Immigration Minister, Deputy Pm Looking At How To Fund Increased Repatriation Exercises


IMMIGRATION and Financial Services Minister Brent Symonette.


Tribune Staff Reporter


IMMIGRATION Minister Brent Symonette and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest are looking at how to fund the increased repatriation exercises that will come in response to Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis' goal of more stringently enforcing the country's immigration laws.

During his appearance on Guardian 96.5fm yesterday, Mr Symonette told host Quincy Parker that $1.4 million has already been allocated in the 2016/2017 budget for repatriation exercises.

However, "that figure if we are going to do (repatriating exercises) stringently, is going to go up," he said.

"The Deputy Prime Minister and I are in conversations at the moment about how we are going to fund this process and that's a work in progress so I don't want to go any further than that," he said.


Mr Symonette floated the possibility that work permit fees, which haven't been raised in years, may be raised to fund the increased repatriation activities.

During a wide-ranging interview on immigration, Mr Symonette reiterated his view that the administration will be humane in how it deals with people who may have run afoul of immigration laws.

In response to assertions from some that the Minnis Administration's new immigration policy is more a reflection of his wishes than Dr Minnis', he said: "The policy is a policy of the Prime Minister."

Mr Symonette also said that for people who have been in the country a long time, he would support a mass regularization type of process.

"I do a swearing in like I did last week," he said. "These people have been waiting 20, 33, some cases 40 years to be regularized. They have an entitlement as far as they are concerned to be regularized as a citizen of the commonwealth of the Bahamas. They feel frustrated, angry, whatever word you want to use. So if we're going to do a mass regularization of them, I see nothing wrong with that. If you been waiting in a country 20 years, you feel like you belong."

Mr Symonette highlighted the problem of fraudulent documents turned into the Department of Immigration, adding that foot printing may be necessary to address the issue.

As an example, he said: "There's one man who has citizenship and another man who was deported; they both have the same birth certificate; will the real John Doe please identify themselves? That is not unusual in the Department of Immigration. Many persons bring fraudulent documents. It's a common occurrence.

"Yes we have a lot of fraudulent documents coming to immigration from many nationalities. We have persons say they were born here, left the country, come back 27 years and claim to be that same person who was born here. Any of you who've had children recently, you get a delivery certificate from the hospital; when I was born the registrar came and sat in the hospital, looked at my mother and looked at me and said that's the same child (and then they) registered you right in the hospital; that doesn't happen now.

"You take your baby, you go down to another department and you register the baby. Who's to say that baby at year one is the same man or woman that comes back 27 years later? So we have to look going forward at possibly foot printing; it's an issue has been around for a long time but that's the facts of life."


TalRussell 1 year, 2 months ago

Comrade Immigration Minister Brent, in one breath you acknowledge the vastness of the forged documents presented for processing at the immigration department.... then you announce that the best and speediest way to make immigration applicants 'whole' - would be to conduct a 'mass regularization.' That is so sic.


bogart 1 year, 2 months ago

How come nobody get jailed yet? If these are the circumstances that exist now, what was the citcumstancrs of those who got straight?

No country is entitled to make ANY one a citizen if there are any doubts anf as a matter of constitutional fact the Bahamas can revoke citizenship. To lower your constitutional ethical standards to feel obligated and entitled to offer citizenships is not any single persons perogative. Follow the law.

Immigration is noones personal fiefdom. Such alarming revelations of fraudelent documrnts Should be of concern to Bahamian Secjurity and US Homeland Security and such breaches jeapordises our relations and privilaged travel relations which is a plus for our Tourism and Financial Services Business.

We need to really be a low tax destination and impose a low level of personal Income Tax to fund the requirement to protect our nation. To now say that we need to find ways to get the funding is bizzare. Implies that this and prevoous govts did not get the job done because of money?

Certainly looks like mistaken priioroties. Any Bahamian would have put the security of our beloved Bahamas to exist in first place as number one.

It was always nonsense asking the public notices for imput in replying to objections for those advertising and tjere is no photograph of that person.

Say what you want yo say about Donald Trump but I give him top marks for protecting his nation and indirectly our Bahamas. It is time we too must dp the same.


My2cents 1 year, 2 months ago

When have they ever considered "funding"; for anything? This sounds like an excuse to do nothing...as usual.


ThisIsOurs 1 year, 2 months ago

Why make an announcement that they gave to go or else, then come back and say we gave to see where we guh get the money for, or else???? Sigh...


Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 2 months ago

"I do a swearing in like I did last week," he {Symonette} said. "These people have been waiting 20, 33, some cases 40 years to be regularized. They have an entitlement as far as they are concerned to be regularized as a citizen of the commonwealth of the Bahamas. They feel frustrated, angry, whatever word you want to use. So if we're going to do a mass regularization of them, I see nothing wrong with that. If you been waiting in a country 20 years, you feel like you belong."


Brent Symonette is about as useless a Minister of Immigration as they come, just looking for any excuse possible not to do his vital job. The same was the case the last time he served as Minister of Immigration. His simple solution to our illegal migrant problem can be summed up as follows: "LET'S JUST REGULARIZE ALL OF THEM BECAUSE NOT DOING SO IS TOO DIFFICULT TO DO." Minnis should immediately remove Symonette from his cabinet post but I suspect it would be easier for Symonette (with the help of Carl Bethel) to remove the PM from his post...if you know what I mean.

It sure seems Minnis cannot get any respect whenever he imposes any kind of deadline. First we have the Chairman of the Public Disclosure Commission (Myles Laroda) claiming he could do nothing about verifying and enforcing Minnis's announced deadline for the filing of delinquent personal financial statement disclosures by current and former members of parliament because of some poppycock about a mould outbreak. And now we have Symonette saying he probably would not be able to do anything about Minnis's December 31 deadline for illegal migrants to leave our country because he, as Minister of Immigration, is just too overwhelmed by the problem to do his job. What a joke - Minnis just can't get any respect! That of course begs the question: "Just how in the hell does Minnis as PM expect to lead our government if he can't get any respect wherever he turns or whatever he says or does?!"


killemwitdakno 1 year, 2 months ago

Require self deportation. Have them check in frequently and report any change of address. Make them buy ankle bracelets. The return ticket has to be BahamasAir. Have sealarete facility for refugees and assyslum seekers that accepts fundraiser donations.


joeblow 1 year, 2 months ago

Confiscate all possessions of those here illegally, consider them proceeds of crime and auction them. Use funds to aid repatriation!


Socrates 1 year, 2 months ago

send the bill to the haitian gov't..they have a responsibility to stop these people from leaving in the first place...


bogart 1 year, 2 months ago

Given the horrendous infractions in many Ministries over such lengthy and continuing period it seems like officials are just playing musical chairs.

Instead of forming a Public Integrity committee to investigate officials who are likeky of having no integroty ....which might be no big deal.....should instead have a Commission of Inquirt with the power to hsve sopeanas served to bring in officials to testify and jail those found guilty.

Jail time is needed. Playing musical Chairs and playing Christopher Columbus after election is silly and an insult to peoples intelligence.

People vote out one group and as Branville McCartney says they are the same coin only to get the other group should be proof.

Hopefully Doc Minnis can break thic cycle especially as he is a CEO running the business of the people.


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