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Judicial Review Bid On Immigration Policy Delayed

By LAMECH JOHNSON

Tribune Staff Reporter

ljohnson@tribunemedia.net

YESTERDAY’S expected hearing of a woman’s application for judicial review of the government’s new immigration policy did not proceed due to in chamber discussions with lawyers from both sides.

The discussions before Supreme Court Justice Rhonda Bain concerning the case of 21-year-old Widlyne Melidor’s access to public services continued well into the court’s afternoon session.

The Tribune was not privy to the details, however, as the discussions were held in the judge’s chambers.

Ms Melidor, a woman born in the Bahamas to Haitian parents, filed an application for judicial review of the government’s immigration policy and its impact on her access to public services. Respondents listed in the application were the minister of immigration, minister of education, the Columbus Primary School Board, minister of health and the administrator of the Fleming Street Community Clinic.

The ex-parte application by Ms Melidor alleged that she was denied antenatal care while pregnant with her fourth child and access to primary school education for her five-year-old son, Petroun Benz Chery.

He was also born in the Bahamas and is listed as the second applicant in the application filed on April 24.

The two were allegedly denied services because they did not have Haitian passports, according to the application, which suggests that their experiences appear to be the result of the implementation, or subsequent interpretation, of the immigration policy introduced on November 1, 2014.

Ms Melidor is also seeking judicial review of the Immigration Department’s requirement for people born in the Bahamas to carry identity papers proving their right to reside in the country; and the decision to refuse consideration of her citizenship application until she is able to produce a Haitian passport, special residency or a Belonger’s permit.

Ms Melidor is seeking relief in the form of a declaration that the decisions were ultra vires, or without legal authority; a declaration that the minister of immigration is in breach of his duty to determine her citizenship in a timely manner; and orders of certiorari to quash each of the decisions.

She has also requested orders of mandamus to require the minister of immigration to consider her citizenship application according to law and within a reasonable time; to require the minister of education and the Columbus Primary School Board to register her son; and to require the minister of health and the administrator of the Fleming Street Community Clinic to provide access to medical care for herself and her dependents.

At the time of the application, Ms Melidor was 39 weeks pregnant with her fourth child. The Tribune has confirmed that Ms Melidor gave birth to a boy at the Princess Margaret Hospital on April 27.

She is represented by Fred Smith, QC, of Callenders and Co.

Crown lawyers Kayla Green-Smith and Melissa Wright represent the five named defendants.

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