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Pm: Immigration Backlash Alarm

Prime Minister Perry Christie

Prime Minister Perry Christie

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Tribune Staff Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

PRIME Minister Perry Christie admitted yesterday that he was “worried” about the firestorm of international criticism that the government has been receiving because of its new immigration restrictions.

Mr Christie suggested that the government would start damage control as Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell was expected to travel to Washington, DC, soon to explain the new changes that took effect on November 1.

His comments came the same day that Amnesty International, a global human rights group, expressed concern about the impact the changes will have on immigrants and their children, particularly those of Haitian origin.

Mr Christie told reporters he stood behind the policy changes that were implemented to tackle illegal migration. He spoke on the issue at The College of the Bahamas’ Harry C Moore Library following the unveiling of the government’s national development plan.

He stressed that the government had to do what was best for its citizens by clamping down on illegal migration.

“A long time ago, the policy was (that) everyone coming to the Bahamas before 1985 would be accommodated,” Mr Christie said. “Successive governments, FNM and PLP, we have stayed with that policy. Haitian governments have asked us to bring the dates forward to 2000 to 2005 and successive governments, both FNM and PLP, have refused. We leave it to our discretion but we are sensible in our citizenship policies and we continue to give citizenship.

“Let’s do the math. Let’s look at what goes to the stability of our country.  How could any country, through illegal migration, allow its school system to be slowly dominated by a majority being of the Haitian extraction? It’s sensible for a country always to do the math and to recognise that for its own protection of the civilisation.

“No leadership in the world who has the responsibility of running a country will not do what is best to protect its country. Protecting the country means being able to regulate who is in the country.”

Mr Christie added that it is concerning when there are misunderstandings about government policy. He said it was not his administration’s intent to be perceived as inhumane and unjust.

“You are always worried when people sort of misunderstand our policies and react before they have made an effort to understand what it is because we do not propose to have and be accused unjustly of inhumane treatment,” he said. “That’s not our intention and we do not want that to be seen as the case. We want to be responsible, but at the same time we have the primary interest of protecting the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.”

On the day the new restrictions came into effect, immigration officials took the media along as it conducted raids and apprehensions in New Providence. Images and video of immigration officials apprehending people later flooded social media.

Some images also showed children being led away without their parents, leading some to question if the children were being mishandled. However, immigration officials said some children were abandoned by parents, who ran in fear, some leaving a stove on in a home before they fled.

This led Florida politician Daphne Campbell, who was born in Haiti, to call on businesses and tourists to boycott the Bahamas.

However, Mr Christie said he did not see the sense in Mrs Campbell’s campaign.

He said: “(There is) difficulty with a call by someone with Haitian roots to boycott the Bahamas for what she perceives to be the impact of a new policy. Firstly her reasoning is wrong with respect to the policy. But secondly she must know that the Bahamas is a country where thousands of people from her country live and are citizens and are working. 

“So she is actually calling for a boycott of the very people she seems to be interested in helping. It doesn’t make sense. It is nonsense for someone to do that.”

Mr Christie told reporters that the government would continue to meet with Haitian churches and civic organisations in the coming weeks to understand their concerns.

Comments

ChaosObserver 5 years, 10 months ago

His whole administration has been "DAMAGE CONTROL"....cause the doesn't know what the hell he's doing!

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Emac 5 years, 10 months ago

Actually, this is the first time in a long time that this man has said anything that made sense.

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countryfirst 5 years, 10 months ago

More smoke and mirrors when are we going to see people hauled before the courts for hiring these illegals.

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GrassRoot 5 years, 10 months ago

In a recent discussion a former public servant said, that Migrants are coming to the Bahamas because they get called. Our young men think they can stand at the corner all day and make money looking into the sun. The reality is that work gets done by the people we called, let (illegally) into the country and tolerated them for years. Its is our political and economical elite that prepared the stage for all these illegals to be here. This is all just loud noise to deflect from the real discussions in this country. Bahamians prefer to hire domestic help from Asia over hiring Bahamians. No one puts our country first - only their own pocket book.

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blackcat 5 years, 10 months ago

amen buddy. that's all that needs to be said. The cold hard truth but no one wants to hear it.

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Regardless 5 years, 10 months ago

The local rep for Amnesty International should get his people straight. He has been living more than comfortably for years in this country off the estate of a relative who married into huge money. Having a hissy fit over the conditions at Fox Hill is one thing. Protecting our borders is another. If you are illegal, then you are not supposed to be here, including those who breed like rabbits.

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GrassRoot 5 years, 10 months ago

Sorry Regardless, Immigration Policy can be determined and implemented without racist undercurrents. Unfortunately not what happened in the Bahamas. Of course the Haitian migrants' influx is an issue and probably the main issue for now, and of course the immigration policy is targeting specifically that issue. However, there are issues that the Government must be dealing with and has not so far: 1. kids born in the Bahamas to illegals need a form of document proving who their parents are and that they are born in the Bahamas, bcz without that they wont even get a passport in Haiti once they are in Haiti. 2. due process - every person that gets picked up needs to be processed accordingly. God forbid my dad was a naturalized Bahamian from Haiti and I look like him but did not bring my papers to work. I would probably be on the next plane. Am sure there is more. Putting all people on a plane, burning down their houses and sending tem out of the country does not resolve the issue, keep in mind we created the issue ourselves by (I) letting these people into the country in the first place, and (ii) not expeditiously send them back, whatever the reasons were (economically, incapable government, etc. ).So we allowed structures and networks of illegal migrants to grow, kids to be born here, man and women to pick up jobs. So this is a process. it needs to be done consistently, with a firm hand but in a humane way. If we treat stray dogs better than illegal immigrants our value system is upside down.

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Regardless 5 years, 10 months ago

What "racist undercurrents"? If anything, there may be religious innuendo regarding those who breed like rabbits. I know of no other nations of a few hundred thousand that have an immigration policy which allows tens of thousands to immigrate illegally, procreate and utilize health, welfare and educational resources. You are certainly no true "grassroot" for if you were, you would have a concern for this nation's culture, heritage and future.

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blackcat 5 years, 10 months ago

okay- and assuming that everyone of haitian descent "breeds like rabbits" is not a derogatory comment ?

i forgot- bahamians don't have kids. We have one or two per family right ? When we are married and old enough to take care of them , etc ? We dont have kids just to get money from man hey ? All our bahamian fathers take care of their kids ? True , i forgot that. I'm not saying haitians aren't having children, but let's not say that is strictly a haitian thing- that is wrong and completely untrue. Poor family planning is linked to lack of education amongst other things......bahamians are not strangers to this , sadly.

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TheMadHatter 5 years, 10 months ago

Grassroot - you need to go back to wherever you came from - cause you can't be Bahamian. There is no move against Haitians. All persons who are found to be illegal are being processed and expelled if found to be illlegal.

It is being done with a firm hand and in a humane way.

You say the problem was caused by not sending them back? Yes, this argument has been going on since 1975. Now we're sending them back. Time's up.

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TheMadHatter 5 years, 10 months ago

Also who has children without them having passports? They had years and years to get papers and apply for their Haitian passports. Why the delay? And also it is up to the Haitian Government to deny them passports once they are returned to Haiti. Every person returned by Immigration is properly processed and the Govt of Haiti knows their names before they even land at the airport. If the Haiti Govt wishes to DENY that these people are of Haitian decent and refuse to give them passports then they can be the ones being inhumane. It will be their turn to catch flack from Amnesty for denying their own people papers.

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SP 5 years, 10 months ago

Amnesty International is a proven useless organization having failed to stop Syrias' Assad from slaughtering 200,000 of his own people.

Dominican Republics' decision to reject Amnesty International and others interference on their own Haitian invasion was the right thing to do.

Nobody is telling the dam Haitians to stop invading other countries!

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TheMadHatter 5 years, 10 months ago

Amnesty needs to send a permanent representative (another one) to the Bahamas whose sole job it is to sit outside the delivery room at the Princess Margaret Hospital and take photos.

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SP 5 years, 10 months ago

........... Dominican Republic defies International Court & deports Haitians ......

http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/domini...">http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/domini...

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GrassRoot 5 years, 10 months ago

Of course we have the right to protect our borders and of course, the illegal immigrants need to leave unless there is either an economic or other reason to keep one or two or all of them in the Bahamas.

But lets face it - whether you are pro- or anti- the way the Immigration Policy has been implemented, with public stunt raids, prosecution of Haitian activists, calling out the Haitian Ambassador and not informing and cooperating with other Nations and organizations like Amnesty International is a PR disaster for the Bahamas and will cost us many tourist $$ and lots of goodwill.

Governing needs good governance too. This is of course in short supply with the current Government.

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TheMadHatter 5 years, 10 months ago

Those few million dollars we will lose due to due a few freaks boycotting us are nothing compared to us losing our entire country, culture, identity, and entire economy.

A small price to pay to stay alive.

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TalRussell 5 years, 10 months ago

C'mon PM it is crucial you don't treat what Minister Freddy has stuck his very political neck out on, as some kind popularity contest suck up to Haitian groups and the international bleeding hearts. How did the Haitians show their appreciation for the Dominican Republic, after having opened its border to allow for international aid to cross over into Haiti, after the earthquake that stuck Haiti in 2010? PM I will tell you how they demonstrated their appreciation. The number of illegal Haitians crossing over border into "kind-hearten" Dominican Republic doubled to 2 million. I said at time when Minister Freddy first announced pending action that none of his colleagues went public to stand with him. Not one damn Comrade PLP MP. Guess what PM you have just proven me right. How is Bahamaland being thanked. Threatening to slit citizens open like a Colombian necktie. And, if you're lucky enough survive that, them will boycott our tourism industry, back to dark ages. PM enough is enough. No more talk. Support the "legal and democratic" actions of your Minister Freddy, or pack your damn bags like your former law partner did. PM when was last time you personally paid a visit to one of our mainly populated by by Haitians slum Shanty Towns? All evidence is in front you PM?

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EasternGate 5 years, 10 months ago

I support "GrassRoot" on this one. What is it about Perry and this photo? He looks rather "peculiar".

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Well_mudda_take_sic 5 years, 10 months ago

Christie received a call from Craig Flowers informing him that the Government of Haiti is putting pressure on Flowers' operations in Haiti because of our country's recent initiatives to rid itself of at least a few of the many thousands of illegal Haitian and illegal Haitian-Bahamian immigrants sucking the life blood out of the Bahamas. Be warned Bahamians: Christie is a great fan of Amnesty International and all that it stands for when it comes to his continued policy of granting Bahamian citizenship to illegal Haitian and illegal Haitian-Bahamian immigrants in exchange for their vote come the next general election. Christie has become increasingly emboldened since being financially taken care of for life by his new Chinese friends.

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TheMadHatter 5 years, 10 months ago

I think if the current policy by Fred Mitchell is not continued and Bahamians are able to see they will be allowed to survive and the Bahamas will be allowed to survive - then people will get desperate. People are some of the worse creatures on Earth when they get desperate. It's usually not pretty.

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TalRussell 5 years, 10 months ago

Comrades if you've never tuned in Kreyol Connection with Louby Georges do so. but make sure take your high blood pressure pills. I took 4.

Listen live now.

............//http://guardiantalkradio.com/">http://guardiantalkradio.com/

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Stapedius 5 years, 10 months ago

This another ass. First Fred Smith now the PM practicing how to be a donkey. We have nothing to apologize for. Nor should there be any attempt at damage control. We have done nothing illegal and we remain a people who have given much of our time, resources and energy to solving this serious trafficking of people to and through our nation. This big mouth woman out of Florida can flap her gums til the cows come home. As the Haitian community in the Bahamas has made clear she needs to mind her own business. The PM should realize that the people of the Bahamas are in support of these new laws and he was elected to represent the wishes of the people. So act and stop looking around and asking questions. Next thing you know he want have a big referendum to sort it out.

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SP 5 years, 10 months ago

......Sign the petition to stop the Haitian invasion and support the governments initiative........

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/s...">http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/s...

Naturally, we expect some backlash and negative feedback from various international and human rights quarters. However, WE THE PEOPLE OF THE BAHAMAS, stand firmly in our belief that inaction short would certainly lead to the self-inflicted genocide of our people.

We know and understand government are under pressure from various sides on this very controversial issue. Please rest assured that WE THE PEOPLE OF THE BAHAMAS stand 100% firmly behind you, and look forward to demonstrating our support with your compliance.

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countryfirst 5 years, 10 months ago

We have seen this movie before a immigration minister step up raids and make a lot of noise in the media but the results are always the same more illegals instead of less.This is all just a political stunt.

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bandit 5 years, 10 months ago

Everyone is talking about the Dominican Republic this and that. It is their lazy behind fault why there are so many Haitians living in that country. The Dominicans refuse to cut cane, clean the streets and work in the construction trade. Guess who was imported to do the dirty work that that Dominicans didn't want to do. Here in the Bahamas we have become so biggity that we even refuse to cut our own yards and do other domestic work that we feel is totally below us. Guess who is doing that work??? We have a lot to blame ourselves for this problem that has gotten totally out of control.

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gkeato 5 years, 10 months ago

The illegal immigrants are stuck here in the Bahamas as they have no passports to go anywhere else, no argument,,, you need a passport to go anywhere, as it is now, and forever shall be, they are "residents" of the Bahamas until there is a change in the issuing of passports to those people which actually gives them a right to get out of here. Right now they are Bahamians with no chance of ever leaving. Now before you start ranting about this, think about how the "selling" of passports could be done and what would be the outcome of issuing passports to them? Should they be granted the right to "purchase" a passport they would then be able to "leave" if they wanted to and return to where they came from, if that country would allow them to enter with a Bahamian passport. Is it possible to enter Haiti on a Bahamian Passport? A suggestion would be to charge a special fee for these passports (e.g. $1000) this would create a great influx of funds to the Government coffers (how many illegals are there) and at a price that would be affordable. So, as they are unable to leave these sunny shores they spend any money they earn here right here in The Bahamas, therefore they make up a big part of the economy. They are, in a way "loyalists" to the Bahamian Economy, even more so than Bahamians who get the right to spend their money in Florida and buy all the "big" items in the USA. There is no denying that fact. It will not be this Present Govt. which could think this through but at least this may get some conversation as a solution to an ever growing problem. Many of these kids are living her through no fault of their own, we all know that. They were born here and will be illegal to every country in the world including the one they were born in and take part in this economy every day of their lives. It is time to help solve the problem.

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