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Updated: 'Intensive' Immigration Checks In Abaco

Fred Mitchell

Fred Mitchell

By NICO SCAVELLA

Tribune Staff Reporter

nscavella@tribunemedia.net

THE government began “intensive” immigration checks in Abaco yesterday as law enforcement agencies united in the search for 60 Haitians suspected of entering the country illegally last week, Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell said yesterday.

Mr Mitchell said the Department of Immigration is being assisted by the Royal Bahamas Police Force with the Royal Bahamas Defence Force on “standby for support” in Abaco following reports that dozens of people believed to be from Haiti slipped in undetected on the island last Thursday.

These checks, he said, would last throughout the next several days.

Last week, Mr Mitchell said the government was prepared to go to war against human smugglers and sympathisers in its bid to break a criminal enterprise that has facilitated a relentless “invasion” of illegal immigrants.

At the time, he said the Department of Immigration had received information that there may have been a landing in Abaco with approximately 60 people on board who may have melted into the Abaco community.

Mr Mitchell also issued a strong warning last week that the country will not remain idle in the face of migration trends, suggesting that the high volume of illegal migrants could be a strategy to overwhelm the finite resources of the country.

His statements came after 78 migrants, believed to be of Haitian nationality, were interdicted in the area of Port New Providence the morning before. Of the group, there were 67 men, 10 women, and one five-year-old boy.

“This is an invasion in the country,” he said last week. “ . . .You can’t put it past them that they would say if we overwhelm them with numbers, that’s a capricious time for us to act because we know that if we overwhelm them with numbers they may have a capacity problem.

“I want to warn them, don’t try us,” he added. “Don’t try us because we mean to defeat this, we mean to break this and it has to be broken. You can’t have a situation where last year you had 100 people at a time arriving everyday with no status in the country, and the country just sits back and does nothing.”

He added: “I just want to warn them that we mean to put the resources that this state can employ to stop this and to break this, that’s the intention, and if it’s war that they wish, then it’s war they will get.”

Comments

ThisIsOurs 4 years, 2 months ago

Good . Criminality should never be rewarded. Tell George Smith that it does matter how you make your money. Drugs, illegal gambling, human smuggling, gun running, stolen cars, stolen copper, bribery, extortion, extorting "tips" for doing work the employer already paid you to do, embezzlement, "borrowing" money from the client's account..its a shame that so many of our government ministers can be tagged with one or more of these..NIB.

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banker 4 years, 2 months ago

Hey watch ya mout'. Don't ya know that we took the biggest ever drug-runner's wife and made her a governor general. We are the laughing stock of the world. A real banana republic.

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TheMadHatter 4 years, 2 months ago

Why do you say "slipped in undetected" ?

They were detected - that's why they know they are there and are looking for them.

You need to think about how many come in TRULY undetected - that you never hear about.

TheMadHatter

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The_Oracle 4 years, 2 months ago

Poor Fred, wants so badly to be taken seriously, but with the antics of all the rest of them he is perpetually overshadowed! Good list ThisIsOurs, covers the who is who of Bahamian politics!

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duppyVAT 4 years, 2 months ago

That is why the government needs to get rid of Pigeon Pea, The Mud and Sandbanks NOW. Abaco is too big for Immigration to find these immigrants ................ call in NASA or SEAL6 please.

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Girly 4 years, 2 months ago

You know what? I think I am going to Washington. If the foreigners are going and having the biggest ,loudest, most obnoxious, boisterous mouths of all and all at the same time tarnishing our country.I think it is time that we as Bahamians go and show the world how sneaky persons are coming into this country,draining us, and taking advantage of us illegally Bahamians are just too passive and we don't like to take a stand against mistreatment until it is too late.

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duppyVAT 4 years, 2 months ago

The meeting is down south in Jamaica ................ next week

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birdiestrachan 4 years, 2 months ago

An example must be made for those who encourage illegal immigrants. There are not coming to the Bahamas in a void. ..They have persons who are already in the Bahamas who are giving them comfort. places to live adding and abetting them. If they suffer the consequences of their actions . others may take note and stop.

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TheMadHatter 4 years, 2 months ago

That is correct. You never hear of even ONE Bahamian locked up for habouring someone or hiring someone. In fact there is NO LAW on the books against hiring an illegal - that's why MItchell says he wants to introduce a law in the House. I dont' know what year he plans to have it tabled, however.

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TalRussell 4 years, 2 months ago

Comrade Minister Freddy, I am puzzled, if law enforcement agencies only mission in Abaco were to search for the 60 Haitians suspected of entering the country illegally just in the last week?
If so, why no arrests from among the other 25,000 illegal Haitians living in Abaco. Minister, leading up to and during the 2012 General Elections, the PLP election candidates were aggressively accusing the Hubert regime of rushing through citizenship applications, and not telling the public what was going on when new citizenship ceremonies were being held. My question is; have you as the minister, been " open" with the public with citizenship applications and the swearing-in of ceremonies new Bahamalanders?

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Economist 4 years, 2 months ago

He has only gone after 60 because thousands of those 25,000 that you talk about were born here. Remember the complaints of Abaconians in the mid seventies asking the PLP government to round the illegals up and send them back? Well, the PLP government did nothing.

What goes round comes round. The PLP created the mess but now they can't clean it up because in their haste, after independence, to join everything in the UN they signed on to, and agreed to, things that the world will hold them to. Like Human Rights. Yes, the PLP even gave the illegals rights in The Bahamas.

The PLP need to come clean with their electorate and tell them that in the thirty years they had in power when they should have dealt with the illegals, they did nothing, and now they can't send most of them back.

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avidreader 4 years, 2 months ago

There has been a lot of talk and very little action in Abaco apparently because the illegal immigrant community is so well integrated into the local labour force that any serious effort to weed out the illegal population would seriously hamper the continuation of many construction projects such as at Bakers Bay on Great Guana Cay where it has been estimated that about 90% of the labour force travelling there each day via boat from Marsh Harbour is either Haitian (whether legal or illegal) or of Haitian descent. As I said some time ago it appears to be too late to take any effective action in Abaco since the situation is so long standing that the result of any serious crackdown could result in a situation similar to attempting to operate the US state of California (among several states) without the presence of illegal Mexican nationals. Of course, those of us with some knowledge of history realize that immigrants, whether legal or illegal, are not going to be satisfied with their role of "hewers of wood and drawers of water" forever and will seek political representation and/or control of their new home at some point in the future, whether that point should be near or far.

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Girly 4 years, 2 months ago

The most sensible comment ever. So true.

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TalRussell 4 years, 2 months ago

Comrades I am now satisfied with my new information that the raids against illegals in Abaco, are continuing and that their will be no letup on searching out and detaining illegals.

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