Ebony Pyramid Entertainment
Ebony Pyramid Entertainment
 
Media Advisory For Immediate Release

Statement of

DaJuan M. Xavier

Executive Director

Ebony Pyramid Entertainment

October 11, 2007

 

Police Raid of Ebony Pyramid Cruise Event in The Bahamas

 

On our 8th Annual Black Gay and Lesbian Pride: Caribbean Cruisin', which occurred October 4-8, an unfortunate incident occurred.  During our scheduled USA-Bahamas Party and Show, on October 6, attended by approximately 250 Ebony Pyramid (US citizens) guests and nearly 200 local Bahamian guests, local  police raided our party location, shortly after 1:00 am.

 

Ebony Pyramid rented a public facility, but closed it for a private party.  The doors of the facility were closed and the police entered without properly identifying themselves and proceeded upstairs to where our entertainment show was in progress.  The dozen or so police were well armed in full riot-style gear.  In addition to their gear, they entered the facility with one of the policeman videotaping the crowd.  The remaining officers were using their camera phones to snap pictures of the attendees.  They proceeded to the dance floor, where one of my female exotic entertainers was performing, in a golden bikini, and forcefully walked her from the floor. 

 

After taking the female entertainer to another part of the facility, I attempted to inquire as to what was going on, but was pushed away and threatened with arrest for "obstruction."  I continued to assert myself and identified myself as being responsible for the party and the entertainer.  The lead policeman, who still had not identified himself, asked me my name and in an unpleasant tone, "What do you think you are doing here?"  I explained that we had rented the facility for our party.  He barked, "Where is your license?  Show me your license!"  I found the manager of the facility, who promptly produced all of the proper licenses to hold a private party, such as ours.

 

In our informational and antagonistic exchange with this policeman, my staff and I were attempting to cover my female entertainer, but every attempt was thwarted by this unpleasant policeman and his troops.  They slapped the clothes out of our hands or threw them on the ground.  During the intense questioning of the female entertainer, the policeman called her a "whore" and a "prostitute" and asked her why she was coming to their country doing this? Several of my staff members and guests were pushed or threatened with arrest for attempting to assist the entertainer or for asking questions.  I again attempted to intervene, only to be told again to step back. 

 

After about a half hour of this unpleasant policeman, a gentleman, who simply introduced himself as being from Immigrations, asked me a couple of questions.  He, by far, was the most professional of the entire squad of officers inside, not to mention the four patrol cars and other officers outside.  When I attempted to ask him questions, he politely motioned for me to wait and said he would be back.

 

Going into about 45 minutes of this ordeal, the Immigration official and the unpleasant policeman returned and called me over.  The Immigration official stated that, I must fill out the proper permits to employ someone in The Bahamas and since we did not, I, along with my female entertainer, could be arrested, but he would just let us off with a warning and said, "That's from the standpoint of Immigration."  He then pointed to the unpleasant policeman, who said, "From the standpoint of the Police (this is the first time he ever identified himself as the police), you cannot just have a gathering like this. So you need to shut it down!"  He then slammed his hand on the bar and ordered the bartenders to "Shut it down!"  After this, my staff gathered my female entertainer and other patrons and headed back to the ship.

 

First, I have questions!  Why did this happen?  This could not have been a routine patrol with a few police officers investigating a random situation.  This was a full drawn out "raid"!  Someone, along with the local police targeted us.  Next, why did the police enter the establishment and never identify themselves?  Why so many policemen?  Why over-armed, if it were a violation of employment or suspected nudity?  Why videotape and snap pictures of the attendees of the function?  Why use derogatory names to my entertainer and the guests exiting the building?  Why detain U.S. citizens and local Bahamians, without identifying who you are or stating any charges?  Why order a facility shut down, if all the licenses are in order?  Why treat your fellow man/woman with such disregard for humanity? Answer? To harass, intimidate, and frighten!

 

In addressing the allegations that my entertainer did not have the proper work permit, one of my directors, another entertainer, and I went to the port's Immigration and Customs office, one hour prior to the event, to inquire about the "Short Term Work Permit" and was told no one was available to answer our questions.

 

This was our eighth year in The Bahamas and we continue to return because we like the people and the culture.  This incident is not a representation of The Bahamas we had previously experienced!  Instead, it is the representation of those with some misguided authority, reflecting poorly on an otherwise great place.  In my years of visits to The Bahamas, cruising, resorting, and relaxing with friends, I have come to know nothing but pride and love in The Bahamas people, not the hate displayed by this group of misguided policemen!  In the past, when I would ask local police for assistance, they were very accommodating, so I do not want it to go on record that I am condemning the entire force, just the militant assembly that gathered at our event.

 

While some of my associates think that we should boycott The Bahamas, I feel that we should not punish the whole for a few.  I plan on returning to The Bahamas for our ninth year and Caribbean Cruisin' 2008.  But, before I do, I want some official answers to my questions. I think an apology from the Commissioner of the Police is also in due order.  Additionally, I would also like to work with and seek assurances from the Ministry of Tourism that an incident, like this, will not occur again, as long as we meet all the requirements asked of us.  I request this only to set the minds of our new and returning guests at ease.  It is imperative for any guest in a foreign country to feel welcome and appreciated and this was clearly not our experience that fateful evening.  Continued discussions about this incident will help these officers realize that LGBT people are just like other tourists, law-abiding and just looking to relax and enjoy the beauty of The Bahamas.

Media Inquiries for
Ebony Pyramid Entertainment
 
Cruise@ebonypyramidonline.com
Toll Free 1-866-473-5033 ext. 0
Media Inquiries for
The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism
 
Tourism@bahamas.com
242-302-2000
Related Media:
 
 
 
This email was sent to dajuan@ebonypyramidonline.com, by cruise@ebonypyramidonline.com
Ebony Pyramid Entertainment | P. O. Box 76743 | Washington | DC | 20013-6743