007’s villa door….LOL! And than they try to kill 007 with an African Mamba snake as he takes a shower….LOL! Where the hell did they get an African Mamba snake in the Bahamas, all they have now is roaches and rats….LOL!? What a classic James Bond movie. Life was great in the Bahamas when the Brits were running it, in the movie you can even see what a well kept place it use to be. Bring back British James Bond 007 and the bloody chicken….LOL!

  • Hazel32

    With the thousands of Haitian emigrants entering the Bahamas everyday, there is no more 100% Bahamians. Not only did they mix with them, but also embraced all their witchcraft worshipping god’s. Voodoo and African black magic is first before Jesus, GOD and what have you. This is why they have no family values anymore, it’s all about money, greed, and fornicating with other peoples wives.

  • Shannon

    I last visited Nassau three years ago, the place is falling apart, gangs are everywhere, crime is happening all over. A third world country stuck in the dark ages, still no equal rights for women. I refuse to support a place economically knowing it treats women like third class citizens. Get with the times Bahamas, your living in the dark ages.

  • Yolanda

    Still bad mouthing my country! Keep out crackers, we didn’t like you here any how! Your money is all we wanted, it’s green, not black or white you racist crackers! We have paradise, you jealous of what we have, you will come even if you die here! Go to hell Mr. Walker, hope Satan has a seat waiting for you! You lawyers are all from the same mother; a jackal who fucked Lucifer!

  • Sara

    Dear Sir

    Some of these folks cannot help themselves as they are totally brainwashed by the church. They maybe christians but they are still rude and offensive. They are not representative of all Bahamians.

    Most of us educated people who live here just ignore the stupid crap and continue to have a charmed life living here….just as you no doubt have to do in your country where the media, police and governments are just as corrupt!

  • Yolanda

    “Rude and offensive”, you kissing white cracker ass Sara?! Remember, these were the descendants of da slave master our people had long ago! Our independence freed us from them, we run this country our way, if they don’t like it, fuckin leave! Foreigners are ruining our country, sell your property and get the fuck out, we don’t like any of you! Sara, you lousy Bahamian, you go with them too, house nigger that you are!

  • June

    Please don’t class or sum up every bahamian with the ignorant and uniformed. Unfortunately our empty barrels make more than the most noise and many Bahamian are fed up with the archaic mentality of our own people. As a person born raised and still living in the Bahamas even I have to admit it’s frustrating. However some sensible Bahamians would explore to you that the Bahamas is definitely. NOT. only Nassau new providence which our pathetic government advertises. Nassau is the dumps compared to family islands such as abaco , ,eleuthera ,Bimini , Long Island, San salvador and the list goes on. Please do not lump all Bahamians with the idiocy of New Providence and our poppy show government that only the brainwashed community a faith in. The Bahamas is much much much more than new providence.
    -signed a fed up Bahamian

  • Peter Howard

    Sixty seven murders to date Yolanda,6/8/2015. Your wrong, I will not go and die in the Bahamas, I will never go there. Again your wrong, jealous of the crime destroying paradise and what you have, not at all. You need to go back to school and this time pay attention to the teacher. Your hate can be felt right threw the computer, you need to start treating people with respect. No wonder your country is in such trouble, if you all talk to each other in this matter. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone shoots you one day with that attitude of yours.

  • Rashan Stubbs

    You can NEVER in a million years compare The Bahamas to the United States of America. The crime rate in America is just as bad as it is in The Bahamas. No country is perfect and every country has its ups and downs but that does not give anyone the right to bad mouth a country. Furthermore, please have your facts straight about The Bahamas before saying anything. Just like June said The Bahamas does not only consist of New Providence it is an archipelago of 700 islands and cays and you want to talk about one place in the Bahamas and say the entire Bahamas is bad.

  • Mr. Stubbs:

    This blog is about cruise ships and the ports of call where they frequent. No cruise ships call on the family islands. They go primarily to Nassau, where the murder rate exceeds 30 per 100,000 and increasing. The murder rate in the U.S. is around 4.5 per 100,000. I have my facts correct. Substantial dangers in Nassau – armed robberies, sexual assault and violence against women plus corruption and a broken legal system. Nassau is going down the tubes . . . You know that. You live in New Providence. Read your own newspapers.

  • 1234

    The proof is in their own newspapers, but their in such denial, they don’t want to believe it, and at the same time want you to also not believe it. In The Tribune newspaper today one of their top guys resigned claiming the government is incompetent, crime and corruption is out of control. They read it everyday, but refuse to believe it. This is why this country is making headline news in other countries about their crime rate and failing government. I use to work for the BEC (Bahamian Electric Company) from 2003 -2012, and what I saw was pure corruption. From the top to the bottom, if this was how the rest of the country was being run, no wonder it’s failing. The Bahamas is an open bank vault for the educated Bahamian who is voted into office,who’s only agenda in life is to become wealthy. No matter what it takes, oppression of their own people, control of the media, corruption, working with drug lords for passage into the U.S., whatever it takes. And if you stand in their way, you’ll be shark shit.

  • Mrs. E.Rolle

    Amen brother! “1234” you hit it right on the nose! We are being held hostage by this PLP government as they rape the country of all it’s funds!

  • Greg
  • Cgir

    Guess what our God is always in control. Don’t forget also we were once under the British if something were to happen to us I am sure they would step in. Also our neighbors our Big Brother who always has compassion. I am sure would step in ( we may even become a next state,LOLOL.

  • Greg

    Cgir, I doubt every much if the Bahamas would ever become part of the USA. If anything, I think the U.S. would rather put a 12 foot razor fence around your whole country as to keep all the violence within. The U.S. has beautiful Hawaii if they want paradise, and soon to be Cuba. You also have to realize that Cuba use to be the American’s play ground, once before , will be, once again. Besides,some of the most beautiful sands are found in Florida, Clear water, Sanibel island, etc. And with all the crime and your new VAT taxes added to an already expensive place to visit, people are going to ask themselves if it’s really worth it. It seems to me you guys need to really get together and vote in a government who really wants to make a difference. And I do mean get together, stop fighting with each other, if not, it will go on for a thousand years as it has been in the religious area, the middle east.

  • Cgir

    Come on Greg have some faith. We are now having an American company coming in to manage our BEC. That means that they are interested in us.Every little step counts eh? LOLOL

  • Greg

    I have faith in God only, not in flesh or land. Stop making excuses for your own actions and change your lousy attitudes. Because if you don’t change your rude nasty attitude’s towards others, your tourism will come to a dead halt once Cuba opens. Laugh all you want Cgir, because the Bahamas now has three major strikes against it, rude people, even more expensive with VAT taxes and high crime. You know deep in your heart progress will roll right over you if you don’t get it together, and even if you do change, Cuba is still going to hurt all the other islands tourist wise. You Bahamians just can’t seem to joint together on anything, this is your down fall my friend. If you can unite, you will be able to accomplish anything you wish. But rather than unite, it’s kill who killed who, than wait to also be killed, and so on and so on.

  • Cgir

    Have faith in GOD Greg that is what I meant,since you want to see what you want to see.Despite there being some people in this country ( JUST LIKE ANY OTHER COUNTRY,INCLUDING YOURS )who do wrong there are still people here that are praying for the success of this country. No matter what any one says about this country with GOD’s help we will succeed. Amen and that is that.

  • Warning: Graphic Photo of Murder in Nassau


    I wonder if the person who though up that phrase is still alive? 69 murders to date.

  • Lyon Thomas

    I was born in Nassau in 1978, and my parents knew if I was to reach the age of 20 we would have to leave the Bahamas. We now live in Boston, Mass. and loving every minute of it. Went to MIT for four years and been working for Google Corp. for 15 years now. I make over $150,000 a year, own three homes here in Boston, and a vacation home on Bonaire island. There is no way I could have accomplish this in my homeland, the youth have no future there. With a corrupt government, broken homes and bad parenting, the Bahamas is now on a one way road to failure. People ask me if I miss my homeland, I tell them there is nothing to miss, besides, Bonaire blows away the Bahamas as far as being a tropical paradise.