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Archbishop Urges Bahamians To Consider Positives Of Immigration

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Archbishop Patrick Pinder

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Tribune Staff Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

ARCHBISHOP Patrick Pinder has urged Bahamians to consider the positive socio-economic impact of migration as the government continues to battle immigration challenges.

He said too often, the debate is focused on the perceived negative effect illegal migrants had on employment and social services along with cultural differences.

Speaking during the Red Mass at St Francis Xavier Cathedral, Archbishop Pinder said it was important for Bahamians to treat illegal migrants as they would wish to be treated were they in the same position.

“Changing the narrative requires that Bahamians learn more of our history, about migrants who came here and made a positive contribution to the development of our land,” the Catholic archbishop said. “About how Bahamians too in the past had to go abroad seeking economic opportunities.”

“Changing the narrative means bringing to justice those who exploit migrants, taking advantage of their vulnerable state. In fleeing their homeland, migrants do not lose their humanity. They continue to need nourishment both material and spiritual. Their need for justice and protection tends to increase rather than diminish in a new land.

“Clearly it must be acknowledged that no country can support increasing influxes of dependent migrants. We certainly cannot. Ours is not a new problem or a simple one. It is a problem in aggregate.”

He said if the government manages the Bahamas’ migration issues properly, the country stands to benefit from relationships that are beneficial.

Many migrants, he told those gathered at the church, have skills and abilities that can boost the country’s development.

“They can and do fill gaps in the workforce that are created because Bahamians turn their backs on certain jobs. The process cannot be engaged haphazardly, however. The work must be approached and carried out with strict adherence to best and most productive international standards.

“It must protect the human right and dignity of all migrants. It must be defined by and infused with all the love of neighbour, which the Christianity we claim requires of us.”

Recently, the Bahamas has been the subject of fierce criticism over its position on illegal immigration.

Last September, Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell announced new immigration restrictions in a bid to clamp down on illegal migration, particularly from Haiti. The restrictions took effect on November 1. On that day, immigration officials carried out operations in different pockets of New Providence in which scores of immigrants, mainly Haitians, were taken into custody.

The new immigration measures stipulate, among other things, that every person living in the Bahamas is required by law to have a passport of the country of their nationality.

Persons born in the Bahamas to non-Bahamian parents will be granted a special residence permit that will allow them to work until the status of their citizenship application has been determined.

The new policy also states employers who are applying for first-time work permit holders who are residents of Haiti must come to the Department of Immigration and pay the $100 processing fee, provide a labour certificate, cover letter, stamp tax of $30 and the employee information sheet in Nassau. The Haitian applicants must provide their supporting documents at the embassy in Haiti.

These new stipulations were seen as discriminatory against Haitian nationals.

It led human rights group Amnesty International; Florida lawmaker Daphne Campbell; Haitian Bahamian activist Jetta Baptiste; lawyer Fred Smith, president of the Grand Bahama Human Rights Association; and Organisation of American States (OAS) Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza to publicly express concern about the new policy.

The archbishop spoke at the annual service, which was held on Sunday, January 11.

Comments

duppyVAT 4 years, 8 months ago

The ArchBishop has a horse in the race ............... haiti and Cuba are both 90% Roman Catholic ............. immigration will be good for church membership

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SP 4 years, 8 months ago

Where was this idiots voice when Haitians were dragging the Bahamian flag in the road behind their cars?

Where was Senior jackass bishop when Haitians undermine citizens routinely occuping 2 jobs while Bahamians cannot find anything to do?

Where is this clown when Haitians commit hit and run accidents EVERYDAY....Some highly suspected in causing death?

Where is he when illegal Haitians are well known to control the cocaine drug and illegal arms trades that are destroying our country and people?

Where was this big boomba when Haitians decided if they cannot have the Bahamas, they will do all possible to destroy us in international markets?

Where is he when Bahamian parents cannot find space in schools for their children or get social services, medical and hospital care because the whole dam country is clogged with desperate, aggressive Haitians?

The only "consideration" I have for Haitians is GETTING THEIR UNGRATEFUL BACKSIDES "OUT" "OUT" "OUT" "OUT" "OUT" "OUT" "OUT" "FLIPPIN OUT" OF OUR COUNTRY !

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SP 4 years, 8 months ago

............................................................. Go To Hell .........................................................

When this Bishop clown identify countries Bahamians are welcome to illegally migrate to, I will think about "beginning" to consider some of what he has to say.

Until then STFU Patrick Pinder !

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Economist 4 years, 8 months ago

Regardless of how one may feel, there is a right way and a wrong way to deal with things.

The first step is to have the Defense Force boats turn the Haitian boats around, just as the US Coast Guard did under the Clinton administration. The Bahamas Defense Force has several large boats, but they are always tied up in Coral Harbour and Nassau Harbour. They need to do what they were designed to do, and purchased for.

The second step is to document illegal immigrants.

The third step is to decide who gets to apply to stay and who is to go back.

The rounding up of people is illegal. Immigration must follow the law.

You would not like it the police came to your house, arrests you, takes you to the Police Station, and asked you to prove that you have not stolen everything in your house. If they come to your house they must have done an investigation and on the evidence have reason to come to you. Then and only then can they arrest you.

Immigration is just rounding up people. They need to do their job in accordance with the law. Who carries their passport around with them every day? This is not the old Soviet Union or Nazi Germany where you had to carry papers we are a free and democratic society.

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ispeakthetruth 4 years, 8 months ago

Your opinion is that people are being "rounded up". The reality is that immigration officers are going to places known to have illegal immigrants and checking their immigration status. Those who are not here legally are remanded. This is the law, and it is being applied. This is not comparable to the Old Soviet Union or Nazi Germany or even the Wild West (dramatic much?).

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John 4 years, 8 months ago

If the PLP deported all the illegals and locked up all the criminals, murderers included, then there won't be many persons left to support that party... Just sayin

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bismark 4 years, 8 months ago

what does the Bahamas benefit from illegals?nothing they use all of our resources what I am paying taxes for,free education ,health care and the list goes on,they always cry bout they have no money,but you go in any fidelity bank and they are in there sending thousands of dolars out this country every single day,they do not shop in major stores,i don't see them in B.E.C, Water & Sewerage,Cable Bahamas,They support none of these utility companies,they wish not to pay rent,but rather live in the bushes and destroy our water table,throw garbage all over the place and the list goes on,get all of these illegal people out this contry and that goes for every illegal person not just the Haitians,they jus t happen to be the largest group who cost this country millions of dollars a year in repatriations we as a small country cannot continue to support this drain on our resources by people who wish not to make it better in their own country.

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Economist 4 years, 8 months ago

Those are very sweeping comments. But who allowed them to come, who reported there presence all those years ago? Many have married Bahamians and are now working legitimately and paying tax. But they too get lumped in with those who are still illegal.

This is why it is important that Immigration acts in accordance with the law.

I do not support illegal immigration at all, but we must deal with this on a professional basis and not like a illegal hit squad.

The rest of the world will watch and if we want inward investment, which we must have to survive, we must be seen to uphold our laws. Business likes certainty.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 8 months ago

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birdiestrachan 4 years, 8 months ago

The Bishop does not move around with the common Bahamians, if he did he would know that many Bahamians young ones have bought lawn Mowers and other equipment to clean yards and they do a good job, I have hired them, I hope the Bishop is not aligning him self with Fred Smith , Campbell and Jetta . It would appear so,. The bishop must know that illegal immigration is a serious problem in the Bahamas. and in my view he has taken a side.

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Economist 4 years, 8 months ago

The Bishop, Smith, Jetta are all irrelevant. They are not the illegal immigrant problem. Complaining about the Bishop etc. solves nothing.

The Bahamas has a major illegal immigrant problem. What is your solution to the problem?

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SP 4 years, 8 months ago

............................................. Absolutely True .........................................

I was very happily surprised this week to see Bahamians gardeners working at a house in Old Fort Bay......And doing a dam good job too!

It will take some time for Bahamians at large to wrap their heads around this new phenomenon that "jobs and new business opportunities are now available".....But Bahamians catch on quickly.

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Girly 4 years, 8 months ago

So true.I am tired of people saying that Bahamians don't do jobs like gardening etc that illegals do.That is not true.My brother is a perfect example and he is a Bahamian and making money being his own boss.

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CatIslandBoy 4 years, 8 months ago

It seems that when a well-thinking Bahamian addresses the treatment of illegal immigrants with some semblance of maturity, there are those who are quick to attack them as being unpatriotic and anti-Bahamian. Even the good Minister has brought the conversation to the gutters by calling those who disagree with him "fools". Instead of attacking the messengers, can't we have a meaningful dialogue of the treatment of illegals, their rights, and privileges under various treaties and conventions as per the United Nation? Bahamians need to grow up and begin speaking and acting like a First World country, and not let others see the Banana Republic mentality that is so pervasive on these blog pages. We speak of the Haitians, in particular, as if they are not human beings, and because of their illegal entry, deserve to be treated like animals. The discourse must change.

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ispeakthetruth 4 years, 8 months ago

Does "well-thinking" mean in agreement with your stance on immigration? How are illegals treated? They are repatriated as they should be, just as I should be if I lived illegally elsewhere.

I understand and sympathize with the plight of the Haitian, I think most Bahamians do, but the fact is that The Bahamas is not a first world country. We cannot afford to make policies based on emotion. Nor can we afford the immigration poilicies of the US that disproportionately favor one group of illegal immigrants based on the same reasons the Bahamas would naturalize illegal Haitians. However, I believe there is an agreement of some nature with regard to Haitians who were in the Bahamas prior to 1985 (and therefore, their descendants). That's more than fair.

Also, the people the minister referred to as fools, are idiots. They were not promoting intelligent dialogue about immigration. They both have their biased views of the Bahamas, and that's what they were promoting. Daphne Campbell - calling for a boycott of the Bahamas, promoting hearsay that turned out to be false. Fred Smith - comparing the Bahamas to a concentration camp, claimed repatriation was Bahamas' attempt at ethnic cleansing. With that twisted logic Bahamians can claim genocide..with almost 20% of the population now being Haitian or of Haitian descent, and growing. But we wont.

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Voltaire 4 years, 8 months ago

Couldn't agree more Economist and CatIslandBoy - instead of focusing on poor and suffering people whose motivation in coming to this country was to find a better life, why don't we focus on the Bahamian human smugglers, corrupt Immigration and Defence Force officers, and shifty politicians who have made this possible? Unfortunately, we are not a mature country, and so like spoiled children, all we do is look for someone other than ourselves to blame for our problems.

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SP 4 years, 8 months ago

If we only focused on the Bahamian human smugglers, corrupt Immigration and Defence Force officers, and shifty politicians. We would still be left with huge illegal immigrant problem.

We must develop a well rounded, serious, very aggressive approach that seeks, apprehend and repatriates illegal immigrants simultaneously focusing on the Bahamian human smugglers, corrupt Immigration and Defence Force officers, and shifty politicians.

The drain on our economy caused by allowing illegals to remain in the country far exceeds repatriation cost and is a national security issue that cannot continue to be ignored.

Haitians for instance had already boldly raised their flag to confirm conquering the Bahamas, often dragging the Bahamian flag with their cars while flying the Haitian flag.

HAITIANS ARE NO LONGER WELCOME IN BAHAMAS.....THEY GOT TO GO! ...........NOW !

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ispeakthetruth 4 years, 8 months ago

So we go after just the smugglers, corrupt immigration officers and politicians. Then what do we do with the illegal Haitian population left behind? We understand that Haitians came for a better life, but they still broke the law. However, we should just make them all legal, no consequence for their actions? That Voltaire is how spoiled children are created.

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birdiestrachan 4 years, 8 months ago

I have not experienced any one treating illegals as if they are not human beings, and I go around a lot. All Countries have immigration laws. and there is nothing wrong with the Bahamian immigration law . The Bahamas has waited to long to but a law in place. There is no way I can go to any foreign Country without a passport. The Bahamas should be no different. If persons break laws because of what ever reason what will the world be like. ?

The Bishop and I think it is already to late. will do well to come down and walk with the common Bahamians who struggle to keep food on their tables. Jesus walked with the common people.

Bishop there are a whole lot of Bahamians who know their history.

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Economist 4 years, 8 months ago

It is interesting that no one has pointed a figure at our own public figures, both past and present.

We have had a series of cabinet ministers who have been responsible for both the Immigration Department and the Defence Force.

In other countries there would be an out cry for the Government to explain how we got into this mess and who was responsible for failing to do their duty.

How is it that so many illegals have been here for so long? Why did immigration not deal with the problem on a larger scale? Why didn't the Defence Force stop them from coming in?

If the Defence Force boats weren't working, who is to blame?

In general, who is to blame for the current situation??????

If we don't fix the problem, sending the illegals back solves nothing.

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Girly 4 years, 8 months ago

This immigration policy is the best step forward that the Bahamas has seen in years. For years illegal immigrants have come into this country illegally, slipped through the cracks and now feel as if they are "ENTITLED" .What is so wrong about getting persons to get the right documents to move about in this country? Do you want them to continue to break the law? Many persons are twisting this immigration policy into racism and a false idea that Bahamians are not for migration.WAKE UP that is not it. Everyday most Bahamians associate with Haitians, Jamaicans etc. and treat everyone with the upmost respect.We just want it to be done LEGALLY.I am so sick and tired of some person's making this out to be something that it is not. What this immigration policy is doing is 1.Making sure everyone has documents to be here and weeding out the illegal ones, as simple as that.RENDER TO CAESAR THE THINGS THAT ARE CAESARS AND TO GOD THE THINGS THAT ARE GOD.How many Bahamians do you think can get away with landing in Haiti or any other country illegally,squat on their land, get free education health care with NO ramification's. Then if this is left alone and the country goes down hill because of overcrowding these same individuals will be crying out to the government to do something ASAP.I tell ya ONLY IN THE BAHAMAS.

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birdiestrachan 4 years, 8 months ago

The Bishop has this old story about Bahamians and what jobs they will do and not do. He is out of touch with the Bahamian reality. Many fine Bahamian young men are doing a good job cleaning yards. a yard and not a big one will cost you $70.00

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duppyVAT 4 years, 8 months ago

Yet there are at least 3000 Haitians all over Nassau, GB and Abaco dragging lawnmowers behind them all over our streets?????? Many are illegal

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