Immigration Free 'Writ' Detainees

By Rashad Rolle

OFFICIALS at the Department of Immigration have released two men from custody who filed legal applications in the Supreme Court last week questioning the lawfulness of their recent detention at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre.

One of the men, a Jamaican barber married to a Bahamian woman, has a spousal permit and was in the midst of cutting a client’s hair when he was abruptly apprehended, according to his lawyer Fred Smith.

The man, Ricardo Johnson, had to leave his client’s hair unfinished, Mr Smith, QC, said.

Mr Johnson was released from the Detention Centre Friday evening, the day after his habeas corpus application was filed in court. 

But Mr Smith said when he first served officials with a writ from the court, he was told they had no record of his client being there.

Later, upon his insistence, they “produced Mr Johnson and simply released him into” his custody, he said.

In a statement to The Tribune yesterday, Mr Smith said: “Apparently there was no official record or reason of Mr Johnson’s arrest or detention. This must be a matter of grave concern to everybody in this nation that the immigration authorities can behave this way with impunity. I once again call on Minister (of Immigration Brent) Symonette to hold the Immigration Department accountable for their actions. While Mr Johnson is very grateful that he was immediately released upon presentation of the writ, it is shocking that the immigration (officials) are not even making an effort to justify the lawfulness of the detention… I call on the government to stop these arbitrary and illegal detentions.”

Regional Raymonvil, a 31-year-old born in the Bahamas to non-Bahamian parents, was in possession of his Haitian passport and application forms when he was arrested in Grand Bahama on November 29, his affidavit claimed. 

He was released from custody last week Thursday, the same day the Supreme Court gave him permission to issue a writ of habeas corpus. He too is represented by Mr Smith. 

Mr Raymonvil is “yet another person born in the Bahamas and entitled to be registered as a citizen under the Constitution,” Mr Smith said. “He is a citizen in waiting, as are thousands of others. Despite this he was falsely arrested and falsely imprisoned . . . I am shocked that despite Minister [Brent] Symonette’s assurances that no person born in the Bahamas will be deported, immigration continue to illegally arrest and detain persons born in the Bahamas.”

Immigration controversies have dominated headlines in recent weeks as Mr Smith crusades against “illegal immigration procedures.” 

A particularly high-profile case involves Jean Rony Jean-Charles, whose whereabouts are now the subject of court proceedings.

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

Immigration officials have said Mr Jean-Charles has been repatriated to Haiti. His family has said Mr Jean-Charles was born in the Bahamas to non-Bahamian parents and has no ties to Haiti. 


rawbahamian 2 years, 2 months ago

Yes Mr. Smith, let's legalize ALL of the illegal Haitians so that they can export our economy back to their homeland then you can move there to continue your fight for their rights because that's where our money will be !!!


CatIslandBoy 2 years, 2 months ago

This Immigration Department needs to be reined in, and maybe Director Pratt need to be retired. We need a new Director who will enforce the immigration laws of our country, while showing some basic regards for the civil and human rights of those who flaunt these laws. There is nothing too difficult in treating violators, and their attorneys, with decency and respect, while still doing and effective job. Pratt may not be able to lead this initiative.


TheMadHatter 2 years, 2 months ago

For God's sake stop picking on these poor illegal migrants. People should be free to travel and live wherever they wish. Bahamians are able to purchase 5 year residency permits with the right to work in Haiti for only $100 per year, so why do we deny the same right to them here? Fair is fair and i call upon the Haitian government to freeze the issuance of any new permits to Bahamians until justice is done.


jamaicaproud 2 years, 2 months ago

LOL. Are you a satirist? Anywa, truth be told, there is a lot of money to be made in HAITI, if you can invest. The geography of the Bahamas makes it difficult to stop these sloops. Inagua is so close to Haiti and Cuba. Its hard for a small Island Nation to Patrol so many thousand square miles of sea.


sheeprunner12 2 years, 2 months ago

I agree ......... and lets us travel freely to Jamaica and sell bag juice downtown Kingston for JM$50 ........ and make a killing to send back to our families in The Bahamas ........... This is just a ridiculous affair with illegals demanding that they be given Bahamian citizenship after living here illegally for 18 years.


jamaicaproud 2 years, 2 months ago

Yah man, you are welcome. Why not get in the bag juice business, in New Providence? Its lucrative, hot climate.


birdiestrachan 2 years, 2 months ago

The outspoken QC has the hands of the Immigration tied. It is interesting that Cat Island boy disrespects the hard working Mr. Pratt and other members of the Immigration department and sees no faults in the outspoken QC who has contributed nothing to the Bahamas or its people, He has called Bahamians everything but Children of God and he has tried to bring disrespect to the Bahamas. ever chance he gets.

That is what one gets when they accept undisclosed donations. Sold for thirty pieces of silver.


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