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‘Reward’ Is Considered In Battling Smuggling

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

IMMIGRATION Minister Fred Mitchell is considering recommending that a reward system be established to pay Bahamians who provide authorities with valuable information about the “smuggling rings” that spur illegal immigration.

His comment came as he updated the press yesterday about recent immigration interceptions within the last week.

As he has done in the past, Mr Mitchell stressed that all Bahamians must help the government clamp down on the “criminal enterprise” that he said allows illegal immigration to flourish.

“We’ve been dealing over the last week with a deluge of illegal migrants who have breached our borders and we’re working to expedite their immediate return to Haiti,” he said. “Last week, 10 people were intercepted in Inagua and are being processed for a return. In Bimini, late Wednesday evening, on April 15, 168 people were intercepted by the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and they were brought to Nassau on April 17 by the Royal Bahamas Defence Force vessel Durward Knowles. Of the 168 people there are 103 males, 28 females and 37 children. Children are being kept in safe houses and we’re trying to get them out as early as tomorrow morning, the women and children.

“The interesting thing about this is some of the children were actually babes in arms, this is now a new dimension to this problem. And the reason why I wanted to address this is those of you have been watching the international news would know that sadly 650 people died in the Mediterranean sea trying to get to Italy so this migrant issue is just going completely out of control. We continue to believe that this is being driven by a criminal enterprise.”

He added: “Our intelligence worked quite well this time because we were aware that this ship was coming and the defence force has been tracking it and we were able to intercept it and there is additional intelligence because usually these don’t come just by themselves, particularly in and around Abaco and I just want to make sure the Bahamian public is aware this fight is continuing and we are dealing with it as best as we can. We believe that because the Royal Bahamas Defence Force has the place so hot so to speak around the usual areas that they were trying to drift around to find a spot. We’re working with our American friends. We are intensifying our checks within neighbourhoods in New Providence and the islands. What we suspect is that there has been a shift to smaller boats. Our US friends have been saying that increasingly they’re finding that the boats with four, five small numbers, but they’re hitting the shores of the United States.”

“This is again why I say to these people who are trying to stop the forward movement of the programmes we are putting in place are willingly or unwillingly protecting a criminal enterprise which we must interrupt and stop,” Mr Mitchell said. “I urge all Bahamians to support the policy, to be watchful. I am even thinking of suggesting to my colleagues that we need to put in place a reward system so that people who spot this kind of activity are able to get a reward if it leads to breaking up these smuggling rings but that’s where we are now. We have to get on top of this problem. It’s a national security issue. The country cannot be seen as a staging ground for people going and doing illegal things in other people’s countries.”

In a press statement released yesterday, RBDF officials noted that two suspicious vessels were intercepted near Eleuthera on Saturday by crew members of HMBS Durward Knowles. As a consequence, four undocumented passengers were found along with discrepancies with ownership of the vessels.

The two vessels were subsequently taken to Nassau.

The RBDF said one Haitian was admitted to the Carmichael Road Detention Centre. Investigations are continuing.

Comments

GrassRoot 4 years, 11 months ago

great idea, will certainly drive up the capital crime numbers massively. you know what happens to snitches, make sure the reward is more than the funeral costs, and maybe you get to fix the broken bail system.

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GrassRoot 4 years, 11 months ago

maybe Fred Extraordinare should reward members of police and our military, if they decide not to accept bribes to look the other way.

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John 4 years, 11 months ago

Do they still pay $20.00 to turn-in a crazy person at Sandilands? (No I wasn't referring to the minister). But there are several things to consider: we know that when Bahamians get sick and tired of someone who is illegal they call immigration on them. They will even call immigration on someone they know is Bahamian just to embarrass and inconvenience them. Secondly we know programs such as "cash for guns",don't work because persons use the opportunity to get rid of guns they don't want to get ready cash. Third immigration figures should confirm that the number of illegals have been significantly reduced. The big yellow bus seems to be empty these days. The biggest problem seems to be that persons continue to be coming from and returning from Haiti. Not only to the Bahamas but to Brazil, Mexico and to a point in Santo Domingo to a point where they are being violently greeted and even executed there. Maybe these countries need to get together and come up with s plan to ease the economic hardship in Haiti and help them get world economic assistance

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John 4 years, 11 months ago

Then what happens when a crew pulls up to a police station with a Haitians beaten half to death and say "officer dis one illegal immigration we ketch". Only to find out that not only did they beat him but robbed him of all his valuables.

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TheMadHatter 4 years, 11 months ago

He is just being silly now. I have lost respect for him. He said MONTHS AGO that he would introduce legislation in the House to make it a crime to hire an illegal person.

At the moment there is no law against hiring them - only a law against them for working illegally.

Where is the new Law Mr. Mitchell ?

Time is moving forward, as usual, without results. Maybe you plan to promise this legislation again as a campaign promise in 2017?

TheMadHatter

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Economist 4 years, 11 months ago

Wanted Dead or Alive! Big Reward $$$$$$$

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ispeakthetruth 4 years, 11 months ago

I see nothing wrong with establishing an anonymous tip line, rewarded with an anonymous deposit, into the tipster's account if it pans out. This idea is directed at discouraging the illegal boat rides, and apprehending the masterminds behind the smuggling ring, and not suspected illegals already living in Bahamas. Some of you are really being disingenuous with the dead or alive nonsense.

Having prior knowledge is what kept them ahead on this one...as a result almost two hundred were intercepted before they made the Bahamas their home and retained Fred Smith as council. Who knows there could be individuals far enough removed from the situation so that they would not be easily identified, that would easily talk with the right motivation. Why not explore all avenues?

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ThisIsOurs 4 years, 11 months ago

Agreed. Bahamians have to be involved in these operations and there are probably people not involved who know. Isn't a well known affluent Bahamian currently indicted in the US for human trafficking?

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SP 4 years, 11 months ago

.......................................... Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah .....................................

IMMIGRATION Minister Fred Mitchell is locally "famous for considering" all sorts of great measures in the losing fight against illegal immigration....But "tinking" and "doing" are two different things.

Successive governments are the main culprits guilty of supporting illegal immigration.

Who was the jackass heading the government that decided to reward illegals with an incentive of $200.00 if caught and repatriated?.....This fool should be the 1st individual investigated for assisting illegal migrants.

Where are the needed laws "IMPOSING STIFF PENALTIES" on those caught hiring illegals?

Why aren't illegal Haitian migrants treated like other illegal migrant criminals and fingerprinted etc?

Recommending a reward system to pay Bahamians who provide authorities with valuable information about the “smuggling rings” that spur illegal immigration is a great idea, but a another one approach that leaves more tightening to be well rounded and more effective.

Stop "tinking bout dis an dat" and move with haste to pass laws making it illegal to hire illegal migrants.

Offer rewards anonymously for whistleblowers of employers hiring illegals and include the reward cost as part of the fine levied on the guilty employer.

Fred Mitchell and his government are sitting around talking while Fred Smith and his Haitian apparatus have declared an intensified invasion on our country.

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ispeakthetruth 4 years, 11 months ago

Any measure to bring order to illegal immigration seems to be unpopular among his fellow politicians- who are either silent, critical of the measures or seem only concerned for the Haitian community. I think this is what will ultimately contribute to nothing being done. Because Bahamian politicians clearly do not act in the best interest of citizens. And while Fred Mitchell has public support, he does not have enough political support. So guess what...?

Even the simple suggestion of Keith Bell, that all persons be required to have IDs was meet with dramatics and over-exaggeration of human rights concerns by Carl Bethel. He referred to this simple concept employed by most (if not all) modern and developed nations to apartheid, Nazi Germany and operating a police state. How ludicrous. Clearly he is okay with the possibility of unidentified pedophiles, murders, etc. anonymously existing among unsuspecting and law abiding citizens. Every adult person should have some form of ID on their person...that should be the law.

You are correct the facilitators of illegal immigration are intense. The government (not just FM or Perry) needs to be even more intense in this fight.

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John 4 years, 11 months ago

The problem with illegal Haitians, especially, is this country only crack down on them when things are bad. When the economy is good, they come here, settle down and start families. The children attend schools, sit national exams and they family receive health care. Then they are suddenly uprooted and forced to leave the island. Imagine the cultural shock for the many children who go to Haiti for the first time. Some may not be able to speak Creole so they grow up in anger despising everything around them. In the main time there are the 'invisible' illegal immigrants such as the Chinese and Filipinos who live and work at the same address and hardly ever interact with the community. Many Chinese have their people living above their businesses and one would wonder how often immigration make 'raids ' on these places and request persons to produce documents. another form of illegal immigration is the professional, technician, consultant, consultant who comes in on a tourist visa and checks into the upscale properties. They conduct most of their work from a hotel room or private office and since they are only seen in social settings, they are presumed to be legitimate tourists. They usually leave when their work is done taking all of their hefty cheques or consultancy fees with them. Even some quasi government corporations are known to engage in this practice, simply to avoid the red tape of immigration.

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ispeakthetruth 4 years, 11 months ago

The Haitian population has increased by 75% over 30 years if the numbers floating around for 1985 and 2015 are correct. It won't be long before the Haitian community is in the drivers seat of the Bahamas. And considering the silence and opposing reaction of politicians on what should be a paramount issue, I think that time is now.

I cannot appreciate or respect the method of this transfer of power, but majority rules! Immigration from Haiti would be encouraged, but maybe they will crackdown on the illegal Chineese and Filipinos. And using the Bahamian experience, create and enforce citizenship laws to protect against their own illegal invasion.

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