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Bahamas Born - But Held For 3 Months

The Carmichael Road Detention Centre.

The Carmichael Road Detention Centre.

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

A 34-year-old man born in The Bahamas is petitioning the courts over the lawfulness of his detention of some three months at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre.

Jean-Rony Jean-Charles was arrested in early September by immigration officers, according to his sister Clotilde Jean-Charles’ affidavit, which alleges her brother has never left the country.

In her affidavit, Ms Jean-Charles characterises her brother’s detention as unconstitutional and unlawful, noting he has not committed any offence under the Immigration Act.

Ms Jean-Charles further claims she has taken documents proving his birth to the Department of Immigration at the request of officials, only to be told repeatedly the matter was under investigation.

She wrote the family was recently advised by a ‘Ms Rolle’ of the department’s Enforcement Unit that the documents submitted for Mr Jean-Charles could not be found.

“It is now almost 12 weeks since he was illegally arrested and falsely imprisoned,” the affidavit read.

“He has not been charged with any offence in any court. He has not been given bail. He has not been taken before any court in the Bahamas. He has not been served with a deportation order. He has not been charged with any criminal offence.

“Despite numerous attempts by me and his family to secure his release, he is still unlawfully imprisoned by the Department of Immigration in contravention of the Constitution and the Criminal Procedure Code Act. I am advised by counsel to Jean-Rony that the respondents are not entitled by law or otherwise to falsely arrest and falsely imprison Jean-Rony.

“Jean-Rony’s imprisonment is unconstitutional and unlawful.”

The applications for habeas corpus writs were filed in the Supreme Court against the attorney general, minister of immigration, director of immigration, and superintendent of the Carmichael Road Detention Centre on November 29.

Mr Jean-Charles is represented by Fred Smith, QC, of Callenders & Co.

The application is one of scores of writs filed this year against detentions at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre.

In July, four refugees who were held without charge at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre for more than two years, were released by the government shortly after they filed their applications.

In separate cases, the men claimed they were never questioned by immigration officers during processing and highlighted their refugee status with the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR).

This week, seven international human rights groups have expressed concerns over the impact of the government’s December 31 deadline for undocumented migrants to leave the country. The groups have raised concerns about how this would affect children born in the Bahamas to non-Bahamian parents and the compliance of state deportation procedures with international law.

In a joint statement, the signatory organisations urged the government to share a written policy on migration, which they noted should be human-rights based with detention used only as a last resort.

Signatories include: Amnesty International; Caribbean Institute for Human Rights; Centre for Justice and International Law (CEJIL); Centro para la Observación Migratoria y el Desarrollo Social en el Caribe (Observation Centre for Migration and Social Development in the Caribbean, OBMICA); The Institute on Race, Equality, and Human Rights; Robert F Kennedy Human Rights; and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA).

The statement read: “The signatory organisations call on the Bahamian authorities to urgently share a written human rights-based migration policy that uses detention only as a measure of last resort; includes details of the processes available to those who wish to regularize their status; screening processes to avoid the expulsion of individuals born in the Bahamas with a right to Bahamian nationality; and processes to assess asylum claims with all procedural safeguards.”

It continued: “We remind the Bahamian authorities that in accordance with international standards, any deportation procedures must ensure individual assessments of each case, provide individuals with deportation orders in writing, and safeguard the right of individuals to challenge their deportation order before an independent court of law.”

The Immigration Act also calls for similar processing before the courts before a person is deported; however, officials have explained this process would severely backlog operations due to the high volume of irregular migrants.

Comments

My2cents 1 week, 5 days ago

Essentially undocumented at 34? Proving his place of birth does not mean he applied for and was granted citizenship at 18-19, or that his documents are genuine. So according to the law, he could very well be a Haitian national. So his arrest was not illegal.

However, he should not have been detained for 3 months. At least in this instance, they know who he is and can find him more readily if need be, than a newly landed, unidentified immigrant with no traceable background. He should have been released to his sister or another legal person until the investigation is complete.

There are still some unanswered but pertinent questions missing from this one sided article. Was his citizenship application pending for the last 15 years? If so it needs to be resolved asap. However, if he never applied, I'm not sure what his family expects. There should be a law that would deport or rescind status for all negligent immigrant parents 10, even 50 years down the line for not following the law simply because they feel their kids are entitled. The Bahamas is not an anchor baby state, they should respect it and also be the ones to suffer the consequences.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 week, 5 days ago

Release him and the illegal immigrant problem simply grows with each impregnation of a woman by him.

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DDK 1 week, 5 days ago

The illegal immigrant situation has been avoided for far too long and, as such, the Bahamas Government will have to deal with the current and future hue and cry now that the issue is finally being tackled. The civil servants at the Governmental Departments involved must, finally, learn to be efficient, humane and cognizant of the consequences of their actions.

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John 1 week, 5 days ago

While MINNIS and the FNM are trying to take credit for the decrease in crime, more specifically murders, the lull in murders came about because a gang leader and drug smuggler, who may have been responsible for hundreds of murders (authorizing them) was himself murdered. And apparently that portion of the gang he led is without a leader and basically in shambles. So a number of the gang members have went into hiding or otherwise disassociated themselves from the gang. And some who made a living off selling drugs or even carrying out hits (killings) for the gang may be responsible for the recent spate of robberies that are occurring around New Providence. They are seeking other means of income Crime, especially robbery.. If the police were smart, they would move in and prevent this headless gang from regaining a leader and becoming ruthless,violent and murderous again. Every time one of these notorious leaders are killed the murders either decline, until the leader is replaced, or assassination type murders increase as the leader's death is revenged. The police must seek to stamp out gangs completely and parents should ensure that their young sons do not become a part of them.

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bogart 1 week, 5 days ago

Looking at the name Jean-Rony Jean-Charles seems irregular. Years ago someone with the name Rony was shot dead somewhere in Bacardi toad and there are persons having parts of nane. Usually with excellect copied papers compounds identfying persons possibly facilitating fraud. What is even more glaring is that the govt itself for decades has allowed advertising for citizenship public notices in the papers to do so without a photograh in the ad. Despite govt numbering most houses with numbers many ads even will inform that the person lives on Esat or Carmichael road and at times even st o P.O Box number.

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jamaicaproud 1 week, 4 days ago

Wow backwardness. A country where birth and living 34 years does not provide any rights. A country filled with Paranoid people who think everyone wants to be Bahamian. Where more prosperous and progressive countries make it easy for people with money to immigrate and invest, people in the Bahamas are worried about, "Bahaminanization". You all need to get real and get a grip before the world passes you by.

If you guys don't man up and stop being paranoid about foreigners no one will invest, you will have to borrow, and borrowing comes with major cost, the main one which is devaluation. Trust me we Jamaicans know about that. You wake up one morning and suddenly your money can but much less than the day before.

No one will invest in a place where is difficult to get permits to live, and where there is hostility to foreigners. Know this simple fact, People who invest will have their own people to watch over their business, that is standard, this thing about forced understudy to take over an owners business is not practical, in fact its nonsense.

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John 1 week, 4 days ago

When in Jamaica do as de yardies dem do..When in the Bahamas..leaarn to eat conch salad and share it too..Ya hear me nah? And is dem Chinese wat taking over Jamaica, left right and cnter,

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jamaicaproud 1 week, 4 days ago

They are not taking over a thing. Its just an illusion

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sheeprunner12 1 week, 4 days ago

Who controls Jamaica??????? ......... Who owns Jamaica????? ...... Who are the 21 families that own Jamaica?????? ....... How many of them are black ..........and what about China??????? ...... Tell us - you proud Jamaican.

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jamaicaproud 1 week, 4 days ago

You have diverted what I said. I man is saying, there must be natural justice. In every country, very few families control the wealth, so this is nothing unique. I am saying if a man is born in a country where at least one parent is a citizen, why should he be denied?

Once you continue to support wild immigration enforcement, one day the tables will be turned against you guys, where the state will use immigration to stop every Bahamian who is going about legitimate business.

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sheeprunner12 1 week, 4 days ago

Who controls Jamaica??????? ......... Who owns Jamaica????? ...... Who are the 21 families that own Jamaica?????? ....... How many of them are black ..........and what about China??????? ...... Tell us you proud Jamaican.

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TheMadHatter 1 week, 4 days ago

Yeah....we really need to be worried about losing potential investment dollars from Haiti and Jamaica. LOL

Amazing how these Intnl organizations have no concern for Bahamians languishing in "unusual" circumstances in Fox Hill.

When the PM starts up in January im sure he has been advised there will likely be many more police cars turned over and set on fire than previously were on Kemp Road.

The trick for Minnis will be simply to not give up no matter what happens. If he stops forward motion this time theno no prime minister including him will EVER be able to convince the people that our military will support citizens.

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bogart 1 week, 4 days ago

As a sovereign state our Bahamaland has laws to govern our country which must be respected if we are to move forward as a nation. We do seek foreign investors and workers with legal procedures to follow a nd as much as we try to seek the cream that floats to the top we regretanly also attract other things that float to the top.

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