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Immigration Activists: Supreme Court Ruling A Game-Changer

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

IMMIGRATION activists are calling a recent Supreme Court ruling a game-changer in their fight to destroy the status quo concerning how immigration polices are executed in The Bahamas.

The ruling emphasises the limits of the government's ability to detain those suspected of being in the country illegally for more than 48 hours.

It also appears to mandate that the government cannot deport people without first taking them before the courts, a point that contravenes years of established practice in The Bahamas.

In October, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Isaacs ordered the immediate release of Jamaican national Matthew Sewell, 27, from the Carmichael Road Detention Centre after he spent nine years shuffling between the detention centre and the former Her Majesty's Prison, Fox Hill.

In his written ruling on the matter released recently, Justice Isaacs said the law requires that people detained by an immigration officer be charged within 48 hours.

To extend this detention, a police officer of at least the rank of inspector must apply to a Magistrate for a period "not extending 72 hours where enquiries into an offense are ongoing," he said.  

Given this, in the Sewell case, Justice Isaacs ruled that the appropriate grounds for continued detention were not met.

Representatives of the government had argued that Mr Sewell had "no legal status in The Bahamas," and that this was a basis for his detention.

However, Justice Isaacs noted that no deportation order nor recommendation for deportation was made with respect to Mr Sewell under this provision of the law.

Even so, he said: "Only a Court can determine whether a person's presence in The Bahamas is contrary to the provision of the Act. As Longley J. (as he then was) said … "Detention or arrest with a view to deportation without being taken before a court is not permissible."

In terms of how long a detained person could be held when under a deportation order, Justice Isaacs noted that the time frame must be fixed.

In a statement on Thursday, the Grand Bahama Human Rights Association (GBHRA) called the ruling a game changer, saying it vindicates their reasoning.

“The GBHRA could not be more pleased with the judge’s written ruling," the group said.

"It upholds the fundamental tenet which we have been arguing in defence of for years - that due process and the rule of law must be available to everyone in The Bahamas, regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality or background."

“The judge has affirmed that immigrants in this country, regardless of whether they are suspected of breaching the Immigration Act, have the same fundamental rights and you and I and that the government cannot take these away from anyone upon a whim.

“Sadly, there have been other judgements to the same effect over the years, but the government has simply ignored them and continued with illegal indefinite detentions of immigrants in violation of the Bahamas Constitution.

“This time, we expect to be different. This time, we expect the government to adhere to the law and give each and every person suspected of breaking the law, including the Immigration Act, the due process they are entitled to.

"This means being taken before a judge no more than 48 hours after being detained, the right to a lawyer, the right to apply for bail and the presumption of innocence.

“This time, the world is watching us. The government’s unlawful and harsh immigration policy has drawn international headlines and caused human rights defenders around the globe to pay careful attention to our actions. The government simply must respect the Senior Justice Isaacs’ ruling in this case and use it as a guideline for all others of its kind. This time, our reputation is on the line.”

Comments

Economist 3 years, 6 months ago

Investors watch this.

If a government is know for breaking its own laws they WILL NOT come.

Also, activists will be able to take The Bahamas before the UN Human Rights and have the country condemned internationally.

Now there is a legacy that the PM should try to avoid.

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My2cents 3 years, 6 months ago

What a ridiculous and impractical ruling. This is one way to ensure that the country never gets a handle on illegal immigration. The Bahamas needs to follow the example of the U.S and have a magistrate on board the defense force vessels so these cases can be heard en route back to Haiti. No need for them to transport them into Nassau.

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newcitizen 3 years, 5 months ago

Are you serious? One guy spent 9 years, that's right 9 years in detention because the immigration officials were not following the rules. The guy didn't even commit any crimes apart from being in the country without documentation. We also have been paying the bill for him to be locked up for 9 years. The judge simply enforced rules that are already there. So you are saying that the judge should just disregard the law? This ruling means that people will have to be deported more swiftly and will save Bahamians money.

The problems we have with illegal immigration is due to our convoluted and archaic laws. Our politicians have done absolutely nothing to bring about new or progressive ideas to dealing with immigrants, or really anything for that matter.

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birdiestrachan 3 years, 6 months ago

It would appear that a Judge must be appointed just to deal with illegal immigrants. The Judges already have to many murder cases to deal with. and I am not sure if the Bahamian tax payers will have to pay for the illegal persons lawyers or not. But Fred Smith will soon have enough persons to start his Haitian party in the Bahamas it is his dream and it seems to be coming true.

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banker 3 years, 5 months ago

Maybe the Haitians could run the show better than the PLP! As a matter of fact they could. Anyone could run it better than the PLP.

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birdiestrachan 3 years, 6 months ago

Fred Smith I doubt the world is watching us .All eyes are on the Middle East and the USA. who do not want any part of persons seeking asylum in their Country. It also seems that persons who will be on bail in the Bahamas will have to be housed in Fox Hill and how much will the bail be and is the out spoken QC prepared to post their bail?. because I doubt they will be staying around for their case to be tried.

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DEDDIE 3 years, 6 months ago

I don't see what the big deal is. Group prosecution happen all the time. The Dominican fishermen are usually prosecuted as a group. Judge shows up at the detention center. Group stand before judge.Judge ask if there is a lawful reason why you should not be deported. Case over. The ruling simply says, the Immigration Department can not be the judge.

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 6 months ago

I believe advocates will try to force individual cases. Intercepted as a group should be get a group ruling. But now the smuggling method will simply change. They'll also force the state to cover costs of xyz like translation and representation.

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Cas0072 3 years, 6 months ago

Fred Smith has already made much ado about illegal immigrants not having access to legal representation, and coincidentally, nothing about others accused of non-capital crimes languishing in Fox Hill prison. So yes, it is quite clear where this is headed.

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TruePeople 3 years, 5 months ago

Haitians as the new Jihadists? wtf are you talking about?

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newcitizen 3 years, 5 months ago

You do realize that all but one of the Paris attackers were EU citizens? Guess that kinds of shoots holes in you fear mongering though.

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 6 months ago

High fines to those intercepted for entry by evasion.

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 6 months ago

Report traffickers to Haiti's roster. Human trafficking from Haiti is now a crime.

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 6 months ago

Lawyers and advocates should undergo investigation before obtaining license to represent.

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My2cents 3 years, 6 months ago

I agree with this, especially in light of the cell phone found with the latest group of illegals (and excluded from mainstream media reporting). When the time comes, I hope the judge would rule that these text messages and the texter be revealed to the public.

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 6 months ago

Even in the states if you do not show for your court hearing, you could be ordered deported in your absence.

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 6 months ago

Court for anyone born here that may not have gotten their appropriate documents or permits, or those with established unofficial residency, not new comers with the obvious violation of wrongful entry.

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 6 months ago

Amnesty needs to pay for their lawyers and this immigration court.

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Chucky 3 years, 6 months ago

I notice that nobody is mentioning the fact that these people only come because they can make a better life here; and the only reason they can make a better life is because they get jobs. The jobs may not be great, and perhaps the jobs may even be jobs that Bahamians won't do because they are either tough jobs, low pay, or both.
But any way you slice it, they get jobs, and that's because we hire them. Like most things, the problem comes from the people, not the government. We need to recognize that it is us who hire these people, and as long as we hire illegals, we will have illegals coming to stay. I suggest that we take some of the responsibility as citizens, and either stop hiring these illegals or if we're not the ones doing the hiring, then stop turning a blind eye to those that do.

But like most countries it's mostly business that wants cheap labour, and business that is willing to hire these guys. Notice also that we never hear of any business getting the $10,000.00 fine that is on the books, part of existing law. Nope, because business is connected, and powerful. Now businesses are not the only ones hiring illegals, many a Bahamian have illegals doing their gardening and house cleaning.

Shamefully, many Bahamians even spew the words "my Haitian". Not sure if you realize, that paying starvations wages to someone is just a form of modern day slavery. And in our case, it's somewhat ironic, as many Bahamians are descendants of people who were slaves. But that's ok right: cause "I got my Haitian to to take care" of that!

I acknowledge that the odd illegal may come and stay regardless of having a job, may even turn to or continue a life of crime, but they are the small percentage.

It's like most problems here, WE ARE THE PROBLEM, our society has become entitle lazy slobs who think the world owes the. We actually think that we have a country so beautiful that no matter what we do, people will keep coming. Sadly this is far from the truth.

Fixing this country, or fixing the majority of problems starts at home in your house and mine. Fix our own attitudes and actions, the same of our children, and keep it up. Eventually a generation or two from now the Bahamas would be a different country, because our people would be decent.

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TruePeople 3 years, 5 months ago

Yess Chucky, speak wisdom to dem!!

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newcitizen 3 years, 5 months ago

It's easy to see why people just accept hiring of Haitians and other illegal immigrants, it's because Bahamians will not do the jobs they perform. Bahamians, just outright refuse to do hard manual labour for minimum wage. Landscapers, cleaners, basic construction labour, Bahamians on average feel these jobs are below them and therefore would rather be without work than take one. That's not to say all, many Bahamians do what they need to provide for themselves and families.

If we lost all of that bottom end labour, our country would have a terrible time trying to replace it with just the local population.

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 5 months ago

There's still a process to that and it's not coming on a boat and being given representation at our cost to stay.

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newcitizen 3 years, 5 months ago

You're right, but that's not going to stop until there is no incentive to come. Everyone complains about illegals taking jobs, but where are the fines for Bahamian businesses hiring them? Why do jobsites not get visits from Immigration to ensure all the workers are documented. They have an incentive because people will pay them to work and they have no option to try and become documented and contribute to the Bahamas society because the government has taken a bureaucratic stance against Haitians.

The government allows people to entice them here, and then tries to demonize them for coming, while not really actually doing anything about it.

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 6 months ago

What is there to take before the courts if a per country visa limitation , like the US currently uses, is in place and the quota has been exceeded? We're nearly one third Haitian if stats were correct.

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 6 months ago

May I remind you that there are more than Haitian illegal immigrants in this country???????? .............. what about the other West Indians, Filipinos, Hispanics, Africans, Chinese, Indians and white people who are here as well??

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Chucky 3 years, 6 months ago

Relax everyone, what difference does it make, we're all immigrants anyways. This land will be her long after we're all gone! We're here now, but we were not the first ones here, and we wont be the last. We live on average much less than 100 years, at best when we buy some land, we're really just renting it from God anyhow!

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Cas0072 3 years, 6 months ago

Chucky, if laws worldwide were constructed with your ideology, life would be grand and such disussions would be nonsensical. However, since borders, migration, migration laws, laws period, citizens, taxes on citizens, citizenship expectations, etc., all exist, it makes sense that we discuss and try to work within those parameters and try to hold others to the same expectation. We can all take the "enlightened" approach, but unfortunately, that approach does not provide what it takes to survive in the modern world.

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TruePeople 3 years, 5 months ago

Ya but those boarders and laws and taxes and etc where all created by the same imperialist colonial force that enslaved us.... Before that the world was "Free" for them to go up in any place and "civilize" it..... All the arguement against Haitian is really only come down to hate and prejudice.... cus like Chucky say,, is us to employ these people, and honestly i don't mind because they ARE TRYING TO MAKE A BETTER LIFE trying to escape hard poverty and an even worse gov't that ours....

Remember the story of the good Samaritan... a Samaritan to the Jews would be equal to the Haitian to us.... Bahamian say they are Christian, but Jesus say as you treat the least of my people, so you treat me.

yall ein no Christian

The Judge bring this ruling about because an innocent man (not a Haitian) was wrongfully imprisoned for just short of a DECADE...... and yall callous cold hearts is trying to call the judge fool. The judge at least still possesses human compassion.

Nassau is make yall hearts stone cold aye... cold like the grave

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Cas0072 3 years, 5 months ago

It is funny how all of you run to these convenient eras in history, play the race card, and whatever historical guilt trip that you make the flavor of the day. We cannot change history, and mass illegal migration won't make anything right. What we need to do is fight for corruption and fairness within our own countries, and respect the laws of other countries, starting with migration.

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TruePeople 3 years, 5 months ago

well lets stick in the present.

  • Are not the same countries that set up all these nations laws etc etc etc in my "Convenient Era" Today not attempting to resettle 1000's of Syrian "Migrants"? Some people are equating Haitians and Islamic Terrorist here, and while that is laughable, the possibility of Syrians being Militant is actually quite high given that they come from a country of militants (hence the whole situation).

So if we, who inherited laws and boarders in our "Convenient Era", value those laws..... why would we not pay attention to the same nations that gave us those laws. Why would we choose to actually regress against and disobey those inherited laws?

Take the Bahamian immigration laws and compare them with those of any first world, progressive, successful country...........

Would it not "makes sense that we discuss and try to work within those parameters and try to hold others to the same expectation."????

Or do we only run to the laws that are 'convenient' at the moment?

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Cas0072 3 years, 5 months ago

The Bahamas immigration laws are fundamentally no different from that of other countries the world over, including progressive, so called first world countries. In some instances, immigration laws in The Bahamas are not nearly as harsh as others, and because of our lackadaisical approach to enforcing laws, they are also not as effective as they could be.

If you actually did some research, and looked also at what some are now proposing to deter illegal immigration, you would know this. By resettling refugees, these countries have a say in how many they can realistically afford to take in, which is how it is supposed to be. Yet, even that is bringing about some backlash from the public, as is their democratic right. How can The Bahamas with its present economy and unknown percentages of undocumented people be expected to do the same. I am glad you moved into the present era, but you also need to tune into reality.

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TruePeople 3 years, 5 months ago

The Bahamas immigration laws are fundamentally no different from that of other countries the world over, including progressive, so called first world countries.

^you said it^ ..... and I'm the one out of touch with reality.... bey i gotta laugh....

you remind me of PGC right nah....saying anything, and thinking cus you say it somehow it's true, regardless of anything

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Cas0072 3 years, 5 months ago

Your emotions are not substitutes for facts. You sound way more like PGC than me, right down to the use of played out vernacular during what should be a serious discussion.

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TruePeople 3 years, 5 months ago

Here's one fact: a man was wrongfully imprisoned here for just short of a Decade.

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Cas0072 3 years, 5 months ago

The man spent a year in the detention center, not nine. The charges for which he was remanded to HMP were for sex offenses that had nothing to do with immigration. All unfortunate, and I don't disagree that the justice system needs to do much better for the sake of due process for the accused and the accusers. Taking all illegal immigrants before a judge within 48 hours sounds impractical. But a crime is a crime.

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 5 months ago

One third occupancy but it's only hate and prejudice ? This guy is great.

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 5 months ago

They live in the 1800's, so I in 2015 am living for mine in 2200. They have their own landlord they need to deal with.

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 6 months ago

Establish a Stop List for smugglers

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 6 months ago

Make it a misdemeanor/ a degree of child neglect to leave your country without any documentation whatsoever.

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 6 months ago

Don't allow businesses that hire a high percentage of foreign workers to cut their own checks. Require these companies to use direct deposit or a payroll company in order to enforce immigration laws. 

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 6 months ago

Use cultural marketing laws that preserve an authentic experience in hospitality (i.e.: hotels should present Bahamians).

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 6 months ago

Require a minimum wage per level of expertise in migrant dominated markets to prevent unfair competition with migrants taking low pay for professional positions. (Prevent the Arab NY taxi, Asian nail salon situation)

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 6 months ago

Give cash reward and public award for reporting smuggling rings.

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 6 months ago

Penalize politicians who hire illegals. Penalize political pandering/ tactics of soliciting to illegals / taking advantage of dependents with agreements.

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 6 months ago

Give the highest penalty for human smugglers for every point applicable: false advertisement, bribery, overcrowding boats, human rights violation, risking lives, ect.

Large amounts may equal act of war/ terrorism /land grab attempt/ national security breach ( we don't know what they could have when they reach. Ie: weapons or disease/biowarfare or a militant group)

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 6 months ago

Co-conspirating may be a mantis all security threat or treason.

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 6 months ago

Consider unofficial sirname changes as false identity.

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 6 months ago

Ban application eligibility and court hearing if a timeframe has passed without informing immigration of your stay.

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 6 months ago

In providing permanent residency, require questions and interviews over a span of time , community service and local recommendations. 

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 6 months ago

Apply for a position and temp work permit from within your country , grant permits to diverse and competitive skills that are needed here. Keep foreign employee positions in an integrated workplace. Shorten stays. Rotate family members, not entire families at a time. ( This is to broaden opportunity to invite sought after / scouted talent from different experiences )

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 6 months ago

Embassies should provide door to door birth abroad registration.

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 6 months ago

Disallow or limit converting Bahamian currency to Haitian currency. Or ban Haitian currency altogether requiring a permit for businesses that need to use it.

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 6 months ago

Set up a station on Bimini where the border is heavily patrolled by the US coast guard through our shared trafficking defense.

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 6 months ago

Guest workers may collect their severance package or income tax return upon leaving the country.

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 6 months ago

Establish a staffing company to give job placement to returnees.

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 6 months ago

Have a local rep for matching children with international foster care. http://www.ifco.info/">http://www.ifco.info/

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TruePeople 3 years, 5 months ago

Empty barrel dem gone make a TON a noise, and my boy kille is talking pure skunt

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Economist 3 years, 6 months ago

With all the above rules which are just like some of the few 3rd world dictatorships we will return to a fishing village.

People will starve because we are too big to be a fishing village these days.

No investment as no one legitimate investor would touch us, and most Bahamians will be out of work.

The government won't be able to pay pensions or salaries to the civil service because it will be broke. Tourism, well there won't be any.

Keep going, what other pariah ideas do you have?

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SP 3 years, 5 months ago

......... If we don't learn from France terror attacks & Belgium we will fall victim .........

Terrorist that attacked France were ALL decedents of Syria and Middle East countries that grew up in Europe!

http://news.yahoo.com/authorities-mis...">http://news.yahoo.com/authorities-mis...

When (not if) push comes to shove between Bahamians and Haitians, what side will immigrant Haitians take?

What side does Fred Smith and his Haitian brethren take now?

What did the Haitian community contribute to the hurricane Joaquin relief effort, or to any community relief effort in the past 43 years?

Haitians are obviously not here to help, they have absolutely no interest in assimilating, refuse to learn the language, treat the Bahamas like an ATM machine, control arms and cocaine dealing, have no respect for our laws, routinely attack police and immigration officers , vandalize police cars and ambulances, riot at will, have their own secret underground society and are involved in every nefarious crime imaginable.

Are going to sit back pretending all of does not constitute a credible threat like France and the E.U. did with Middle East migrants and wait for Haitians to attack us too?

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TruePeople 3 years, 5 months ago

Where does this idea that Haitians are somehow Islamic Extremist Militants???

Honestly, Bahamians is the cause of most crime in this country.... ESPECIALLY VIOLENT CRIME...

y'all talk lone fool bey like unbelievable bull shit

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Cas0072 3 years, 5 months ago

In a country called The Bahamas, it makes sense that the majority of criminals, including violent criminals. are Bahamian. This goes for any country. Criminals, including violent ones, are more prevalent in the poorest sectors of society and when you compound the fact that they are not even documented, the question is do illegal Haitian immigrants & their offspring contribute disproportionately to crime? Could be.

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TruePeople 3 years, 5 months ago

'Could be' but from reading the comments here nuff people is make it out like all the crime round here is because of Haitians...

EXAMPLE: Haitians are obviously not here to help, they have absolutely no interest in assimilating, refuse to learn the language, treat the Bahamas like an ATM machine, control arms and cocaine dealing, have no respect for our laws, routinely attack police and immigration officers , vandalize police cars and ambulances, riot at will, have their own secret underground society and are involved in every nefarious crime imaginable.

Which plays right into the 'national security' hype Freddy wants ya'll buying into.....

When time ya point out that Bahamaians themselves are our biggest security threat as they are responsible for the vast majority of crime, at a time when crime like murder is at an all time high....

and i get the smart aliick saying 'it [only] makes sense that the majority of criminals' in the Bahamas are Bahamian.

..............................................................................well what's obvious to some is really incomprehensible to others apparently

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 5 months ago

Where are the guns coming from?

Everyone knows the average arrival isn't militant .. The 'national security' concern is needed to change "entitlement" to "eligible".

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SP 3 years, 5 months ago

Being unable to comprehend what you read must be painful for you!

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TruePeople 3 years, 5 months ago

Laughing out loud at what you write makes up for it king man

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 5 months ago

This guy (Killemwitdakno) needs to go and be a consultant to Fweddy ........ don't waste ur talent on tribune242

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SP 3 years, 5 months ago

......... French Muslims now taking the lead against Muslim extremist and terrorist .......

http://news.yahoo.com/french-muslim-c...">http://news.yahoo.com/french-muslim-c...

Haitians need to recognize that their own illegal people are their worst enemies that are causing Bahamians to hate all Haitians.

How many Haitians have lifted a finger in 40 years to assist the Bahamas against illegal human, drug and arms smuggling and the war on the Haitian invasion?

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DEDDIE 3 years, 5 months ago

Using the Paris argument.If Haitians and Bahamians are only a couple generations remove from each other then the problem is not their present state but their past. Been African is the problem. "Jusy saying".

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Voltaire 3 years, 5 months ago

What a load of alarmist nonsense. I mean, seriously people. All this ruling did is uphold exactly what is says in our Immigration Act and our Constitution. It is not some conspiracy to flood the country with illegals, it is the affirmation of the rule of law. If we don't like the laws, we should change them. There is no excuse for our government breaking our own laws, and all this ruling did was point that out. More lawyers should be doing this kind of work, challenging the powers that be to live up to the spirit and the letter of the law rather than just enforce it selectively or however they feel like. The biggest threat to this country in the next 20 years is not illegals, it is not crime, it is the arbitrary use of power by the increasingly bold little would be dictators in our political class.

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 5 months ago

Versatile governance has been our advantage.

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Voltaire 3 years, 5 months ago

Oh, and when it comes to all this foolishness about comparing the Bahamas to the recent France situation – not unless Haitian people suddenly decide to adopt a radical ideology of global domination achieved through the use of fear and destruction and spread through a sophisticated propaganda system that makes use of cutting edge modern technology. The people didn't attack Paris because they were IMMIGRANTS, they did it because they were TERRORISTS. That they happened to enter the country as asylum seekers speaks to a question of mode of travel, not an identity in and of itself. I swear, Bahamians are the silliest people in the world sometimes.

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TruePeople 3 years, 5 months ago

I ein even know where or why people starting equating Haitian's to Isis..... like its like saying my flip flops and the NASA space satellite are the same thing because France terror attacks........

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SP 3 years, 5 months ago

Briefly pull your head out of your all knowing ass & read what was said

"Terrorist that attacked France were ALL decedents of Syria and Middle East countries that grew up in Europe!

"IMMIGRANTS" were not specified as the problem in France. Rather, the fact that decedents of Syrian IMMIGRANTS were radicalized to attack the host country is the issue.

Experience as an employer to Bahamians of Haitians decent I unequivocally state some are not comfortable in their own skin because of their Haitian heritage.

Whatever the reason, some Bahamians of Haitian decent carry a massive chip on their shoulders and feelings that "we" are out to get them or think "we" less of them etc. etc. etc.

These are the Bahamians of Haitian decent whose loyalty I question and not all Haitian immigrants as incorrectly insinuated by you.

You may now reinsert your head deeply in your ass

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TruePeople 3 years, 5 months ago

and Haitian and Bahamain is all descended from Africans....... so you have no point

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SP 3 years, 5 months ago

News flash .......Ignoramus....All people descended from Africa!

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TruePeople 3 years, 5 months ago

so... you have even less of a point?

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My2cents 3 years, 5 months ago

The constitution does not stipulate a 48 hour charge or release, this ruling did. Further, the immigration minister has the authority to sign off on deportations without a court hearing.

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Chucky 3 years, 5 months ago

actually yes the 48 hour charge or release is law

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Economist 3 years, 5 months ago

No the Minister does not. That is why Fred Smith has been successful in these cases.

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newcitizen 3 years, 5 months ago

It's amusing that the reason Fred Smith has been so successful in these cases is due to the willful disregard for the law by the Immigration Department and the government.

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DEDDIE 3 years, 5 months ago

In our Bahamian psyche the Minister is all powerful. The courts come in to play because they don't want persons arbitrarily deported who have a right to be here including Bahamians.

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TruePeople 3 years, 5 months ago

This is what the racist people don't get.... they're too blinded by the Haitian Demon, who if ya does got back a few generations is probably ya damn cousin too

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My2cents 3 years, 5 months ago

It takes a lot of ignorance and arrogance to believe that anyone who disagrees with you is racist. Could it simply be that our interpretation of the law differs. An entire profession was built around this fact.

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TruePeople 3 years, 5 months ago

It has nothing to do with law or agree, y'all is hateful against Haitian, and it comes across.

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My2cents 3 years, 5 months ago

I don't believe that illegal immigrants or persons in fox hill prison who performed illegal acts to improve their lives should be rewarded or treated as victims. There is no bias or hate in me toward anyone. I think your simple mindedness or your bias for Haitians, is what makes you believe your ridiculous statement.

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newcitizen 3 years, 5 months ago

So it appears that your entire comment is factually incorrect.

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MonkeeDoo 3 years, 5 months ago

The PLP has never submitted to Bahamian Law nor its Constitution. D'arcy Ryan is a case in point. Blackbeards Cay is another more recent one. we are a banana republic no doubt about it.

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Voltaire 3 years, 5 months ago

My2cents - perhaps you should actually read the law. The 48 hour rule is in the constitution and the penal code, and the minister does not have that authority, never has. Doesn't exist in the immigration act or anywhere else.

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My2cents 3 years, 5 months ago

Perhaps you should. The minister does have that authority and it can be signed off by the governor general. Furthermore, based on what I did read in the constitution, it did not stipulate a 48 hour period. Of course, I could be wrong and there may have been an amendment to that, but I usually come with facts and not emotion and bias.

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newcitizen 3 years, 5 months ago

So wait, your interpretation is that the Governor General can sign the order, well then according to you, the minister has no authority to do so. They can ask the GG, but that's it. So we'll use that as the basis for relying on your incorrect facts.

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My2cents 3 years, 5 months ago

I would advise you do the same. The minister can in fact, sign off on deportation orders. Read the amended immigration act of 2012, and tell me your interpretation.

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Cas0072 3 years, 5 months ago

Actually, with regard to immigration, the constitution states clearly that people who enter the country illegally are "guilty" of illegal entry and that the Director of Immigration can make a written order for deportation of such people. So yes, this ruling now ensures that they all stand officially accused, and are treated like any other alleged criminal within the system. This makes sense for those who overstay, but sounds impractical with regard to mass numbers of illegal immigrants that are intercepted at sea. There is also a provision in the constitution that allows for using any funds and/or seizing property from these vessels to compensate the government for the cost of detention and travel back to their country. This must also be enforced.

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TruePeople 3 years, 5 months ago

ya because those leaky Haitian sloops are loaded with treasure.................. Make sure you teef up the poor people things before you kick dem in the back

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Cas0072 3 years, 5 months ago

Do they not pay to get on board those leaky Haitian sloops? That plus finds to enablers at all levels sounds about right.

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Voltaire 3 years, 5 months ago

My2cents - well, the constitution says that any person detained in connection with any suspected crime shall be brought before the courts "without undue delay" 19(1). It is the Penal Code that defines an undue delay as more than 48 hours. Both have always applied in conjunction. Certainly, detaining people for months and years and/or deporting them without EVER bringing them before a court was always illegal, even before this ruling.

CAS0072 - Indeed the constitution says you can deport people who are found crossing the border or who recently landed. Nothing wrong with that at all. Its when you grab a fella that has been here for years and subject him to summary deportation. That is illegal. He is innocent until proven guilty and is entitled to a host of other rights just like any other suspect.

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TruePeople 3 years, 5 months ago

Also, deporting children / youth born and raised in the Bahamas, and labelling them as non-Bahamian 'illegals' is not just morally wrong, it is inhumane.

There is hope though, because according to CAS0072 - "immigration laws in The Bahamas are not nearly as harsh as others" ....

Sadly, i'm guessing those "others" are probably Russia, China and the Moon......

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Cas0072 3 years, 5 months ago

There is hope though, because according to CAS0072 - "immigration laws in The Bahamas are not nearly as harsh as others" ....

According to facts, not me. There are only a few countries that allow automatic citizenship, and among first world countries, only the USA and Canada. The Bahamas has and continues to try to find options for this, but if the parents sacrifice their children's "entitlement" to apply for citizenship to protect their own status that is on them.

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newcitizen 3 years, 5 months ago

Again you are wrong. Ireland, England, France, all of Scandinavia, and just about every country in Europe, all give citizenship to babies born in their countries.

Our laws are antiquated and built upon a xenophobic ideas.

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Cas0072 3 years, 5 months ago

Check your facts again. I did. None of those countries/ regions you listed provide birth citizenship. Of the developed countries, only the US and Canada do.

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TruePeople 3 years, 5 months ago

"Jus soli" is the AUTOMATIC citizenship of youth born in a state to undocumented persons; "illegals"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jus_soli">https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jus_soli

Countries who don't out and out grant automatic citizenship have at least mitigating circumstances that can allow the Baby to gain a citizenship, such as 'settlement' , 'naturalization' , temp / permanent residence, etc.

In the Bahamas there are many hurdles for people attempting to immigrate. Many foreigners (non-Haitians) come here for work (as historically there has been an issue with qualified locals) and work hard for years unable to get off a yearly work Visa.

THIS is actually the issue: how the law is applied.

Nassau has GATED counties..... i.e. Communities of mostly non-Bahamaians who want to live here, but don't want to live amongst the locals. So on our own island we are walled out of these gated communities, and somehow we're all happy about this. Why? because those people are rich, and as such automatic friends of the Gov't.

At the end of the Day the fact that Bahamains don't like, and don't want Haitians is all that seems to matter. The laws are made, interpreted and applied to this end. Any non-Haitians affected by this have to just deal, because clearly the Haitians are an absolute evil.

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My2cents 3 years, 5 months ago

The section of the constitution does indeed address reasonable detention of persons...nowhere does it provide for a 48 hour period maximum detention. In fact if you read further into chapter iii, 19(1)(g), you will see that illegal immigration is one of the exceptions. So again I ask, quote me that section of law. Do not confuse what is widely accepted as law unless you can prove it.

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Cas0072 3 years, 5 months ago

If the fella has been here for years, and never saw fit to legally document his presence, sure bring him before the courts, charge him, and let him wait it out in HMP like all other accused and charged foreignors. I too have no problem with that. Sounds like a serious deterrent if done right.

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TruePeople 3 years, 5 months ago

The fella who was here for years IN PRISON, and unable to get a court date? is that the person you at talking about?

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Cas0072 3 years, 5 months ago

The comment referred to a hypothetical "fella" being grabbed and deported as if he had just landed. Calm down and read. And while you are it, do your own research. I can say for certain that I have looked at immigration laws for other countries, and let me say once again, Australia is quite remarkable.

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newcitizen 3 years, 5 months ago

You do know about the idea of a Statute of Limitations? Meaning that you need to bring charges against someone within a reasonable amount of time depending on the crime.

Also, who do you expect to pay for all these locked up foreigners who have committed no crime except trying to better their lot in life? Better not be my VAT money going to crap like that.

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Cas0072 3 years, 5 months ago

The constitution states that people who are criminally accused should be charged within 48 hours and tried within two years I believe? Where did I advocate otherwise? Now that this ruling ensures full criminal status to people trying to better their lot in life, other aspects of the constitution should be strictly enforced to pay for it.

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newcitizen 3 years, 5 months ago

A guy lives here for 10 years, pays into NIB, pays taxes through duty and now VAT. He commits no crimes other than entering illegally,yet you want to now throw him in jail and kick him out of the country. The statute of limitations applies to how long it has been since illegally entering the country till he is charged. Not how long it takes once he is charged, that would be due process.

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Cas0072 3 years, 5 months ago

Right, thanks for the clarification. Because a person almost got away with a crime does not mean that they should. I certainly would not support a statute of limitations on illegal immigration.

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newcitizen 3 years, 5 months ago

Personally, I disagree with you on this, but I guess we are both entitled to our opinions on the matter. Debate makes us all better.

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Voltaire 3 years, 5 months ago

It wasn't you Cas0072. It was My2cents that claimed there was no constitutional requirement to bring people before a judge within 48. This ruling is simply based on the judges correct reading of the constitution. It did not create a new law, just upheld the one that was there.

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My2cents 3 years, 5 months ago

Please quote that section of the constitution and I will readily look it up and concede, if that is the case.

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Voltaire 3 years, 5 months ago

But I think it was CAS0027 who was talking about deterrents - absolutely correct. The proper application of the law would ALWAYS have been an effective deterrent. Politicians have always been to scared to do it. That is why Fred Mitchell's "new policy was a load of garbage from day one. Nothing but high profile PR stunt "raids" but the same failure to apply the law properly. People are caught in raids, they are deported, people come back. Entering illegally is a violation of the Immigration Act and therefore, a crime. Lock down our borders, send those who you find en route directly back, prosecute those who have you have a reasonable cause to suspect are here illegally and apply the LAW. From what I can see, all Fred Smith's cases have done is push the government towards they should have been doing in the first place, and that IS a big deterrent to would-be new arrivals. At the same time, it would protect the rights of legal migrants, regularized Haitian-Bahamians, people who "look too Haitian" and everyone else who have been caught up in these unlawful stunt raids. Applying the law would act as a deterrent AND protect the rights of those who don't deserve to be harassed wrongfully.

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killemwitdakno 3 years, 5 months ago

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by killemwitdakno

They have no concern for us.

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Emac 3 years, 5 months ago

Cas0072,Cas0072,Cas0072... Why even argue with the usual illegal Haitian apologists. This group will always misinterpret the laws of the Bahamas to suit their purpose. Like I always say, that is in their blood. It doesn't matter how hard they try to pretend to blend in the Bahamian society, their true intentions come out every time Bahamian authorities try to do something about the illegal Haitian problem...Notice I said illegal Haitians now. They never have any gripes about any other nationalities. Simply put, ya can't change the nature of a people. By even trying to be rationale with them you will only be wasting your breath. This only proves SP and a few others views on the Haitian illegal dilemma. If push come to shove, which side you think they gern on???????????????

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Emac 3 years, 5 months ago

@Chucky-Get real! Ain' no Haitians working for less than Bahamians... You must be living on another planet or you are simply naïve to the attitude of today's Haitian workers. By the way, I never talk about anything I cannot prove. Get it right!

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 5 months ago

Haitians are proud but violent people who have had a bloody unstable past ......... they are not like Bahamians ........................ their French culture is different from our British and their isolation and invasion after independence is different from our openess and family links with America ........... do not seek to compare Haitians and Bahamians (beyond slavery)

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Economist 3 years, 5 months ago

Don't forget that The Laws of The Bahamas are also subject to being interpreted in accordance with all the Human Rights Treaties that "Birdie's beloved politicians" signed on to all those years ago.

And Birdie, you don't like those Treaties........so how could they do this to you???

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Regardless 3 years, 5 months ago

The Haitians from the north shore, where 90% of those who are now domiciled in The Bahamas are from, murdered their liberator from the French and then proceeded to burn every plantation on the island. They have been starving ever since. The people of Cap Haitian and the north coast are the bane of Haiti and they are all over The Bahamas now!!!

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