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Oas Immigration Meeting With Mitchell Delayed

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Tribune Staff Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

FOREIGN Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell said discussions with two major international organisations that were planned for today to clarify the government’s controversial new immigration restrictions in Washington, DC, have been postponed until next week. 

Mr Mitchell told The Tribune yesterday that executives of the Organisation of American States (OAS) were expected to leave the United States on official business ahead of talks with The Bahamas. 

He said another meeting was tentatively scheduled for next week.

This comes as Philip Miller, acting permanent secretary in the Department of Immigration, sent the Jamaica Observer a letter to the editor yesterday refuting assertions outlined in an article published in the daily last week about the government’s new immigration policy.

In the article, OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza reportedly expressed concern about the “rounding up” of illegal immigrants in the country. Scores of suspected illegal immigrants, and some children, were apprehended the day the policy took effect, November 1, throughout New Providence sparking a wave of criticism.

The apprehensions drew fierce opposition from Haitian-born Florida politician Daphne Campbell who called for tourists and businesses to boycott this country. She claimed children were mistreated during the apprehensions, something immigration officials have denied.  

Grand Bahama Human Rights Association president Fred Smith also weighed in, calling the immigration restrictions “unconstitutional and a flagrant violation of the fundamental concept that individuals are innocent until proven guilty.” Mr Miller said in the letter to the editor: “We are concerned that the Jamaica Observer seems to have accepted uncritically as statements of fact, what we believe we can objectively show are inaccurate and inflammatory statements by the Grand Bahama Human Rights Association.

“The fact is there are no immigration ‘round ups’ in the dead of night occurring in the Bahamas. The policy is not indiscriminate and lawful residents of the Bahamas are not adversely affected as the story claims.

“In pursuance of their mandate in law, immigration officers conduct routine checks and interdiction exercises. They have the authority to arrest people where there is a reasonable suspicion of an offence having been committed, in the process of being committed or about to be committed. That is the same standard in Jamaica’s constitution.

“Immigration enforcement is humane; the policies are generic in their application and no specific national group is being targeted. The Bahamas government does not sanction the abuse of detainees and there have not been any reported cases of abuse in connection with the enforcement of this policy. All of the political parties, opposition parties included have supported that assertion.”

He pointed to the Constitution of the Bahamas and the fact that it does not automatically pass on citizenship to persons born in the Bahamas to non-Bahamian parents.

While many may disagree, Mr Miller said it has been a fact of life since the Bahamas gained independence in 1973.

Comments

birdiestrachan 5 years, 2 months ago

Mr. Mitchell you are doing a great job with Immigration, No Country could Continue the way the Bahamas was going. with their run away immigration ..But the PLP should not be making policies to put Bahamians out of work. example persons not being able to sell numbers. many of those persons supported your party, Now they will have no money to take care of their commitments. This is not good.

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duppyVAT 5 years, 2 months ago

Stick it to em, Fweddy!!!!!!!!!!! The Bahamas is for Bahamians!!!!! We gat ur back!!!!!!!!

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jamaicaproud 5 years, 2 months ago

How many generations do you count back to prove you are a "real Bahamian"?

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duppyVAT 5 years, 2 months ago

If you gat a valid passport through the front door ......... not Spanish Town. If you dont have a passport, you must have verification of date/place of birth and the legitimate nationality status of your parents & grandparents............. or if your birth pre-dated 1973 and met the requirements of the Constitution.

Thats a true Bahamian

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jamaicaproud 5 years, 2 months ago

Hello Duppy hope you are having a good day. I have no horses in the race, just an observer. The fact is this, you and I know that even those whose birth predated 1973 but who people can link to foreign countries are victimized and ostracized and criticized, especially if they are not in a position, politically or financially to kick back. When someone want to insult or characterize someone in the Bahamas, the first thing the do is dig up their "roots".

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jamaicaproud 5 years, 2 months ago

Another question for you, Mr Duppy. Will you agree that while its OK to "protect borders", that the business of rounding up people at midnight based on rumors and last names and discreet "tips" is backward even barbaric? What will the Bahamas do when one of these days they "deport" and American citizen who may be visiting one of these "illegals" to Port a Prince? Just asking.

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duppyVAT 5 years, 2 months ago

There are anomalies in every situation ............ there are mistakes made in all countries when it comes to immigration matters ............ so it is inevitable that it may occur here now that we are cleaning up loose ends after many decades of slackness. Jamaica is on the other end of the spectrum ................... you have that in common with the Haitians.

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jamaicaproud 5 years, 2 months ago

I am not thin skinned so therefore I ask what you mean other end of spectrum? Common with what Hatians? After your Pogrom and the economy still sucks and many unemployed in "Paradise", who will you blame? Mr Man how are you any different than any other person born in the Caribbean, were you responsible for your countries so called prosperity?

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jamaicaproud 5 years, 2 months ago

I am not thin skinned so therefore I ask what you mean other end of spectrum? Common with what Hatians? After your Pogrom and the economy still sucks and many unemployed in "Paradise", who will you blame? Mr Man how are you any different than any other person born in the Caribbean, were you responsible for your countries so called prosperity?

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duppyVAT 5 years, 2 months ago

Brother man ................. Jamaica is one iota away from a failed state. A million Jamaicans have left the country and the society has the same 90-10 wealth split like the bottom third countries in the world. You have more in common with Haiti than The Bahamas. Overstand?????

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jamaicaproud 5 years, 2 months ago

Take a trip to Paradise, don't believe the hype. The system is corrupt but we are ambitious, and we don't lay down and die. Thank God you were born in a "blessed" place, it can change in a minute, don't be arrogant.

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