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Get Out: Minnis Gives Illegals Exit Deadline

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis speaks in the House of Assembly. Photo: Terrel W Carey/Tribune staff

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis speaks in the House of Assembly. Photo: Terrel W Carey/Tribune staff

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

ILLEGAL migrants in the Bahamas must leave the country by December 31, 2017, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis declared yesterday, as he warned an aggressive pursuit and deportation will be the fate of anyone who does not comply.

Speaking in the House of Assembly yesterday, the prime minister underscored that the deadline applied to all nationalities, adding that Bahamians and residents who also employ these illegal persons have the same timeline by which to either regularize them or cease employment. He stressed that people who employ illegal migrants after this time will be prosecuted, and implored Department of Immigration officials to execute their duties in a professional and humane manner.

“We must be a country that abides by the rule of law,” Dr Minnis said during the wrap up of a resolution thanking Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling for reading the Speech from Throne in May.

“Those migrants who are here illegally must leave by December 31, 2017. After which period they will be aggressively pursued and deported. This applies to all nationalities.

“Those Bahamians and residents who employ illegal migrants have until December 31, 2017 to regularise these individuals or to stop employing them.

“I implore Immigration Officers to execute their duties in a professional and humane manner.

“Those who illegally employ such migrants are legally liable and they will be prosecuted. We must be a country of law and order.”

Earlier in his address to Parliament, Dr Minnis said illegal migration was a “vexing” problem, which his administration intended to continually address.

He said emphasis would be placed on the process of granting and renewing work permits and visas.

“We will continue to process permanent residency applications for those who have legally been in The Bahamas for an extensive period of time, who have contributed to The Bahamas and satisfy the requirements.

“This is a fair and just course of action. We will also continue to grant citizenships to those who are legally entitled.”

“I don’t think people understand what it is like when you are legally entitled to citizenship but you do not have the proper documents.

“As others pointed out you cannot open a bank account you cannot travel. You have difficulty entering the university of the Bahamas to finish your education. You are faced with a no man’s land. Until you live it you don’t understand,” Dr Minnis said.

Last month, Dr Minnis said an independent board would be established to review applications for citizenship to ensure politicians are not able to abuse the process by which citizenship is granted.

In November 2014, the Christie administration faced fierce criticism over the introduction of a stricter immigration policy. It required every non-Bahamian to have a passport of his or her nationality among other things. Months later, the government said every child of foreign parents would need a student permit to attend school.

During his address to colleagues yesterday, Dr Minnis went on to suggest the Progressive Liberal Party had been the root cause of crime in the country. He said his administration intended to prosecute corrupt practises.

He said: “The Progressive Liberal Party has a complicated legacy. It led The Bahamas to majority rule and independence. It was once the compelling voice against forces who denied the dignity of the majority of our people.

“However, soon after taking power the PLP was seduced by the narcotic of unbridled power. They forgot that they ruled on behalf of the people. Deals were made to make PLPs rich. Policy was advanced to ensure PLP influence crept into every sector of our economy and society.

“The public service was stacked with political appointees who did not need to work in order to get ahead. Loyalty to ‘the chief’ was what was important. It did not matter if you came to your government job on time. It did not matter if you showed up at all. When you did turn up, you could run your own business out of the state’s offices. One could use government supplies and equipment at will. The PLP looked the other way. It was primarily concerned with getting rich. Many standards fell dramatically. Our culture was harmed.”

“Some of them got in bed with international drug traffickers who were allowed to set up shop on our islands shipping untold millions of dollars’ worth of poison to North America. Some of the poison stayed here bringing ruin to many young and promising Bahamians. Some PLPs got extremely rich in this illicit trade.

“The PLP at the highest levels turned a blind eye to this cauldron of drugs and corruption, and its devastating affect on our children, on our values and on our good name as a country.

“Many Bahamians developed the misguided view that hard work was not needed to succeed. Fast money was what was sought. Again, standards fell. Our culture was degraded. Much of our social fabric was ripped apart.’

“The party that was charged with making this nation great perverted it. Today our streets are violent. Our education standards are low. Corruption is a way of life for too many, especially those who have gotten away with their corrupt ways for decades.

“But this is a new day. My government will prosecute the corrupt,” the prime minister continued.

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 6 days, 7 hours ago

He {Minnis} said emphasis would be placed on the process of granting and renewing work permits and visas.

“We will continue to process permanent residency applications for those who have legally been in The Bahamas for an extensive period of time, who have contributed to The Bahamas and satisfy the requirements.

“This is a fair and just course of action. We will also continue to grant citizenships to those who are legally entitled.”

UNBELIEVABLE - MINNIS HAS JUST ANNOUNCED AMNESTY FOR ALL ILLEGAL MIGRANTS WHO GET REGULARIZED BY DECEMBER 31, 2017

Here we see Minnis deceitfully trying to appear to be taking a tough stance on illegal migrants as the 'new sheriff in town.' But anyone carefully listening to Minnis would quickly realize that what he has in fact done is instruct his Minister of Immigration to ensure that as many illegal 'migrants' as possible get regularized one way or another during an amnesty period that ends on December 31, 2017. Just think how many will get work permits who do not in fact have a bona fide employer, but rather an unscrupulous Bahamian who gets paid 'a little something' from the illegal migrant for pretending to be an employer. And worse still, think of the message this de facto amnesty sends to our illegal Haitian community. They will immediately be contacting their family members and friends back in Haiti to tell them now is the time to come to the Bahamas by any means possible to get regularized under this new amnesty program. Has Minnis lost his sanity? And to think we voters foolishly believed it was going to be "the Bahamian people's time" - come to find out it's really "the Haitian people's time!"

Oh, and by the way, no one gives Minnis the time of day when he "shoots-from-the-hip" with tough new sheriff talk about deadlines. We all remember the deadline he set for the contemptuous FNM and PLP members of parliament (both past and present) to regularize (file) their personal financial statement disclosures that by law should have long ago been made public. Yes indeed, we may have a 'new sheriff in town', but everyone seems to now know that his gun is either armed with blank bullets or with harmless water as in a toy water pistol !!

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ohdrap4 6 days, 6 hours ago

no, he has not announced amnesty.

some people see themselves in some sort of immigration limbo because, once the permit is approved, the permit is not paid for-- either the employer or the employee does not pay for it.-- those affected can regularize.

there are various paths in the law for permanent residency, but, it takes literally years for the applications to be processed, and, in the meantime employees, employers and even spouses of bahamians must bear the yearly cost of renewals and permits.

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DDK 6 days, 6 hours ago

At the speed our esteemed civil service works, you are worried? I think Doc needs a break here, perhaps even a round of applause!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 6 days, 6 hours ago

Brent Symonette was no doubt instructed by Minnis to make sure the Department of Immigration goes into robo-rubbing stamping mode. Let's not forget that that's precisely what Brent did himself to clear the backlog that he met on day one of unprocessed work and residency permit applications that had been submitted by his wealthy friends.

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DDK 6 days, 5 hours ago

Let's seriously hope he has more sense than that. The unemployment level in this country is at a dangerous high as it is and government services are rapidly failing.....

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Reality_Check 6 days, 5 hours ago

Sometimes I wonder if Minnis has any idea just how much money is being sucked out of our economy daily to be sent to others shores by illegal migrants and the numbers bosses.

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licks2 2 days, 7 hours ago

Oh brother. . .what a waste of time these DNAs dem are? Let the beat go on!!

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sheeprunner12 6 days, 7 hours ago

The Government is between a rock and a hard place ......... But something has to be done.

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MassExodus 6 days, 6 hours ago

Finally! Please make sure Abaco, Exuma, and Grand Bahama are also cleared of illegal immigrants!!!!!!

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ohdrap4 6 days, 6 hours ago

On February 28, 2015, the then minister of immigration set sail to catch illegal immigranst in Abaco. He never arrived.

https://thenassauguardian.com/2015/02/18/abaco-immigration-crackdown-within-60-days/

The illegal immigrants just cross the Bermuda Triangle alien portal and stay there for a few weeks.

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banker 6 days, 6 hours ago

How about getting government spending under control? That would impress me more.

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Reality_Check 6 days, 6 hours ago

Brent Symonette should never have been appointed a cabinet minister. Minnis will not get off lightly for this serious error in judgement. The same applies for Minnis's appointment of Carl Bethel as AG.

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Sickened 6 days, 6 hours ago

Yeah! No more shanty towns!!!

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John 6 days, 6 hours ago

The most difficult illegal immigrants are those who work in the 'sweat shops' or as modern slaves and are least mobile. These include Haitians. Jamaicans, Chinese, Filipinos, Cubans, Panaminans and others. They arrive into the country and are sent to their 'plantation', be it a house in Lyford Cay, a restaurant kitchen, the store room of a food store or wherever. They barely surface socially and their 'masters' have ways of avoiding immigration raids. They are usually only uncovered when someone decides to 'pimp them off', or when their employer (master) gets done or fed up with them and calls immigration to give them a free ride home.

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gkeato 6 days, 5 hours ago

The majority of these people have no citizenship in any country, what the percentage would be I have no idea, Does anyone else ?? So most of them cannot even leave this country because of travel requirements by Airlines who are responsible for selling the ticket to a bonafide traveler or travelers to enter a country with the appropriate documents. So that leaves them here with no exit possible. I cannot see an answer to this problem. Half of them may be born here? or more, if they were born in another country they would be made citizens of that country (even USA) if that rule was applied they would be Bahamians, thereby getting rid of 50% of the problem, I have no idea what happens with the remainder of these souls. They work here and buy goods here as it is impossible for them to leave, they are then part of the country's economy, they also do the work We will not do ourselves. A difficult problem,n'est ce pas?

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TalRussell 6 days, 5 hours ago

Comrades! I just don't know anymore? Given the record of Minnis himself as PM and official opposition leader – along his new team of crown ministers, it will take whole heaps Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Muslim, Anglicans/Episcopalians and Seventh-day Adventists faiths combined to believe anything Red?
Given that every single 2017 campaign promise made by the Red party have either been broken. ignored, tossed aside. modified to mirror the PLP’s agenda (or simply delayed as the Reds likes say ..... then shouldn’t Minnis’s fling with immigration get the close scrutiny it deserves…. besides, isn’t his immigration minister Brent operating under an open-door immigration policy that conflicts with that of his PM's get tough on immigration policy?
Do you really believe the Reds actually have a immigration bus within their fleet of vehicles, all gassed up ready to go roundup white immigrants for transporting to the immigration's detention center? { you just couldn't make this one up }.

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banker 6 days, 5 hours ago

it will take whole heaps Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Muslim, Anglicans/Episcopalians and Seventh-day Adventists faiths combined to believe anything Red?

Did you get the religion? You PLP fookers stole millions and lied with absolutely every piece of feces coming out of your mouth, and you have the temerity and audacity to call someone else a liar, when the perfidy of the PLP is obvious from the day of its inception?

I am convinced that PLP adherents are sub-human apes with the incredible developed facility to give swing to their fellow enlightened Bahamians.

I am aghast that you and birdie and the members of your litter have no cognitive dissonance in realising how the country got to this state by your loyalty to the criminal PLP gang. Y'all must be lying psychopaths -- that is the only explanation. There is not one shred of human goodness, altruism, patriotism and truth in your being.

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TalRussell 6 days, 4 hours ago

MY Dear Comrade Banker, why is you so roused up, when even Minnis's immigration minister Brent is now running to the media to try and explain what the hell the PM really meant. You'd thoughts the PM would have brungs Brent into his immigration loop before standing up in House? Brent is the same immigration who will have to process thousands new immigration applications using carbon copy paper to make duplicate copies? Brent has done thrown his hands up in air publicly complaining how he only has like 30 sheets old fashioned carbon paper left to process thousands applications and only in one size- 8 1/2 x 11 1/2. Brent is done 30 years behind in processing..... so now Minnis wants him "regularize" Bahamaland's immigration issues and get it all handled by January 1, 2018? { You can't make this stuff up and you know what happened the last time a government promised to "Regularize" something? }.
Amen to NOT 'Regularizing!

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bogart 6 days, 5 hours ago

Politically correct.

First Bahamiams getting let go by their own govt to save the country from economic collaspe.

The illegal business has or influenced many of the challenges we face.

Bizzare that the Haitian Ambassador was never summoned and given the ultimatum to control or invite his own people who are illegal to return. Mind you years ago he did give some 50,000 to help with the plane fares I believe.

Immediate focus should be placed on all those ads in the local papers asking the Bahamian Public to comment to the Bahamian Minister for citizenship WHEN THERE IS NO PICTURE OF THE PERSON versus A BANK WANTING YOU TO CASH A 20 DOLLAR CHEQUE ASKS FOR TWO PIECES OF PICTURE ID.,, SURELY OUR CITIZENSHIP IS WORTH MORE THAN 20 DOLLARS. QUITE HILARIOUS THAT FOR YEARS THE NEWSPAPER NOTICes SAYS THE PERSON IS LIVING IN SOME P.O. Box or living on Carmichael Road. Surely the govt should know that Carmichael Road is a very long road.

Disturbing this has been going on for how long and could possibly involve terrorists, criminals who have escaped jai, child molesters, military insurgents, bigamists, tonton macoute, fraudsters, bad persons using Haitii to pass through and such persons. When a local business informs the public that a employee no longer works there they put a picture of that person or they would get laughed outta town.

An investigation audit must slso follow as to how some got their papers and persons found to be engaged in fraud jailed. The banking system must be checked to verify who is still on a valid work permit as the permits are renewed or not yearly otherwise who knows where those funds are coming from.

The financial drain of some 100 million dollars annually from our money supply being sent back must be investihayed. 100 million from staying here and developing our Bahamas is significant..

The pipeline must be closed. A proper Sociological Study must be done to anslyze the effects of a culturally, linguistically and socially different group within an english speaking culturally and socially different Bahamian group.

Our Beloved Bahamas is in danger of being colonized by Haitians. Our laws must be respected.

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banker 6 days, 5 hours ago

The way to shut down illegals working here, is to shut down Omni Money Transfer who does a rip-roaring business of sending dollars by illegals to Haitians. I used to see them on Fredrick Street by the money transfer office, waiting for a "friend" with a work permit and central bank permission to send money to Haiti. The legals would get handed money, they would take their share, and go into the office to send it on to Haiti. Shut off the supply of money and you shut off the desirability of having illegals.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 6 days, 4 hours ago

Here's what really needs to be done to put an end once and for all to most of our problems arising from illegal migrants -

Repost: If Haiti refuses to accept our deportation of illegal Haitian migrants (including their children born in the Bahamas) then we should cease all diplomatic relations with Haiti and request that their embassy personnel immediately leave the Bahamas. At the same time, our Ministry of Immigration should give 6 months notice to Haiti that the Bahamas will be revoking all work permits held by Haitian nationals and will begin rounding up for detention all Haitians who will then have no right to reside in our country, if they themselves or the Haitian government have not made arrangements for their repatriation back to Haiti. As for preventing future illegal migrants from Haiti, The Central Bank of The Bahamas, in concert with our Ministry of Finance, should order all banks and other financial institutions operating in the Bahamas (as well as the gaming web shops) to immediately cease all currency transactions and international money transfers to financial institutions in Haiti and South Florida involving Haitian nationals unless prior written consent is received directly from The Central Bank of The Bahamas. Bahamas Immigration officials at all ports of departure (land and sea) for travel to Haiti and South Florida destinations should be instructed to undertake a rigorous search of all Haitian passengers and suspected non-Haitian currency mules for cold cash in currencies other than the Bahamian dollar being illegally carried out of the Bahamas for the benefit of illegal Haitian migrants and their family members back in Haiti. Introducing these harsh but necessary measures would put an end to our Haitian illegal migrant problem and help build our foreign currency reserves. It is high time we get truly serious about protecting our sovereignty, cultural identity and economy from the ravaging effects of unchecked Haitian illegal migrants. If we are to survive as a nation, we must do whatever we can to fight the scourge of illegal migrants that has for decades now been eating us alive from within like a deadly cancer. As heartless as it may sound, we must turn a deaf ear to the many sob stories pushed to us time and time again by those who do not have the interest of lower income Bahamians at heart, and this includes the Haitian government itself. These are the types of actions Brent Symonette and his fellow cabinet ministers should be considering as a matter of great urgency.

And essentially the same approach should be taken to dealing with our growing Jamaican illegal migrant problem. It must be recognized though that those Jamaicans who already have resident status in the Bahamas are much more cunning and manipulative in how they deal with corrupt persons working at our Department of Immigration for the purpose of helping their 'illegal' Jamaican friends and family members get status 'through the back door'.

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TheMadHatter 5 days, 21 hours ago

Good ideas - but I think Bahamians would simply prefer to die as a culture and as a people first. We all want to die and give our country to other "needy" people. Hopefully we will still exist in some history books in 2030.

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John 6 days, 4 hours ago

Sounds really dumb! Extremely absurd! Ignorant even! If you break diplomatic ties with a country whose residents are invading your boarders then what do you do with the (illegal) immigrants? What much else does The Bahamas have to offer Haiti, except as a refuge for migrants fleeing that country and/or a transit for those wanting to go on to the USA or Canada? So how will breaking diplomatic ties with that impoverished country hurt them or benefit us? (i'll wait). So now you want to shut the door on diplomacy meaning that those Haitians who come here cannot be returned. SMT

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Reality_Check 6 days, 4 hours ago

@John, the issues going on in that head of yours once again cloud your ability to appreciate the bigger picture. The Government of Haiti effectively shut the diplomacy door on us many moons ago when it realized the extent of the hard currency inflows to its country that were coming from the Bahamas. I would venture to say more than half of the Haitian illegal migrants in the Bahamas were trying to get to Florida when they were intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard or our Defense Force and most of them would still welcome going there. And most of the remaining Haitian illegal migrants would be similarly inclined to end up in Florida if they knew they would no longer be able to get hard currency back to Haiti from the Bahamas. If this situation is leveraged properly by us with the U.S. Government, we can let the U.S. Government with all its diplomatic might deal with the Haitian government to get these illegal migrants back to Haiti lest they end up in Florida, perhaps with a little help from us in pointing out the direction to Miami. Enough said.

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TalRussell 6 days, 3 hours ago

Comrades! What time is it? Time Her Excellency, the Governor General to use her Royal Authority to fire this PM and dismiss the entire Red Cabinet!
It's not just PM Minnis and his deputy KP - cause Crown Ministers Jeff, Marvin, Carl, Desmond, Renward and Dionisio, have equally been massively devoted to talking complete nonsense's when speaking out with no clear set direction where their ministries are heading. This is the same Red party that became such a major disappointment as the official opposition party..... so bad that their Leader got fired by Her Excellency Dame Marguerite.
Comrade Minnis, you is one lucky PM that you are not having to face-off in the House against an official opposition leader's wildfire tongue of one Perry Christie!
Amen!

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yari 6 days, 2 hours ago

This headline Tribune. Really? You want to spark divisiveness and antagonize certain elements. He said:'Those migrants who are here illegally must leave by December 31, 2017'. That is not the same thing. You need real journalists and not persons seeking to create drama and dissent. Migrants with no legal status have no leg to stand on and can be jailed and or deported because illegal entry or overstaying your time in a foreign country are criminal offences. The Bahamas should also consider revising their constitution to discourage illegals from having children here with the aim of them becoming Bahamians by removing the provision for their children to apply for citizenship at age eighteen and limit this privilege to the children of parents with legal status.

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Reality_Check 5 days, 22 hours ago

The last point you make is an excellent one.

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sheeprunner12 6 days, 2 hours ago

How many files sit in Immigration Head Office to be processed .......... that is Problem 1.

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OldFort2012 6 days, 2 hours ago

Pointless commenting. December 31st will come and go. Nothing will have changed. Business as usual.

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TalRussell 6 days, 1 hour ago

Comrades! Considering the man's with the long white beard, has never held a work permit - there's no telling if such immigration confusion might result in Santa Clause's Christmas Eve appearance being cancelled by Comrade Nick - due to a lack of a clear Red immigration policy during Bahamaland's very busy month December? Comrade "King's Counsel" Freddyt, could very well be taking on a new illegal immigrant client, come December?

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Maynergy 5 days, 23 hours ago

The perpetual and continuation of appointing (one) 1 person to multiple assignments, as AMBASSADORS AND HIGH COMMISSIONERS OR PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE to a global organization, country or entity has to be discontinued immediately. There are many nationals from all over the country of the Bahamas that earned such assignments consideration. Besides the cost to the national treasury is great, particularly, once the many variables are looked at: Education, Transportation, Security, Housing/Accommodation, etc. Perhaps the country could now begin to advance the national identity of entrepreneurial growth and commerce with a welcoming arm to all peace loving people from the globe.

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BaronInvest 5 days, 18 hours ago

Wow... so happy I left this country... I'd rather burn a million dollar or two in a furnace than putting it in Dumbo Nation. Such a beautiful place unfortunately owned by racist and uneducated fools.

Your immigration approval process takes longer than a year - and that's with bribing immigration officers...

News like these set the tone for foreigners like me who could bring a few million dollars your nation.

And then the amount of stupidity - almost like Bahamians dont know that through immigration there are always more jobs created than people are actually coming to your nation. Just fooking google it...

In my country - germany - we invited Syrians. Over 800.000 foreigners who migrated to Germany created 1.2 million jobs in 2014

The US became the biggest economy in the world - it's a nation of immigrants.

http://insights.som.yale.edu/insights/does-immigration-create-jobs

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Reality_Check 5 days, 14 hours ago

Be careful. Yale University, like most of the other Ivy League Schools, is an incubator par excellence of the world's most liberally minded - those who are most vulnerable to being controlled by the so called 'Elitist Globalists' and proponents of 'The New World Order' - better known as 'The 0.001%'.

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sheeprunner12 5 days, 11 hours ago

Well ... Well .......... Look at what welfare, immigration, integration, EU, and liberalism has gotten for Europe ........... As a Bahamian, I prefer my country and island community ......... Germany may be a "big dog" but it comes at the price of others........... Set a bad example for the impressionable Americans.

swastikanation

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SP 5 days, 9 hours ago

PM Sheriff Minnis recent HOA exposé has left steaming heaps of hog poop on everybody's faces that have been burning up the media complaining about his supposed lack of action and plans!

Lol...You people ALL exposed your bias tribal party colors and really look pretty stupid now....Lol...losers!

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bogart 5 days, 5 hours ago

Our Bahamas is a country of laws, a sovereign nation. Yes we are a third world nation not industtialized as many requiring a large unskilled labour force as do many industrialized countries. When we do require and obtain migrant lsbour we do so in an internationally accepted level for at least the past 72 years. We are a small nation and unchecked and mass build ups of illegal migrant population are a security, economic and socio economic concerrn.

A full comprehension of the titled story is to give a humane and caring way for those who invaded our country to leave.

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bogart 5 days, 4 hours ago

Perhaps our PM can take the lead and in concert with all the sirrounding nations where Haitians have fled and impose economic and other concerns come up with sanctions or other measures to get the Haitian govt to do better.

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sheeprunner12 4 days, 8 hours ago

Haiti has come a long way in 20 years ........ they have to get access to the billions of gold in their mountains to progress.

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licks2 2 days, 6 hours ago

You mean the gold that the USA spent from 1915 to when they left in 1965 or so? Haiti had gold. . .France and USA done "tooken" it from them long long time chile!

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