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'Disappointing' If Jean Rony Deported

A prayer vigil for Jean Rony Jean-Charles held yesterday.

A prayer vigil for Jean Rony Jean-Charles held yesterday.

By Sancheska Dorsett

PEOPLE who are born in The Bahamas to undocumented foreign parents are “not usually” deported, according to Immigration Minister Brent Symonette, who said he would be “disappointed” if this practice was being carried out.

Mr Symonette, however, stressed that under Bahamian law if a person is born in The Bahamas to parents who are not legal residents they would not qualify for automatic citizenship but rather have the right to apply to receive it at age 18.

His comments come days after Director of Immigration William Pratt told The Tribune Jean Rony Jean-Charles, who relatives said was born and raised in The Bahamas to Haitian parents, has been flown to Haiti.

Mr Pratt said Mr Jean-Charles was sent to Port au Prince, Haiti on November 24 after not being able to prove he was in the country legally.

Last week, the Supreme Court gave the government until December 19 to produce Mr Jean-Charles and provide evidence justifying his detention or be held in contempt of court.

Mr Jean Charles is being represented by Fred Smith, QC.

Mr Symonette said yesterday he will not comment on Mr Jean-Charles’ matter directly because it was before the courts, but said Mr Smith has “at least eight writs in court” because he has “an issue” with the Detention Centre.

“Mr Smith’s contention is that the Detention Centre is illegal,” Mr Symonette said.

“The Bahamas has the right to protect its borders and remove illegal migrants out of the Bahamas, like any country in the world. If you enter the country illegally you cannot expect to stay. You can only stay with permission from (the Department of) Immigration. If you are born in the Bahamas to illegal parents, you have the right at age 18 to apply. You are not a Bahamian. That is what everyone is missing.

“Now, we do not normally deport these people, that is why this case is interesting and I will be disappointed if that is what happened.”

Last Tuesday, the family of Mr Jean-Charles said they were unsure whether he was “alive or dead” or was “illegally deported” after allegedly not being allowed to speak to him or visit him in nearly three weeks.

In an emotional interview, Clotilda Jean-Charles, 36, told The Tribune she only wants to know what happened to her brother but no one at the Detention Centre or the Department of Immigration will give her answers.

Ms Jean-Charles said her brother was taken into custody by immigration officers during a raid on September 15.

Despite immigration officials saying Mr Jean-Charles was repatriated, representatives from the Haitian Embassy told The Tribune they have no record of Mr Jean-Charles being repatriated.

When contacted Kerl Chatelier, first secretary of the Haitian Embassy, said when the Immigration Department is sending suspected illegal immigrants back to Haiti his embassy is notified of the individuals involved.

“In the case of Jean Rony Jean–Charles, we don’t know anything about him. His name is not on the list,” said Mr Chatelier.

Yesterday, advocacy group Rights Bahamas and relatives of Mr Jean-Charles held a prayer vigil in the Ft Charlotte area, hoping for his safe return to the Bahamas.

Comments

DonAnthony 1 month, 1 week ago

Absolutely unbelievable. Minister Symonette should resign and absent this the Prime Minister should fire him for incompetence. If this man was deported over two weeks ago how can he say publicly “Now, we do not normally deport these people, that is why this case is interesting and I will be disappointed if that is what happened.”

How as minister does he STILL not know what happened to this man and where he is? Heads need to roll, someone has to be held accountable for this incompetence. Otherwise nothing will ever improve with no accountability.

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DDK 1 month, 1 week ago

Was the man in question not over 18? I believe The Tribune reported his age as 34 which would have given him SIXTEEN years to have made application to reside legally in The Bahamas. Either The Immigration Department is TERRIBLY incompetent for not having records of his application and approval, or he never applied, in which case he is ILLEGAL and NOT ENTITLED TO BE IN THE BAHAMAS!

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ohdrap4 1 month, 1 week ago

actually the immigration department is terribly incompetent.

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Chucky 1 month, 1 week ago

are you crazy, I know of at least 10 cases like this where immigration runs these guys around of more than 10 years. forcing them to buy work permits, leaving them with incomplete status and unable to travel.

Lets be honest here, our immigration department is awful, and they all deliberately make peoples lives miserable. They immigration department is an example of the dog wagging the tail in this country, they do next to nothing, and nothing on schedule.

We should deport all the immigration employees (aka scum of the Bahamas) .

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DDK 1 month, 1 week ago

Either The Immigration Department is TERRIBLY incompetent for not having records of his application and approval

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jackbnimble 1 month, 1 week ago

"If you are born in the Bahamas to illegal parents, you have the right at age 18 to apply. You are not a Bahamian. That is what everyone is missing.

Now, we do not normally deport these people, that is why this case is interesting and I will be disappointed if that is what happened.”

If they are born in the Bahamas to ILLEGAL PARENTS we understand that they have the right to apply, but do they have the right to stay? I guess they cannot apply from anywhere else in the world, then? Please clarify.

So if you do not apply, does that still make you legal because you're running around town with no papers and just waiving a birth certificate all while touting your right to apply for citizenship and daring them to deport you, which is what I think happened in this case.

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sheeprunner12 1 month, 1 week ago

If he was born in The Bahamas to illegal (Haitian) immigrants ........ in what Constitution does it permit him to be a Bahamian?????? ....... That person is automatically a Haitian citizen based on the Haitian Constitution .......... He is free to apply, but that is all he is entitled to.

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jackbnimble 1 month, 1 week ago

Sheep, this is what my above comment says. He clearly never applied but is holding the (questionable) birth certificate up as like a passport that makes him Bahamian and gives him a right not to be deported.

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yari 1 month, 1 week ago

You took the thoughts out of my head before I put them in words. :)

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TalRussell 1 month, 1 week ago

Comrade Minister Brent, long been the contention that the Detention Centre is illegal. Minister, where in law can you point to it be lawful? If a detained individual walks away from the detention centre under what law can they be charged and what court would appeal court would allow such a conviction to stand on such a Fake made up charge? The learned King's Counsel should sue shut that damn unconstitutional hellhole.

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jackbnimble 1 month, 1 week ago

I agree. It's not legal. If the Bahamas signed on to any Human Rights conventions (and I suspect we have) we have agreed that all persons on our soil (whether legal or illegal) have the right to be read their rights immediately upon being arrested, the right to attorney and the right to a fair trial for any crime they are accused of committing (among other things). I suspect, that these rights have been overlooked because of the large number of undocumented immigrants that are entering our country illegally. To haul them before a court and give them "due process" would be a nightmare just because of the sheer numbers and baring in mind the current backlog of cases our courts currently have.

Perhaps they should just create an immigration court/tribunal to deal specifically with immigration matters.

If Freddy is successful in any of his current cases for illegal deportation, it will force us to deal with these matters the proper way.

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TalRussell 1 month, 1 week ago

Comrade Jack be Nimble, the government tooks track land and built outbuilding, fenced it in, and manned it armed guards .....but they never made it lawful.
If Jack b Nimble be quick on his feet, Jack be Nimble jump over da detention centre fence, Jack be Nimble he be gone free and he now legal like an freed eagle.

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birdiestrachan 1 month, 1 week ago

They including the relatives know where this man is. The show boat master is at the top of his game. I do hope that Johnson and Gibson did not miss this photo opportunity so that they can show themselves worthy of their Master's praise.

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My2cents 1 month, 1 week ago

@TalRussell Since the detention center is illegal, perhaps they should be subjected to the much harsher, more inhumane conditions of Fox Hill and live among hardened criminals as they wait months, like incarcerated Bahamians, to be charged?

The detention center was obviously created to separate these "victimless" criminals (aka economic refugees) from others, maintain some dignity for them and provide expedited reparation rather than a long drawn out process with the same outcome. Since it's failing on those counts, it seems like fox hill would be the only alternative. Maybe then, some concern would be shown for the other prisoners as well.

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jusscool 1 month, 1 week ago

And the other option 2Cents is to be deported back to the land of your birthright. Living freely to do what ever your heart desire!

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TalRussell 1 month, 1 week ago

ComradeMy2cents, I have blunt message for you. The state is acting more like the 'coddle-in-Chief' over detainees at the immigration detention (jail) centre. You should volunteer spend few months of days and long nights locked up out there.

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My2cents 1 month, 1 week ago

Why? I obey the law for a reason.

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sheeprunner12 1 month, 1 week ago

When a person who was the child of an illegal single mother or two illegal immigrants turns 5 it must show up to a school to begin its education ....... then for 12 years, it will go through school (taking national exams) ....... then it turns 18, and then we expect it to then apply for citizenship.

This legal process (based on The Constitution-Article 7) does not make much sense to begin with ........ and that is why we have 40,000 "stateless" persons (by choice) in our country today ....... a social crisis.

We cannot be here continuously flip-flopping over UN and Amnesty ........ Enforce or Amend the SUPREME LAW.

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DDK 1 month, 1 week ago

TOTALLY AGREE WITH ALL THREE PARAGRAPHS. So many of our rules and regulations make no sense whatsoever, but it seems easier to just leave them be. If our elected Government officials would stay home in the Bahamas for a change, instead of flying off to all points of the globe, maybe they could actually rectify some of the mess successive governments allow our country and its citizens to waddle in. There are countless scores of civil servants who could be called on to assist. Of course, that would mean some actual hard work on the part of all concerned.............

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bogart 1 month, 1 week ago

Fully agree. We cannot sign international agreements to give each child legal or illegal an education and wait until 18 and expect that their foreign parents here illegally will be ducking the law and working to provide for the child until 18 to apply. Or enforce the other law we have on harbouring an illegal person. Officials need to be fired for incompetance or whoever is benefitting be charged with that big word they been using like malfleasance so they could be elected knowing big words. Laws are there to be followed like having to be outside the country to apply to the govt so that if refused noone can disappear etc. We need politicians with the same robust voices about what they are going to do when dey gets elected instead of getting elected and falling asleep. Or enact the legislation to recall the MP(s) and let the people take it from there. Admired the position of our PM to be without a ministry so as CEO which should really be CEO and fire people and its time that all laws and Ministries be coordinated to straigthen up an fly straight and with 35 MP that should be done fact.

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TalRussell 1 month, 1 week ago

Comrades, whatever happen to the dictate part of the constitution for the PROTECTION OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS OF THE INDIVIDUAL that,
* ANY (NATIVE OR FOREIGNER) person who is arrested or detained shall be informed as soon as is reasonably practicable, 'IN a LANGUAGE that he UNDERSTANDS,' of the reason for his arrest or detention and shall be permitted, at his own expense, to retain and instruct without delay a legal representative of his own choice and to hold private communication with him; and in the case of a person who has not attained the age of eighteen years he shall also be afforded a reasonable opportunity for communication with his parent or guardian. (3) Any person who is arrested or detained in such a case as is mentioned in sub-paragraph (1)(c) or (d) of this Article and who is not released shall be brought without undue delay before a court; and if any person arrested or detained in such a case as is mentioned in the said sub-paragraph (1)(d) is not tried within a reasonable time he shall (without prejudice to any further proceedings that may be brought against him) be released either unconditionally or upon reasonably necessary to ensure that he appears at a later date for trial of for proceedings preliminary to trial.

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jamaicaproud 1 month, 1 week ago

Geez, Nazism in the western hemisphere. People referring to other humans as "it"

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jusscool 1 month, 1 week ago

Was it the entire group or just one person?

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sheeprunner12 1 month, 1 week ago

I thought you were on Christmas break ........ Go eat your bun and cheese and drink your sorrel

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jamaicaproud 1 month, 1 week ago

LOL I am glad you know we aint starving. May God be praised.

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My2cents 1 month, 1 week ago

Agreed. The way "criminal" deportees and the lgbt community are treated in Jamaica is pretty close to ethnic cleansing. shameful.

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jamaicaproud 1 month, 1 week ago

KMT. I an being respectful, but like I said, I am not in favor of people coming on boats and setting up shanty towns. However, this is more than that, its rampant reckless, useless hatred. You people are not the Jews, or like the Jews. You are not a pure race, just a collection of Negro's like the rest of us. In fact, this collection in the Bahamas is less distinct than anywhere in the Caribbean. Ok, you have a right to your country, but being a Bahamian is not some sort of super identity.

The main reason my country declined is because we sat back and allowed what your authorities are doing, giving them free reign. It started with the persecution of Rastas. This till their power increased and they now can abuse the population. Abuse the Haitians and "illegals" who are born on your shores and one day that Governmental power will be unleashed against the so-called Bahamians. So the issue here is not insults, its about due process and Human Rights.

You obviously don't know anything about Jamaica as it full of "batty men", well not full, but they exist. As for these deportees, Is your cousin one of them?

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My2cents 1 month, 1 week ago

I am just calling out your hypocrisy, and Jamaica as an example to follow. Being Bahamian is no more a super identity than being Jamaican. But that didn't stop you from suggesting the Bahamas follow Jamaica's lead on human rights...which is laughable. Jamaica as a cautionary tale, is more honest.

How many deaths of Haitians of any illegals by the hands of Bahamians in order to achieve a "pure" race have you heard to support your ridiculous comment? The Bahamas has never settled its internal issues through violence...this is something Jamicans can learn from us. You don't treat deportees, or lgbt people as your equals, and they are in constant fear for their lives...this is a fact. And it's only been a few years since you stopped your annual riots in the streets. Or is that still going on? Fix Jamaicas discriminatory issues and human rights violations first, then maybe you'll be in a position to be condescending.

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sheeprunner12 1 month, 1 week ago

The Bahamas cannot sustain this migrant "invasion" ........ every year, 3,000 to 5,000 migrants are repatriated and the Bahamian government bears over 90% of this cost ....... This is only the direct cost ....... When you add the cost to national security, social services and welfare, the cost is easily doubled .......... That is precious government resources that we can use to pay off debt or improve infrastructure etc.

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bogart 1 month, 1 week ago

Shantytown pollution, latrines directly into well water, excrement visible, animals wandering, possibe source of any dangerous diseases. Unlicenced business activity small convenience shops etc. Millions of US currency repatriated out of the Bahamas. Cheap source of illegal labour gives false equilibrium for supply and demand of labour pushing down true wage as living expenses in shanty differs from regular Bahamian. We are fighting for our survival as Bahamians and successive govts have proven unable to stem the tide and as we write more illegals keep landing. There is no way that illegals should be breaching our national borders and even worse landing and running in the bushes and disappearing while their supportrs are informing persons they do not have to carry any identofication. We need to find out how Long Island have been so successfull in protecting Long Island.

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sheeprunner12 1 month, 1 week ago

Bogart ........ We work for ourselves, we fish for ourselves, we farm for ourselves, we clean for ourselves, we do not let illegals onto our shores, we love our God, country and island ......... We are true and patriotic Bahamians.

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bogart 1 month, 1 week ago

Excellent qualities. Love the excellent education results.

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TalRussell 1 month, 1 week ago

Comrades you're the company owner or their manager and standing in front you looking for a job is a grown up that clearly looks be 30 years or older and you ask them how long they've been paying into national insurance and they respond with in bad English - what is national insurance? If you hire that person without demanding more proof their immigration status - you and your company should deserve be fined $5000 each for every illegal found on premises and that's only for the first offense. The second offense you and the company owners get automatic free bus tickets to Fox Hill for a 6 months stay. Just watch Bahamaland's population to decline to 188,731,000 {including woman's and children's?}

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Emac 1 month, 1 week ago

If the government does not fix this problem quickly, there will be civil unrest! If you peruse social media, you will see that scores of Bahamians are becoming angry to the point where some are even blurting out racial scores. While I do not condone putting down others, I understand that Bahamians are fed up. We've been placed on the back burner for far too long. It appears as if every other nationality is benefiting from the Bahamas while Bahamians foot the bill and are made to follow the rules of the land. Simply start by breaking down the fucking shanty towns, then enforce the law. Remove Brent Symonette from the post as immigration minister, because he is obviously out of touch. The majority of Bahamians simply DO NOT Support Article 7 of the Constitution. Bring the referendum to the people and let's fix this problem once and for all! This government must stop playing with our future and do the right thing!

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Cas0072 1 month ago

It is very disgusting that the Minister of Immigration finds it disappointing that the law was upheld. Either way, if he did not apply for citizenship at eighteen or was unable to prove that he was born in the Bahamas the correct course of action would be deportation. Does he not believe in upholding the law?

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sheeprunner12 1 month ago

If the Constitution says that a child of undocumented migrants has ONE year to apply for citizenship ........ how can you justify a 34 year old man living in this country with NO documents except a "birth certificate"???????

Why are we afraid of enforcing the Constitution??????

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