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Fisherman Permit Ban

By SANCHESKA BROWN

Tribune Staff Reporter

sbrown@tribunemedia.net

THE Government has temporarily banned permits to non-Bahamian fishermen in the Bahamas, Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell said yesterday.

photo

Fred Mitchell

While making a contribution on the Immigration Act in the House of Assembly, Mr Mitchell said the 
government decided on the ban after hearing the “cries” from local fishermen.

“The run up to the campaign saw us in the islands listening to fishermen in the Bahamas complaining about unfair competition of poachers from the Dominican Republic. In the spring of this year, the previous cabinet made a decision that a delegation should go to the Dominican Republic and speak to the government in regard to this and progressive measure would be taken by the government to deal with this matter,” he said.

“Upon us coming to office this cabinet made a decision too and you heard the Prime Minister actually say it on his feet that this was a matter of priority to stop this as an adjunct of that what appears to be a use by sundry to get work permits for non nationals under one guise, but in fact they are doing something else. The decision was then made against that backdrop, and the complaint of our fisherman, to review these work permits.”

Mr Mitchell also responding to comments by Percival Roberts, the owner of Geneva Brass Seafood and Rock Lobster, who said the Government should consider repealing the law that only allows Bahamians to fish in this country.

“There was a public statement made by the owner of a fishing operation called Geneva Brass and he decried a decision made by the Department of Immigration in regards to the grant and refusal of work permits for Dominican mechanics and engineers,” he said.

“The owner of the operation complained and then came to see me. I indicated to him that I was constrained. The immigration board was in fact the cabinet and this decision was made at a cabinet level and so, as the minister, I had no authority to overturn that.

“He said he cannot depend on Bahamians to work on the vessel and for his business to succeed. In fact he indicated that as a result of the refusal, Bahamians were hired to take his vessel and they ran the vessel aground. I just want to say to the fishing community that the government understands and heard quite clearly and is taking all the steps it can to address their issues, but we are constrained by the directions of the cabinet that no work permits are to be issued in these circumstances to individuals on these fishing vessels and that will remain the situation until we are otherwise directed.”

Last month Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources V. Alfred Gray told fishermen that the Government has agreed to purchase 11 new vessels for the Royal Bahamas Defence Force to be able to better police Bahamian waters.

Speaking at a meeting with the fishermen at Pilgrim Baptist Temple, Minister Gray explained that the RBDF only has four boats that are operational, making it difficult for them to be on the lookout for poachers. “So most of the problems we are having right now are a result of the Defence Force not having the sufficient number of vessels it needs to police the Bahamian waters,” he said.

He noted that most of the foreign nationals poaching in the Bahamas are from the Dominican Republic.

The Minister also warned the fishermen not to approach Dominican Republic boats to get involved in a confrontation. Normally when they come out to sea like that, they are armed and possibly dangerous, because they are going out looking for fish and they do not intend for anybody to stop them, he said. Instead, he advised local fishermen to use caution and contact RBDF officers as soon as they are able to pass on the information.

Minister Gray also said that some Bahamian fishermen are guilty of breaking the law as well when they ask for a permit to hire a Dominican Republic national to work as a boat captain, but then turn around and have him diving instead.

He urged Bahamian fishermen not to help foreign nationals by breaking the law. Minister Gray also told the fishermen that they should register with the Government so that they can receive exemptions and other benefits offered by the Government.

Comments

spoitier 7 years, 11 months ago

Maybe a Bahamian captain run his boat aground but that doesn't means that it will happen again from another Bahamian, also for he to say he can't depend on Bahamians, that is a bad statement because any sector could say that so they could hire foriegners for less money, and that will left all Bahamians without a job. This decision makes perfect sense even though it may hurt some boat owners initially, but in the long run it is better for the country.

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cx 7 years, 11 months ago

How can a Dominican be a captain of a boat in the Bahamas. Do they somehow know our waters better than Bahamians themselves. Wonder how -_-. And where are the rbdf boats been promising them for years.

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concernedcitizen 7 years, 11 months ago

PGC,s brother that got all those dominicans on those 2 boats ,they going home too ???we go on and on about expanding fishing ,you can,t make land boys into fisherman ,,i been doing it for 30 years ,the boats from spanish well s ,abaco and long island work good togeather ,the rest forget it ..the captains don,t pay ,the crew steals ,after about a week they dump the fresh water to come back to land ..and the RBDF ,forget it, those jokers run port to port under land not out on the bank ,,they come down the cays to gorge town with out going a mile out on the bank ..some times i wonder if these politicians live in the bahamas i do ..thats my 15 year crawfishin in the jamentos ,never a RBDF in sight ,they only use to come out there when there was dope ,,

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JohnBrown 7 years, 11 months ago

And what about the Chinese, American, Japanese and Norwegian poachers that do as they wish as professional thieves in our waters each day and night? It is believed that since our politicians are only methane and sulphuric acid generators and such chicken droppings, who don't have the balls to make the RBDF do their job against especially American and Chinese poachers, then I suggest that our fishermen go out there and make the arrest themselves after arming themselves with heavy artillery purchased from the local gun runners and gambling concerns and teach the RBDF how to defend our waters and do their job! SOMEONE HAS TO STAND UP FOR OUR NATURAL RESOURCES NOT ONLY BY PUSHING PAPERS AND HAVING MEETINGS, MEETINGS AND MORE MEETINGS WITHOUT END. And where needed we must be prepared to stuff the cork in the mouths of Mitchell and his cohorts. The Dominican Republic fishermen are not the biggest harvesters of our fish, but for inform sissies, it is easier to look like you have some guts when you are pointing your finger at someone that is your size of smaller, and not address the big time raiding gangster countries.

What about the Haitians, are we allowed to use them as instruments to collect out fish? And what are the chances of them taking over a few of our Bahamian fishermen boats and returning back to dock with a full load of more Haitians on board for our economic consumption?

Again regarding the guy that lost faith in Bahamians because they ran his vessel aground, I say that if you were stupid enough to place your vessel in the hands of anyone without ensuring that such person(s) are place under Bond at such a high level e.g. $50,000.- for the caption and $15,000.- per mate, and that you vessel was insured for about $500,000.-, then most likely you needed that business learning experience.

Now, where are the Bahamian trawlers that I asked the government in May to purchase for the people, along with the hatcheries and a solid international fishing marketing industry, for a sustainable boast in non-oil-drilling economic development and permanent employment for my people?

MOST OF OUR SHAMEFUL POLITICIANS NEED TO BE BOUND AND GAGED AND TARED AND FETTERED BY THE PEOPLE, WITHOUT MERCY, AND THEN RACED OUT OF TOWN.

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