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Mitchell Backs Immigration Officers In Row

By SANCHESKA BROWN

Tribune Staff Reporter

sbrown@tribunemedia.net

IMMIGRATION Minister Fred Mitchell defended Immigration officers yesterday who were accused of “roughing up” a top banker during a road block on Tuesday.

Speaking with The Tribune, Mr Mitchell said he is “satisfied” that the officers did nothing improper and as far as he knew they followed the letter of the law.

“I do not comment on specific immigration enforcement issues because immigration officers know what their responsibilities are, they carry out their jobs and so far as I am aware there was nothing that was done that was improper by any immigration officer. I do not know the facts that would have led to the events reported in the newspaper so it’s just not proper for me to say anything further beside that,” he said.

“What I also said is, the officers are all trained, they know they have to be respectful and I have also advised the public that even though they may be impatient because of the checks, this is something which the public has asked for and so they should be equally as respectful to the officers.

“It does not do anyone any good to be rude and disrespectful to the immigration officers. They have a right to respect and they should also carry out their job respectfully and I am satisfied that’s what is done across the board. I have only just returned to the island and the facts that I know say that the immigration officers performed according to law now, there may be other facts by which I am not aware.”

Mr Mitchell also denied that Immigration Officers are intentionally targeting specific people in these road stops based on the colour of their skin.

“Law enforcement people are trained in law enforcement issues, they know what the Constitution of the Bahamas says,” Mr Mitchell said.

“You have to have a reasonable suspicion that someone does not belong to the Bahamas in some way. So they know the law and they know that the law is that you are to carry out the law without fear or favour, without any regard to racial or political things. So I can also speak generally to the training they receive and everything which I know indicates that the immigration officers conformed to  the law.”

Mr Mitchell’s comments came after Emmanuel Fiaux, the executive director of UBS Bank was taken into custody and held at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre on Tuesday.

According to reports, he had been stopped by officials and asked to provide proof of legal residency during a road block. A source told The Tribune that Mr Fiaux had explained to the officers that he did not have the documents with him. Mr Fiaux was reportedly irritated by the requests and was said to have been “roughed up” and thrown into the back of a government vehicle and taken to the Carmichael Road Detention Centre.

On Wednesday Ryan Pinder, minister of financial services, told The Tribune that he visited UBS to personally apologise to Mr Fiaux for his treatment by Immigration.

Comments

TalRussell 6 years, 1 month ago

The Minister's Director of Immigration Comrade Bill has all the intelligence he needs to have been dispatching his officers to spots well known to be hangouts for illegal immigrants and not creating road blocks for citizens, legals and tourists right to enjoy free movement about and around our tiny Nassau Town. I was shock to learn not only was a senior international banking executive detained and taken into custody in what can only be determined as a "lazy intelligence-led" road block, but that (40) other souls who are "legally" in Bahamaland were also detained and taken into custody, all because they were not carry their almighty immigration papers in they pockets. What's next, the police raiding your home demanding to see your house and children's papers, on the spot?

...// http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OKx-Y..." rel="nofollow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OKx-Y...

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ThisIsOurs 6 years, 1 month ago

You're right, hadn't thought of that...what prevents them from knocking on your door 1AM in the morning...

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jackbnimble 6 years, 1 month ago

So Tal I guess illegals do not travel or hangout where the legals do? This thinking is irrational. They live, breathe and move among us. I would think this is why they don't get caught because they 'appear' to be normal citizens. And by the way, I do believe that out of this last road block they caught over 70 that were ILLEGALS so to inconvenience the other 40 legals is a small price to pay in my humble view. I commend the Immigration Department for doing a great job and not letting one sorry-hip expat with a nastry attitude give them a bad name.

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GrassRoot 6 years, 1 month ago

Yes exactly. It is happening already. They go to schools.

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ThisIsOurs 6 years, 1 month ago

Ryan Pinder felt the need to apologize, Perry Christie and Brave Davis felt the need to meet with representatives from financial institutions to give their assurances...but Fred Mitchell thinks everything is ok....hmmmm....

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hj 6 years, 1 month ago

You are so right. No matter who is right or wrong in this particular case it really looks strange to have different ministers of the same administration contradict each other. This has become a trend,and at the end they all look like a bunch of incompetents who can't even stick to a story

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B_I_D___ 6 years, 1 month ago

Let's have them please quote the legal paragraph in the Immigration Law books saying that the Immigration status must be carried with you at all times. Pray tell...what do they do with all the tourists on the beach...are they in their bikini's running around with the pink slip from Immigration to prove they are a tourist? What's to stop an immigration officer hauling them off the beach because they have no papers. What about Citizens of the country...give me the actual legal paragraph in any Immigration law, or the constitution that tells me I must carry ID...let alone ID that shows my status as a citizen...then I will shut up.

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GrassRoot 6 years, 1 month ago

hope you don't have a Cuban or Haitian Great Great Grandfather

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TalRussell 6 years, 1 month ago

Could this be an even earlier remake of the Bahama'wood 2002 - 2007 movie and Comrades how we remember all the featured actors thrill and shock performances. A personal word to the wise, directed at the PM, minister and director of immigration, their cabinet colleagues and fellow House MP's. Who loosen the nuts on the wheels of this PLP government's wagon? Right about now, I'd say you're doing a pretty damn good job at marketing yourselves to be about as sell-able in 2017, as five-year-old old stale loves of bread. What in the hell has gone so damn wrong over at the PLP headquarters?

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RaineSean 6 years, 1 month ago

I thought with the fall of Communism in the USSR no one would ever have to carry papers again anywhere. I always new Mitchell is a communist at heart. As a Bahamian am I now expected to have my passport with me at all times? Anyone can get a drivers licence and in order to work everyone must have an NIB card so I guess my passport is the only thing I can use to avert being carted off to Carmichael rd. In all my years I have never heard Fred Mitchell apologize for anything so why should he start now. The man has never done anything wrong in his entire life if you were to ask him

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Honestman 6 years, 1 month ago

Fred Mitchell appears to be a law unto himself within the cabinet. It comes as no surprise whatsoever to learn that he sees nothing wrong with the way this week's incident was handled. As usual, he is playing to the gallery and is at odds with his own cabinet colleague Ryan Pinder. Whilst all Bahamians want to see the scourge of illegal immigration dealt with, the country needs to have a minister in charge of Immigration who understands the danger to the country's reputation if potential foreign investors perceive that country is hostile to foreigners. Unfortunately, this week's incident has fueled that negative perception. What is the point of Mitchell spending all this time in Panama and the Far East trying to entice businessmen to invest their funds in The Bahamas when his Immigration Department sends out the hostile message that foreign executives might be roughed up and sent to detention if they don't carry around proof of status at all times? Wake up Bahamas, foreign investors have plenty of choices. - no one needs to come here.

As to the incident in question, no doubt the banking executive could have handled the situation better, however, the over-reaction by the officers was damaging to the country's reputation. For this, I blame Fred Mitchell whose anti foreign rhetoric since the election has set the tone for his officers believing that they should show who's in charge at all times! That is a third world mentality and needs to stop. This country is 40 years old but is behaving like an adolescent!

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Emac 6 years, 1 month ago

Very well put indeed! Couldn't have said it better.

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SP 6 years, 1 month ago

I would like to hear the other side of the story. What did this Emmanuel Fiaux say to the officer?

Chances are he stuck his nose into the air "true Swiss style" and berated the officers. What does the UBS staff say about this "Fiaux"?

I will stick with Mr. Mitchell on this one...Immigration officcers are not THAT STUPID. The guy probably was his own worst enemy and purposely caused the problem.

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TheMadHatter 6 years, 1 month ago

So far I am VERY pleased with the actions being taken. It is so good to have action instead of inaction for a change.

There needs to be one roadblock per week - every week - different road.

We also need to stop providing free transportation from the southern islands into Nassau for illegals. Set up some tents on a cay off Ragged Island and send the immigration officers and police down there whenever a boat lands - to "process" them.

Otherwise, we might as well change our flag now.

For all of you who oppose the ACTIONS being taken by the Immigration Dept., here is a pic of what your flag will look like in 10 years if you get your way and are able to convince the government to stop protecting us:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fla...">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fla...

TheMadHatter

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TalRussell 6 years, 1 month ago

I’ve never faced a serious want by the policeman's to arrest me but if I was on my way to work or just driving around my tiny NassauTown a minding me own business I am not so sure if stopped by some road gang of police/immigration officers jumping from out-behind-da-bushes with a demand that I must johnny-on-the-spot produce some kind of work permit, residency, tourist or citizenship documents, if I would be in any mood for exchanging pleasantries, and leaving each others lives forever touched by our early morning warm smiles. And, for all who be saying you'd welcome the intrusive road blocks, you're talking out both sides your assess. There is a right way and a wrong way to deal with officials, but there is NO law that requires you to act all sweet and nicely toward ANY official of Bahamaland's government. To display ya is annoyed puffy face while not smiling at a police/immigration officer, is not an arrestable offense.

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pat242 6 years, 1 month ago

For all the Bahamians who have a problem with The Governments policy of the national identification card as a effective mean of identifying legal or illegal, can shut the fuck up. The national identification card is a effective means of letting law enforcement officers know who belongs and does not, because they cannot look at faces and tell who belong and does not. So the card is effective means of allowing them to do their jobs without racial profiling. If you have a problem with it maybe you are illegal, which will be the only logical reason you have a problem with it.

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TalRussell 6 years, 1 month ago

Bahamaland's Constitution must state somewhere that policemans/immigration officers "shall' be required to perform such duties as may be prescribed under da law. But I don't think it to mean they "may" sometimes decide to detain or arrest citizens, residents, work permit holders or tourists, whom they feel were not exactly welcoming to having their day interrupted by some intrusive, armed officers roadblock, demanding they instantly pony-up documents of their right to legally be in Bahamaland. That my Comrades is when the law becomes, if not a police state or an ass, certainty leaning toward becoming anti foreigner, investment and tourism damaging. I await the PM to "clearly and directly"" state his position on the detention of one of our important foreigner bankers and not be playing politics about, no color of the rainbow stuff should be mistreated in we Bahamaland?

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pat242 6 years, 1 month ago

TalkRussel. No offence but i disaguree with your statement. If persons does have proper documents to state weather there are legal. Immigration or police officers have every right to detain and enquire weather that invidual is legal or not. If not they they will be deported. So i applaud the work the immigration officers are doing. Keep it up. and all this talk about (police state) if Bahamians would behave them selves and stop doing foolishness then we wouldnt need high police visiability. But i support the effort.

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TalRussell 6 years, 1 month ago

Why use the the worst possible immigration control tactics when less intrusive solutions continue to be completely ignored? Comrades my argument is not with what the law states but only to highlight that too often those charged to carryout Bahamaland's laws, be they elected or paid government officials, judges, prosecutors, policemans or immigration officers have lapses in common sense. The more we read about what shouldn't have taken place here, the more it reads of the law running afoul of using plain and simple common sense. NO, I do not want armed policemans and immigration officers using road blacks to interfere with the free movement of our citizens, residents, work permit holders and life blood to our economy tourists. This reminds me of the earlier immigration days when Comrade Minister Loftus clamped down on the Turks & Caicios Islanders who had lived peacefully amidst us for years, so much so that many actually thought the Turks were a part of Bahamaland. it was their payback for voting for Pindling and that's a fact not to be denied.

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