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Immigration To Hold Meeting To Plan Checks In Abaco

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

THE Department of Immigration will host a multi-agency planning meeting ahead of intensive immigration checks set for Abaco.

Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell hinted that checks would come “within the next 42 days” during his contribution to the mid-year budget debate on Monday.

“This operation planned for Abaco will take significant resources and planning if it is to be successful in dealing with this vexing problem,” Mr Mitchell said.

“It will require community support and it appears from our meetings at the start of the year on January 2 and 3 in Coopers Town, Marsh Harbour, Hope Town and in Sandy Point, that there is significant community support for the immigration effort.”

Abaco has two of the largest shanty towns in the country, The Mud and Pigeon Pea, and the majority of its residents are believed to be of Haitian descent.

On Monday, Mr Mitchell released year-end statistics that indicate that 40 per cent of Haitians apprehended during November and December 2014 – following the implementation of a stricter immigration policy – were repatriated.

He revealed that repatriations conducted as of December 2014 have exhausted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration’s deportation budget with six months left in the fiscal year.

According to official repatriation figures released by the Department of Immigration, repatriations of Chinese nationals tripled last year.

Twenty-seven Chinese nationals were repatriated in 2014, three times higher than the nine persons immigration officials deported in 2013.

Repatriations of Dominican nationals more than doubled from 49 persons in 2013 to 106 persons in 2014. Cuban nationals repatriated in 2014 represented a 25 per cent increase over 2013 figures from 157 persons to 197 persons, and deportations of Jamaican nationals decreased by four per cent from 300 to 288.

Official deportation statistics reveal there was a 19 per cent increase last year over the total number of persons repatriated in 2013.

The Department of Immigration repatriated 4,628 foreigners – 3,814 of whom were Haitian – for the period January 1 to December 31, 2014.

The figures are significantly lower than preliminary numbers Dwight Beneby, deputy director of immigration, released earlier this month.

Mr Beneby told The Tribune that the department had repatriated 3,868 Haitian nationals in 2013; however, this figure represented the total number of repatriations for the year.

The department repatriated 3,033 Haitian nationals in 2013, and recorded a 26 per cent increase in 2014.

Comments

asiseeit 5 years ago

What fool tells the people you are trying to catch that you are on the way and what your plans are? The illegals so far up in the bush by now it ain't funny. Smoke and mirrors, what is really going on?

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ispeakthetruth 5 years ago

Exactly! This, and that other story, is sickening.

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jackbnimble 5 years ago

The only reason I could see for this asinine announcement that "we comin to get ya" is because they hopin' the people would run elsewhere to save the cost in repatriations. Unfortunately we know the nature. They ain't going nowhere! Only in the bush or on some Cay 'til things die down. It's happening in the capital and Abaco will be no different.

Stupid, I say... quite stupid!!

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TheMadHatter 5 years ago

Haitians run the island of Abaco. You saw in the Tribune where they chased the police car out of the Mud last year.

Immigration officers better get permission from the ruling Haitian Council before they even try to land on Abaco.

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asiseeit 5 years ago

There are more Haitians in Abaco than Bahamians, FACT! Even the Conchy Joe's does speak Creole.

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Girly 5 years ago

Wow this is a very serious situation. Ya mean to tell me we are in our country and have to have a meeting to plan to go to Abaco to enforce our own rules.See we are too passive as Bahamians.Can you tell me how in this world did Abaco allow themselves to be taken over like this.

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ted4bz 5 years ago

Do not be distracted Mr Mitchell - "Damn the torpedoes full speed ahead." But do it right.

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Economist 5 years ago

In the seventies and early eighties many in Abaco complained to the government about the Haitian influx. But Abaco had fought against independence and so if Abaco had a Haitian problem no one cared.

Some of those Haitians have now been here for upwards of 40 years. Second generations born here.

This is going to be interesting.

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TheMadHatter 5 years ago

Yep, I heard there was a group called A.I.M. back then -the Abaco Independence Movement.

It actually would have worked out good for the Bahamas if central Govt had granted them independence, but kept the head-tax money and said Abaco had to pay 10% of all taxes taken in to Nassau for 99 years. Nassau would have made out real good on that deal. Even now that they are taking 92% of what comes into the island back to Nassau - it is still less than what that 10% would be if they could run their own show.

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