IF the Bahamas wants to protect its borders from the dangers of modern illegal immigration, it must employ 21st century solutions, DNA leader Branville McCartney said.
Mr McCartney noted that Prime Minister Perry Christie, in his 2012/2013 budget communication, allocated a “tremendous amount of money” for the purchase of new vessels for the Defence Force.
“No doubt the rationale for this is for the protection of our borders against illegal immigration, illegal poachers, gun and drug running and human smuggling and trafficking,” he said.
“Illegal immigration has been one of the critical issues our country has been facing for many years and if it is not arrested, we will lose our country.
“Illegal immigration has strained our country’s resources in health care, education, social services and national security. Illegal immigration has infiltrated our country so much so that we now have many different subcultures.
“Illegal poaching has now become a common occurrence. Other nationalities are raping our waters every day.
“They do it because they realise that our leaders do not have the answers to this concern. They have our leaders figured out because they know that our leaders will come up with the same type of plan they have used in the past in anticipation that it will work this time.”
Mr McCartney added that many of the crimes committed today are the result of illegal drugs and the availability of guns on our streets.
“These guns and drugs infiltrate our beloved country from other countries and have wreak havoc on our once peaceful society.
“Human smuggling and trafficking is very much alive resulting in persons penetrating our borders.
“The PLP administration has decided that more vessels will help with addressing these vexing problems. But this is very much unrealistic,” he said.
No matter how many vessels are purchased, Mr McCartney said, these problems will continue to exist.
He noted that new vessels have been purchased by successive governments in the past, but illegal immigration has continued to plague the country.
“Illegal immigration, gun and drug running, illegal poaching and human smuggling and trafficking are still on the rise,” Mr McCartney said.
“The Commonwealth of the Bahamas is made up of 700 islands and cays covering 150,000 square miles of sea. This tells me, and I would think the average person, that no matter how many vessels are purchased, it would be virtually impossible to man our waters.
“However, with the use of technology we would be able to monitor our borders and determine what is on and under the sea. This is what the PLP administration should be investing in.
“By the touch of a button you are able to determine who is trying to enter our country. You would not have to rely on Defence Force vessels being at the right place and at the right time in order to detect those entering our borders for illegal purposes… all of this can be monitored by way of technology,” Mr McCartney said.
“In order for us to move this country forward, we cannot afford to do the unsuccessful things we have done in the past and anticipate that it would be successful in the future. Let’s start thinking outside the box.”