By KHRISNA VIRGIL
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE desire to curb the illegal migration of Haitians to the Bahamas was reiterated by the Bahamas government during a meeting in Haiti on Thursday. During the meeting, the government also reiterated its commitment to strengthening its relationship and cooperation with Haiti.
Addressing migration, the strengthening of bilateral relations and economic cooperation, the governments agreed to work on concluding bilateral agreements within 60 days after meeting in Port-au-Prince, Haiti at the Office of the Prime Minister. The meeting was co-chaired by Haiti’s Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre-Richard Casimir and Bahamian Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell. Speaking to the press yesterday, Mr Mitchell said that during his meeting, he emphasised that Haitians do not have a right to citizenship in the Bahamas “by simply being born here”.
He said: “Do not come here; you will be caught.”
Mr Mitchell added that during the meeting he emphasised that the Bahamas will beef up its military operations to enforce the law. His statement comes a week after a Bill was tabled in the House of Assembly to borrow money to build nine new Royal Bahamas Defence Force vessels to assist the Force in its operations. During their meeting, the Bahamas and Haitian governments also agreed to conduct a public relations and education campaign to discourage people from migrating to the Bahamas. They agreed to establish a consulate in northern Haiti and have agreed to work toward encouraging economic and technical cooperation between the two countries in order to stem the flow of persons seeking to migrate here illegally.
Other high ranking officials attending the discussions included Jean Renel Sanon, Haiti‘s Minister of Justice and Public Safety, Secretary General of the Office of the Prime Minister Lucien Françoeur and Senator Keith Bell, Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security. The next bilateral meeting will be held in The Bahamas in the near future.