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Mitchell Denies New Immigration Policies Are Xenophobic

By SANCHESKA BROWN

Tribune Staff Reporter

sbrown@tribunemedia.net

IMMIGRATION Minister Fred Mitchell yesterday denied that new policies of the Immigration Department and Ministry are xenophobic.

Mr Mitchell reiterated that the Department of Immigration will not grant any job permits as long as there is a Bahamian available to do the job.

Mr Mitchell responded in a statement to former Chamber of Commerce President, Dionisio D’Aguilar, who, in an interview with a local daily newspaper, said the government must remain content with “anemic growth” if it persists with overly xenophobic policies for skilled labour.

Mr D’Aguilar also said the Bahamas does not presently have the “intellectual bandwidth” to fill the country's  growing skills gap and urged the government to ease labour restrictions for foreign specialists.

Mr Mitchell called Mr D'Aguilar's comments "untrue" and "irresponsible".

"I read with interest the comments of the former Chamber of Commerce President, Dionisio D’Aguilar, who is also a well known businessman," he said. "I am deeply concerned that people reading what he had to say might accept uncritically as truth that the policies of the Immigration Department and Ministry in The Bahamas are xenophobic. 

"Plainly and simply that is untrue. Mr D’Aguilar should not assert that as truth and should stop giving the impression that the department's policies, rules, regulations and procedures are in any way portraying a fear of foreigners or are biased in their applications," the statement said.

"The procedures laid down in law and policy by The Bahamas government on immigration are broadly similar and not different from any other country in this hemisphere. The requirement for the grant of a work permit is, first of all, that there is no Bahamian available for the job. That fact must be certified by the Department of Labour.  Exceptions are broadly exercised where an entity wishes to have a owner’s representative, where there is a franchise which requires special expertise or where the owner prefers to have a chosen Chief Financial Officer."

However, Mr Mitchell said once the Department of Labour certifies that there is no Bahamian available for the job, the Department of Immigration will grant the permit, "many times subject to the condition that the person must train a Bahamian".

"The rate of rejections of work permit applications is less than five per cent, if that. I would be so bold as to say that no business can say that they have not been able to get the work permits they need to operate their business," the statement continued.

"While Mr D'Aguilar's hyperbole and exaggeration might be good for newspaper headlines, Mr D’Aguilar should know that it is irresponsible in the extreme to portray his country in that light when everything that is available by evidence suggests that  his version of the facts do not reflect reality."

Comments

lkalikl 4 years, 9 months ago

Our politicians pretend that we live in the fantasy reality that spews from their mouth, when, in reality, it is the average Bahamian and the business people of this country who know the truth and speak it only too well. Mr. D'Aguilar's assessment of flying Fred's ministry is 100% spot on. This regime is anti-foreign when it comes to approving private sector work permits. Except for the consultants they choose for their own programs or the foreigners from whom they take bribes for contracts, our government gives off a racist and xenophobic aura. Whether Mr. Mitchell wants to accept that or not is neither here nor there - that is the perceived reality in the market place and that is how people - real every day people - see it. Our politicians continue to live in a fantasy land bubble of PLP induced solipsism. The country must liberate itself from their dated ideologies as quickly as possible if we are going to fix this beautiful little country of ours any time soon.

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My2cents 4 years, 9 months ago

If a Bahamian is available to perform a job, why should a permit be issued?

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ohdrap4 4 years, 9 months ago

They left out the word 'qualified'. Should be a 'qualified bahamian' who applies. An employer once told me he sought to employ a 'chemical analyst', a person on the list who was a 'financial analyst' was recommended for an interview.

hey, an analyst is an analyst, right?

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My2cents 4 years, 9 months ago

I was talking apples to apples, not suggesting unqualified Bahamians over a qualified foreigner. However, I agree with having that foreigner train a Bahamian(s) to eventually fill the position where possible. There will always be a demand for foreign labour but that should be limited to highly specialized fields, not regular professional and management jobs. The education system desperately needs to be reformed, but on the job training is so much more effective and immediate than that.

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Economist 4 years, 9 months ago

Of course it is xenophobic. It is designed to be that way. It is to rile up the people to vote for the PLP. "See what we are doing for you etc., etc." vote for us, vote PLP.

They want to make sure that they divert the voters attention from the disastrous economic policies that are bankrupting the country, that are leading us to decades of misery as they get rich.

They want to make sure that they divert the voters attention from all their corruption and the almost none existent education they give to Bahamians (keep them stupid and poor). Note that they send their children abroad to boarding schools (they know what they are doing to Bahamians).

They don't want the voter to see the elitist little group; that they have created a dictatorship (needs dumb and poor voters to stay in power).

Of course it is xenophobic.

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duppyVAT 4 years, 9 months ago

Well ............. why are there so many non-Bahamians working for D'Aguilar then??????? And why is it that Fred doesn't have a problem with the re-employment of retirees to the public service and the hundreds of foreign "consultants" working for the government/corporations etc???????

Honestly ........ both should just STFU and do the right thing for the nation ...... Bahamians first!!!

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duppyVAT 4 years, 9 months ago

Les we forget .............. there are 40,000 work permit holders in our country ........ who are they??????????

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Stapedius 4 years, 9 months ago

D'aguilar talked bs. No one denies the fact that we need skilled labour in our country. Equally important is a sensible immigration policy. The moment some nonsense goes down with an expat then the government is blamed for allowing criminals into the country. So the argument must be measured and make sense. We cannot close our eyes to the need for foreign labour and expertise. At the same time we have to protect out borders. I find that we do have many skilled Bahamians to work the trouble with us is laziness and poor time management. We ask a plumber to come to our business for 10 am to which he agrees. 10 am goes by 11, 12 noon, 1 o'clock comes still no plumber and no phone call to let you know. That's what we do in our country. Slackness and laziness is killing us.

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banker 4 years, 9 months ago

Further to what Stapedius says, one of the things that most Bahamians do not see, is their incredibly poor work ethic and productivity. It is interesting to watch the work dynamic in my office between the Bahamians and foreigner work permit holders.

The foreigners come in at 8:30AM, go to their desks, turn on the Bloomberg screens, start typing emails and set up their days. The Bahamians come in at 9:15AM, go and put their lunch in the fridge in the lunch room, visit and sip sip with each other and then go and make coffee and they don't hit their desk for work until 10:15. At 11:30, they dash out to get bottled water to go with their lunch and at the stroke of noon, they are eating lunch until about 1:30PM. The foreigners are out from 12:00 to 1:00PM after having done four solid hours of work, and they are back at until 5:30PM. The Bahamians run off around 3:15PM to go and pick up the chirren and are never seen again, even though they are supposed to work until 5:00PM, The 20% permit holders in our office handle 80% of the business, because of slackness of the Bahamian worker.

As as for Mitchell, you know when he is lying is when you see his lips moving. I swear that man would rather tell you a lie or shade the truth than be perfectly honest with you. There is something wrong with him in the way that he was socialised or something. He is totally incapable of giving you the straight goods, one hundred percent of the time.

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SP 4 years, 9 months ago

.............................. Banker Is Full Of Horse Shyt ..........................

Firstly,with the character you portray, nobody here will believe you would allow such slackness in your operation.

Secondly, If your "Bahamians" work ethics are as described, YOUR OWN poor management skills allowing the behavior is the problem not the employees!

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duppyVAT 4 years, 9 months ago

Banker ............... what business are you in?????? What you quoted only regularly happens in the civil service!!!!!!!!!!

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ohdrap4 4 years, 9 months ago

It also happens in the private sector when workers, bahamian or foreigners, are proteges of those in power.

in my workplace, i have identified those who are protected, they do the absolute minimum and steal any credit they can from you.

i have to sing for my supper, as do a few people there. it took me a few years to learn to avoid the extra load placed on us by the slackers.

one trick is to simply avoid being friends with such people, as they use the friendship as to blackmail you into doing their work for them.

another trick is to use tour computer and telephone striclty for business so you can never be caught on camera.

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SP 4 years, 9 months ago

......................... Dionisio D’Aguilar Is Xenophobic Against Bahamians ............................

The $40M+ income government generated in work permits by the FNM and sustained by the PLP has done more damage than good to our country.

$40M in work permit fees for blue collar jobs at an average cost of $1,500.00 means 26,666.66 foreign blue collar workers were brought in and displace 26,666.66 Bahamians out of the job market.

This is the single largest contributing factor to the major unemployment driven crime dilemma facing Bahamas today.

The added compounded impact of foreign workers diverting money out of local circulation by repatriating funds to impoverished home countries is a double whammy on the Bahamian economy, which not only quickly depletes our foreign reserves, but caused a cycle of further deepening and economic contraction in local business, leading to more layoff's and bank closures as money is no longer circulating in traditional volumes. Causing banks to downsize to adjust for smaller volumes of local financial activity.

This cycle degrades natural capital and will continue plunging Bahamas downward if not arrested.

Bringing in unskilled Haitians, low skilled Asians, Latinos and others should be made totally against the law same as it is in the Philippines and government sponsored one Month training programs be made available for Bahamians to quickly fill these blue collar positions and repay government for training after job placements. same as it is in the Philippines

Philippines earns 14% of GDP from remittences of workers in foreign countries. Why haven't successive governments duplicated Philippines one Month domestic training programs and made literally 10,000's of these blue collar jobs now occupied by Asians, Latinos and West Indians available to Bahamians?

https://youtu.be/WSD5nCs30SA">https://youtu.be/WSD5nCs30SA

http://globalnation.inquirer.net/1924...">http://globalnation.inquirer.net/1924...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02lbnzj">http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02lbnzj

After 40 years of PLP and FNM leadership, Mr. D’Aguilar and Fred Mitchell never once mentioned the lack of, or implementing training programs to fill the void while sparing over “anemic growth” and shortage of “intellectual bandwidth”.

Bahamians have had enough of people standing around for photo ops, grandstanding, talking stupidness and throwing around useless words and phrases.

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banker 4 years, 9 months ago

Shoot the messenger if you will, but others in the business will tell you the same about Bahamian work ethic.

Once had a Bahamian applicant for a job. He had won some sort of prize from BFSB for being best student. He looked like a good fit, until I mentioned starting date. He acquiesced to the starting date, and asked if he could have his two weeks holidays and actually start working two weeks later past the agreed start date, and get his holiday pay for those two weeks. I kid you not!

It is easy to train hard skills required for any job. But that is only half the requirements. Soft skills, some of them culturally-imbued as just as important, and the whole package as a worker is what is important to the functioning and profitability of an enterprise.

You might not like to see the images when a mirror is held up to Bahamian work ethic, but that doesn't alter the truth. Anyone one of a dozen organisations skilled in measuring these things, will tell you that the productivity of a Bahamian worker is low, and simply training hard skills is not the answer.

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duppyVAT 4 years, 9 months ago

I agree with you in some aspects........... banker!!!!!!!!!! However, we must still acknowledge that not ALL Bahamians are slackers on the job .......... there are many ethical hard-working Bahamians in the public and private sector ............. but a sizable minority (35%????) need to pull up their workplace socks big time

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Stapedius 4 years, 9 months ago

SP you have a strong argument and most people would agree that the unskilled labourer is not what is needed. And yes it is true that slackness and poor productivity is not exclusive to Bahamians. Many expats come for vacation and not work. But we so often associate 'foreign' with 'expertise,' when this is certainly not the case. I think the Bahamar project is a perfect example. With all the so called skilled engineers and workers from abroad this project still has so many problems. So sometimes we are our are harshest critics. But we must get to a point of showing people better than we can tell them. Good skills and work ethic begins in our homes and our schools. It is in these areas the government needs to be taken to task.

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SP 4 years, 9 months ago

Good point. Given the exact same circumstances, we can't ever begin to imagine the amount of degrading, bashing and bad mouthing that would have been unleashed against Bahamians if Baha Mar were built by Bahamians.

The Eastern road geniuses, Dionisio D’Aguilar, and untold numbers of their smart ass expats friends would relentlessly bombard us about the poor work ethics of Bahamians and scream for government to allow more foreign workers immediately.

Chinese contractors produced a poor quality end product, and are way behind schedule. Yet we haven't heard one tiny peep of a complaint or anything negative said from any of them to date!

Xenophobia against Bahamians is unquestionably very real.

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Economist 4 years, 9 months ago

Bahamianization WAS a good idea that should have been changed by the mid 1980"s.

Today it is the cause of much unemployment of many Bahamians.

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Chucky 4 years, 9 months ago

The immigration problems could be easily resolved; simply charge the employers hefty fines for first offences and jail time after 3rd offence. Locking up Hatians and deporting them is just a bandaid on the problem.
The offenders are the employers, they create the demand, and they go unpunished. Can't blame them, the employers get to hire cheap illegal labor, employees who they can essentially starve and abuse. Employers likely call immigration at times to have herds of employees rounded up so they don't have to pay them. I say fine the employer $10,000.00 per offence (a penalty already on the books), we will soon after see the problems diminish. Haitians and other illegals will stop coming here if they know they won't find work! Wont take that long.

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Economist 4 years, 9 months ago

Many years ago one of the lawyers allowed, in those days to practice had many friends from away. He encouraged one of them to set up his head office in Nassau. The friend had a very successful electronics company that was listed in NYC and in Canada.

The Nassau office, at one time, employed 15 persons, one foreign the rest Bahamian (good paying jobs.

We need to re think our immigration. A number of our resorts and tourist attractions would not have been here without foreign connections living and working in The Bahamas.

Look at Cayman and all the investment there.

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Chucky 4 years, 9 months ago

How many here have actually worked around the "low skilled" bahamians who "should not be displaced by foreign workers"???? Maybe 10% of Bahamian construction workers I've been around are worth their pay. The balance are a complete waste of food. Not because they are stupid, but because they choose to be useless and very dishonest. A bahamian is a master of concocting stories about a million different things; generally with the intent to scam or to make something they did out to be someone else's fault. Bahamian attitudes suck! Wanna change their attitude, open the immigration, make them know that they have to produce to have a job. Make them know they have to work hard and smart to do the job, and make them know it needs to be done well. All foreigners are here working for either Bahamians or foreign companies with status to operate here; both hire foreigners because they are better than Bahamians. If you want to stop illegals, then fine the companies who hire them, don't persecute the poor migrant worker who only comes because there are jobs for them. Everyone I know has met a foreigner who is here on permit, and all can tell stories about how the employer / immigration drag their feet on permit approvals- leaving the foreigner standing on shaky ground! Either allow it or don't, but if it's not to be allowed, expect Bahamians to continue working like people who know their job is protected! If you truly don't want the foreigners, then that means you must stop the permits, and aggressively go after businesses who hire the illegal workers. Yes that means go after the businesses who have friends who are politicians- we know this won't happen. I remember once taking courses at work and the majority of my fellow employees had no interest whatsoever in learning what was being offered. Payday is friday, liquor store has booze, and chicks are for pussy- that's the extend of the majority of Bahamian male's scope of knowledge. People here are lousy, have babies, but won't look after them, won't help to educate them, won't even spent the time to properly parent them. If people had any decency, they'd make sure their own children did well, became educated and were respectful and respectable people. Clearly the masses of Bahamians don't care, and are lousy people, one look at our failed society is all the proof you need. We'd be lucky if we could say 10% care and are truly respectable people. We need to fix this, but it starts from within, not from government, not from big pay checks, not from protectionist labor rules; if Bahamians wanted to learn a skill and work like decent employees we'd have no interest in hiring foreigners, until then we shall live as we do now!

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