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Minor Delays In Visa Process Expected At Bahamas Embassy In Haiti

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

THE Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced establishment of "temporary measures" regarding the visa process at its Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, due to "technical constraints".

"While the temporary measure may initially result in minor delays," read a ministry statement released on Friday, "the Ministry wishes to assure the public that every effort will be made to process applications in a timely manner.

"All other functions of the Embassy will continue uninterrupted," it continued.

"The Ministry will advise the public in due course when the Embassy resumes its normal visa issuing function. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs apologises for any inconvenience caused."

When contacted by the Tribune for clarification, Foreign Affairs Minister Darren Henfield insisted the Bahamian government has been steadfast in its attempts to resolve this matter, adding that persons in Port-au-Prince needing a visa can still "go through the process".

Mr Henfield said: "We aren't ending the service there. We have simply repatriated the service to New Providence, adding, at most, two to three days to the process."

"The system itself hasn't changed, you go into our office there, submit your application; once that is done, we will review at our offices here, make a ruling, and forward that information back to our offices there," he added.

In 2014, concerns were raised over a possible visa scam in Haiti after on-line reports alleged that the Bahamian Embassy in Port-au-Prince issued thousands of fraudulent Bahamian entry visas to Haitians.

The report further alleged that the scam had been operational over a six-month period, with some entry visas having been sold to persons in Haiti for as much as $1,000.

In December 2014, Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell confirmed all visas issued over a three month period prior to the matter going public were cancelled by the Bahamas government.

Mr Mitchell, at the time, said the matter was still under investigation by the Royal Bahamas Police Force.

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