EDITOR, The Tribune.
STRANGER things have happened but yesterday in The House of Assembly a strange thing happened - it came the turn for the member for St Anne’s to speak ..... he prefixed his comment, all of maybe three minutes by saying there will be an announcement concerning Immigration and sat back down giving away for PM Hubert Minnis to make his statement, far from the usual summing up that the closing MP, usually the PM will do then the bombshell.
Illegal migrants have till December 31st, 2017 to get out - no explanation of process, no detail, what if you have an application for status what happens cold if you have no status so illegal get out or we are coming for you.
My thoughts quickly returned to the recent fury from PM Minnis alleging there was a cold unchristian attitude and perception in the country - remember the Dominica flap? Well what will the Christian Council have to say on this proclamation illegal migrants out by December 31st, 20l7 - 80 days time?
The migrant issue has been a cancer since the earliest of times but we have to remember there is not a single indigenous person who can trace their life back to the Taino - Arawak - Lucayan Indians so we are all migrants - why isn’t there more sensitivity? Where is the FNM’s ‘christian attitude’ that they, the FNM, pontificated just days ago after the Dominica hurricane issue?
Only Bahamas air flies to Haiti ... the ATR plane with a max of 70+ passengers - if there are say 20,000 illegal Haitians here that means one ATR has to make 277 flights or three-four flights a day till December 31st. Do the Haitians have the money? Honestly if I were in this qualifying group I would wait to be arrested and let the Treasury of The Bahamas pay for me to get back to Haiti - did the gurus of the OPM - Immigration think about what that cost would be?
What is serious in this announcement is why did the Minister with the Constitutional Portfolio and responsibility for Immigration, the MP for St Anne’s, did not say a word on the policy but left it to the PM who has no portfolio connected with Immigration? May It be better for the representative for St Anne’s to resign as it seems the PM is doing his job? He is redundant!
To the north of us the ‘dreamers’ as they are called, persons who are in the US illegally, know nowhere else than the US fight daily to save their status - the Haiti Government is pleading with the US to extend the deadline for Haitians to January, 2018 and there are some 20,000 involved in that exercise, probably about the same or less than we have.
Question also did the Minister for Foreign Affairs advise the Haitian Government prior to this announcement - has there been even a conversation?
Immigration be it under the PLP - FNM has been always a disaster - probably one of the most corrupt agencies of Government and infamous for abuse, gross inefficiency and refusal to comply where there is justification under The Constitution to grant legal status. Blood is on both the PLP and FNM hands .
What was surprising when PM Minnis announced this controversial policy one Government MP banged the table - ONE ... could not identify who but it was one who sat across from the front bench of the Ministers....was this a cabinet decision before the announcement? Did the rank and file MP’s know and agree to it? The public needs to know.
If you, MP for St Anne’s, are still the Minister constitutionally responsible for Immigration please enunciate the policy and how this will be managed and give us rough numbers as to how many persons, males/females/children are involved and what will be the cost if the illegals simply refuse to leave and the cost for repatriation falls on the Public Treasury? Last year you spent over $1 million in repatriation of some 2,000 I believe 10 times that is $10m!
From the ‘80’s we had an illegal migrant problem, I agree, but let’s be sensible and sensitive. You PM said we are heartless and unchristian - back at you, sir.
October 12, 2017.