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Immigration Policy's Impact On Public Services A 'Serious Threat' To National Security

Jeff Lloyd, Minister of Education. Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff

Jeff Lloyd, Minister of Education. Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

POINTING to a "decided drop" in school enrolment over the last three years, Education Minister Jeff Lloyd yesterday stressed that the impact of the country's immigration policy on public services had the potential of creating "fatal" consequences, and a serious threat to the country's national security.

Mr Lloyd said the government intended to review the policy's impact on access to education with urgent and immediate advisory at next week's Cabinet meeting, suggesting that a new policy or amendment was on the horizon.

He acknowledged that the impact of the policy introduced in November 2014 on school registration, contravened both the domestic Education Act and the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

"This has obviously been a very sensitive and emotionally wrought issue," said Mr Lloyd as a guest on Guardian radio talk show Real Talk Live with host Carlton Smith.

"Our Education Act is very clear, the act prescribes that the Minister of Education shall provide all persons in the Bahamas an opportunity to receive an education. That's the Act, that's the law, all persons.

He continued: "Now let me take this outside of the law for the moment and speak to a cosmological, sociological, philosophical understanding that our Bahamian people need to have. It would be fatal and a threat to our national security, and I don't mince my words.

"It would be fatal and a serious threat to our national security for us to have any group of people in our country, particularly young persons of school age who are resident in this country, who are likely to remain resident in this country, who do not benefit from our own sociological and cultural conditioning, it would be fatal."

Mr Lloyd said: "I cannot be serious about this more than I am right now, and I know that we need to have an adult conversation and Bahamian people have got to grow up and understand."

The November 2014 policy mandates that every person living in the Bahamas has a passport of their nationality with proof to legally reside in this country, among other restrictions, like the requirement for every foreign person enrolled in schools, including children born in The Bahamas to immigrants, to have a student permit.

Although the policy was introduced in November 2014, the restrictions did not come into effect until the Fall 2015 school semester.

"It's in contravention of the law," Mr Lloyd continued, "that's the policy as it stands today, until the Cabinet of the Bahamas decides otherwise that is the policy. I have to be directed by the Cabinet and the Cabinet of course is taking this right now under urgent and immediate advisory and discussion, and will come forth with a policy."

Mr Lloyd said he fully understood the the anger and anxiety many Bahamian parents hold concerning overcrowding in schools, which he admitted were "bursting at the seams".

He said he sympathized with parents in certain communities who are unable to register their children in the area's schools because they were full.

"The parents, they surmise that [schools] are full with illegal children or children of illegal immigrants have gone in and taken up the spaces that should rightfully be reserved for Bahamians.

"I understand the emotions that run on this, I understand the anger, I understand all of that," he said.

He continued: "I'm telling you from a fundamental national sovereignty and national security standpoint that you cannot afford to have in your country persons who are oppressed, marginalized, ostracized, or even feel that way because of actions that are being taken by you."

Activists like, Louby Georges and Rights Bahamas have repeatedly raised concerns over the harmful, dehumanising conditions created by the 2014 immigration policy, which they saw as an attempt to legitimise inhumane state practices against unregularised or undocumented persons.

Last week, Mr Georges highlighted the plight of an 11-year-old special needs boy, who has been unable to attend school for the past three years because of his Haitian mother's legal status.

Haitians represent the largest migrant group in the Bahamas.

However, Mr Lloyd stressed that he did not want to single out an ethnic group because the policy's impact stretched across the entire demographic profile in the country.

"I'm advised that many Bahamians approached the school system without the requisite documentation because they either have no passport or they have no birth certificate," he said, "especially those coming from certain family islands. They don't have any birth certificate so how do we know who you are."

Mr Lloyd said: "As a result of this policy back in 2014 there has been a decided drop in the enrolment in some of our schools particularly of children of what you might consider to be foreign nationals. If they're going to be in the Bahamas they may be five today but in some short period of time they're going to be 12."

Notwithstanding the the critical need to resolve the complex issue of citizenship surrounding persons born in the Bahamas to non-nationals, and illegal immigration challenges, Mr Lloyd said it was unfortunate that some persons were tying the country's immigration laws to children's access to education.

"Yes we need to be very clear about those who are here illegally and they should be dealt with obviously," Mr Lloyd said, "but we've got a big issue, a mountain of a giant of an elephant in the room.

"And that is thousands of people who are born in this country, children who according to the constitution have to wait for 18 years before they can make an application (for citizenship) and in that time they are basically outside of the system, what do you expect them to feel and do? That's something to be addressed."

Mr Lloyd said: "This issue of denying children who legitimately reside and/or born in the Bahamas a right to education in the Bahamas, that particular policy is going to be reviewed by the Cabinet of the Bahamas and a decision will have to be made.

"I'm suggesting to you, without preempting the decision by Cabinet, that we have a law on the books and a Cabinet of the Bahamas must be guided by the law.

He added: "You are sworn to uphold the laws of this country."

Comments

ThisIsOurs 3 weeks, 2 days ago

He's right. They need to deal with guns and illegal immigration SERIOUSLY and create a path fir LEGAL immigrants to assimilate into society.

All, that's all terrorism communities are maintained by recruiting marginalized, disaffected young, angry men. All of them. Minorities, immigrants, the poor, uneducated and unemployed are perfect breeding grounds.

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My2cents 3 weeks, 2 days ago

He's wrong. If these five year olds are deported now, by 18 they would have already had their Haitian citizenship for 13 years. Rewarding illegality and encouraging entitlement is absolutely not the way to go. It will only cause more people to risk their lives to come for the endless freebies and the Bahamas to struggle even further to accommodate them.

Furthermore, there is already a path to assimilation: it's called legal immigration. After which an individual can learn and speak English, live in a regular neighborhood, work for a decent wage, and participate in their local economies and culture.

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My2cents 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Besides that, the number of uneducated "new" Haitians to Bahamian soil will greatly outnumber those we didn't educate each year. Should the government also take responsibility for educating and assimilating them? Why does the Bahamas have borders, leaders and call itself a country if anything goes?

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tell_it_like_it_is 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Mind you I agree that illegal immigration must be handled thoughtfully and with long term goals in mind, however, JL has a point about education. In the meantime, I think the youngsters should be educated. I don't think much good would come from MORE young IDLE hands in our country. Put real plans in place to solve immigration, but in the interim let the children get an education.
Feel free to disagree, but just like everyone else I have a right to my own opinion.

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My2cents 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Having tens of thousands anonymous, illegal immigrants who are untouchable is far more dangerous to national security than not educating a handful of illegal immigrant offspring. Should the Bahamas also establish schools in Haiti to ensure that future illegal immigrants are also educated?

Instead of being one of the critics, someone in his position should be presenting ideas and alternatives that addresses the problem. I personally see nothing wrong with the government using one of its agencies to identify and account for illegals. The do nothing approach does exactly that.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 weeks, 2 days ago

If Haiti refuses to accept our deportation of illegal Haitian immigrants (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 immigrants 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 immigrants and their family members back in Haiti. Introducing these harsh but necessary measures would put an end to our Haitian illegal immigrant 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 immigrants. If we are to survive as a nation, we must do whatever we can to fight the scourge of illegal immigration 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 the Minnis-led cabinet members should be considering as a matter of great urgency....not the kind Mr. LLoyd is talking about.

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Reality_Check 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Mr. Lloyd just doesn't get it! It is the absolute height of absurdity for him to say:

"I'm telling you from a fundamental national sovereignty and national security standpoint that you cannot afford to have in your country persons who are oppressed, marginalized, ostracized, or even feel that way because of actions that are being taken by you."

Mr. Lloyd wants to pour even more gasoline on an already raging fire that we desperately need to extinguish before it consumes and totally destroys our culture, way of life and standard of living. We must introduce policies that deter illegal immigration rather than encourage it; otherwise we will never ever get a handle on this growing problem which is suffocating our country with its enormous toll on our limited financial and social resources, including our limited number of qualified teachers and basic school facilities, not to mention scarce healthcare resources. What Mr. Lloyd is proposing does not protect our national sovereignty and national security; in fact, what he's proposing does the very opposite!

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Regardless 3 weeks, 2 days ago

The " Brian Williams" of the Bahamian media now returns to radio.

Solve it, don't bitch about it Walter Mitty!

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SP 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Jeff Lloyd is headed in the wrong direction and needs to "grow up" and smell the shanty towns!

"WE THE PEOPLE" must stand against this move which would unquestionably encourage a new avalanche of illegals with children in tow for Bahamians to support.

Haitians, in particular, may feel oppressed, marginalized, and ostracized, however, these "feeling" are of their own making because they have absolutely no respect for Bahamian law, are unable to assimilate, control arms, human smuggling, and drug dealing, live in a totally parallel society and are a drain on the countries resources at every level.

If the government would stop pussyfooting around with these people, round up and send all of them and their illegal parents back to Haiti and cause them to reside in Haiti until 18 years old to apply for status, it would send a strong message for others that the anchor baby path to illegally staying in the Bahamas is over.

Jeff Lloyd needs to "grow up" and understand that we are sick and tired of successive governments passing the buck, dodging the biggest problem in the country and giving us the bill to support these illegal parasites!

GO TO HELL with your nonsense Lloyd.

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Emac 3 weeks, 2 days ago

"The parents, they surmise that [schools] are full with illegal children or children of illegal immigrants have gone in and taken up the spaces that should rightfully be reserved for Bahamians.

"I understand the emotions that run on this, I understand the anger, I understand all of that," he said.

Ok! Mr. Lloyd, your job is to make sure BAHAMIAN children are taken care of first! I am flabbergasted by these effing poltitians. GAD DAMN! Do they not understand that Bahamians come first in the Bahamas???? That's right, not Haitians, Chinese,Jamaicans or Fillipinos! PLP and FNM have failed us on this matter. The only person who seemed to have some gumption to deal with this was Branville McCartney. Boy we heading down the wrong path. Bahamians, don't sleep on this. We are a small nation, we cannot afford to support a failed State!

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ThisIsOurs 3 weeks, 2 days ago

There are some things I see that I do not speak into the atmosphere. Mr Lloyd is right on this. You cannot treat an entire segment of society as less than human and expect good things.

1.The foolishness with allowing people to stay in the country after their work permit has expired waiting on renewal has to stop.

2.They need to clear up the issue with children born to illegal immigrants going forward. We cannot assimilate an entire country. I think the process should be stopped. The status of those already here defined and then no more allowed as of X date past or future.

  1. A series of information sessions specifically for the Haitian community to clear up the question of shanty towns, work permits should be had. Otherwise their only source of information is Rumour and misinformation.

  2. The rights of Haitians working legally in the country have to be protected from regular citizens, police and immigration and other Haitians who seek to use their immigration status for extortion.

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banker 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Ahhhh. A voice in the wilderness. A candle in the darkness. An intelligent one among the idiots, the unenlightened, the stupid, the ignorant, the dullards and uneducated. Alas you are outnumbered, and that is why the Bahamas is a Third World Country.

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Cas0072 3 weeks, 2 days ago

We all know what needs to be done, the problem is that nothing has been done and under this administration we can expect more of the same. That is why the Bahamas is a third world country. That and the large number of condescending fools with superiority complexes who do nothing.

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DDK 3 weeks, 2 days ago

NOW you're talking sense!

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sheeprunner12 3 weeks, 2 days ago

This is only an Education problem because it is an Immigration lack of resolve ........ and that means that it is a Cabinet failure to face the issue of enforcing constitutional powers to deal with non-documented persons living within our borders (before and after Independence.

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sheeprunner12 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Stephen Dillet Primary School is named after a Haitian migrant who became the first black MP in our Parliament ......... Just designate that as the school for all illegal immigrants in Nassau ....... Abaco Central High (now Patrick Bethel High) is 80% Haitian ...... just make that the the secondary school for all immigrants ........ same for EMR and CR Walker ...... they already cater to the Haitians and the Haitians thrive in those schools ........ Lawd help us all!!!!!!!!

BUT THE AVERAGE BAHAMIAN DOES NOT CARE TO INTEGRATE WITH ILLEGALS .... THAT IS WHY WE HAVE 50 HAITIAN SHANTY TOWNS ALL OVER THE COUNTRY

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OldFort2012 3 weeks, 2 days ago

As always, you have to ask yourself who benefits from the status quo and how we got here. It is certain not the Haitians. If they benefitted, they would not be living in shanties or running drugs. No, the people who benefit are the ones exploiting the Haitians. The ones who use their labour and do not pay them minimum wage or National Insurance. And we all know who they are. They are a handful of Bahamians. The PM should simply call them into his office (and there will be plenty of room for them all to fit in there) and tell them that as of tomorrow everything changes or THEY go to jail and all their assets will be frozen. Immigration and Education problems solved. But since these guys have financed every political campaign since 1973, that is about as likely to happen as a Bahamian landing on Mars next week.

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Cas0072 3 weeks, 2 days ago

This is exactly what I expected from an FNM government. To get rid of any measures that discourage illegal migration and at the same time offer no solutions. The current Minister of Immigration, who appeared to be happily in retirement, busted on the scene again to not only defend the presence of illegal immigrant children in schools, he listed a number of other places where they cannot be accosted. Shortly after, he said there was no way to protect our borders and then his first act in office was to sign off on a box full of work permits. It is clear where the FNM is heading with this. I guess Bahamians need to simply "grow up" and accept that this is the new Haiti.

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Emac 3 weeks, 2 days ago

I don't think the good minister or ThisisOurs get the big picture here! BAHAMIANS CANNOT get their children in school because of overcrowding, due to the many children who enter our school system who come from ILLEGAL parents. BAHAMIANS CANNOT get basic health care because the health system is inundated with illegals, especially in the maternity ward, where the birth rate for ILLEGALS OR HAITIAN DESCENDANTS is said to 9 out of every 10 birth!!!!!!! THE BAHAMAS IS FOR BAHAMIANS FIRST No matter how you slice it. There absolutely no other country in the world where this shit happens. Do you think that Haitians would try this shit in Dominican Republic, Cuba or Jamaica??? HELL NO, because they know what the results would be. WAKE YA ASSES UP BAHAMIANS! You people who can afford private health care or pay to send your children to private school obviously are living in the bubble. But it ain long before this problems spills over in your decent neighbourhood.

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ThisIsOurs 3 weeks, 2 days ago

I can't afford private health care, I cancelled it a little over one year ago, I have no insurance but in spite of that I don't agree with launching headlong into an NHI Scheme that would destroy us economically, even though it would benefit me. I don't take stands based in whether there's something in it for me.

What am I saying, if this were an ideal world on Monday we'd wake up and every shanty town would be gone and all the illegal immigrants rounded up and shipped off to their native country. It's not going to happen.

Since it's not going to happen, how can we correct the situation humanely. Haitians are people just like us, I even hate saying that because it sounds bad. Why do you have to justify that a person is a human being and deserves respect? They speak a different language have an accent, but they just like us. They have good people, bad people, hard working people, lazy people and criminals just like us. The absolute worst thing that we could do, is treat them as a group as if they are subhuman. That "do unto others" is a powerful law. I literally believe that that other person you treat either good or bad, IS you! Some people call it karma. The society you mistreat are the ones who come back and give you the same mistreatment.

As I said before, my stand is regularize up to a certain date, that could be 2010, 2013, 2014, whenever. and then fix the law on anchor babies to accept no more. Have regular information sessions here and in Haiti to get the message out that the laws have changed. We're not the US, we're almost at junk and neither our hospital, schools or social services can take more load. That's my stand

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ThisIsOurs 3 weeks, 2 days ago

We are one "Irma" away from refugee status. How would you want someone to treat a community of Bahamians seeking a better life from their ravaged country?

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Emac 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Haiti is NOT ravaged. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Haiti, save the people are not willing to rebuilt their own country. There are Haitians who are millionaires all over the world, do you see them offering any assistants to their country??? Absolutely not. As far as the Bahamas being hit by some super hurricane, God forbid, then we as responsible human beings would put our heads together and do what is necessary to get our feet back on the ground. We don't run to another man's country and burden their social services, while disrespecting their heritage and disobeying their laws!

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ThisIsOurs 3 weeks ago

Haiti is in a bad state. You assume that if the country is ravaged there will be "order". You assume that all the guns and gangs will disappear and everyone will join hands to work together, you assume that your wife and children will be safe. You assume no one will get sick and need the medication that we won't have. You assume that you won't cry out for someone to come and save us from misery and the marauders. I hope you are right. I don't want to see that day

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SP 3 weeks, 1 day ago

If the Bahamas were devastated by an "Irma" who would be forced to foot the bill for taking care of tens of thousands of illegals?

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ThisIsOurs 3 weeks ago

You would hope good people everywhere would help us

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SP 3 weeks ago

Hope? Let's see what your "good people everywhere" has done for Islands affected by Irma and Maria!

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ThisIsOurs 3 weeks ago

Yes "hope". I certainly can't say good people "will" help us, they might remember how we treated others and turn their hearts against us. So, I would "hope", they would help us.

Actually the good people of NY held the Global Citizen Festival over the weekend, over 60,000 activists and philanthropists were invited guests. They are raising funds and performing philanthropic work for various causes all over the world. One of the issues they highlighted was the devastation in the Caribbean, these people of all colours in "NY City". The President of Dominica, R Skerritt, spoke at the Festival and gave a plea for his country and the other islands. There are good people helping. Tim Duncan I believe has also started a fundraising effort, Richard Branson is launching a campaign to assist the USVI. Good people who have nothing to gain are already helping those islands.

It's only us Bahamians sounding like Donald Trump with an overinflated sense of who we are that continue to shame our nation

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DWW 3 weeks, 2 days ago

With the exception of the first. Every single comment here is sheer bigoted hateful simplistic spew. I would put good money down that every single person who commented here has an illegal worker clean their yard every single week. this country would have some ugly landscaping if the government followed these guys orders.

these heartless people would throw an innocent child to the dogs as repercussion for the actions of their parents. shameful, and not the least Christian in a supposed Christian Nation. How many of you go to church and confess your sins on Sunday and then spew hate on Monday?

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sheeprunner12 3 weeks, 2 days ago

There is not ONE illegal immigrant on Long Island ...... and less than twenty work permit holders as well ....... You find illegals where there are LAZY Bahamians who want someone else to do their work

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Cas0072 3 weeks, 2 days ago

I, for one, have never hired an illegal in my life, so there goes that. Chances are you hire illegal immigrants with your very simplistic view that feelings and emotions trump the laws of the land. Innocent children suffer for the actions of their parents all day every day. It is a fact of life. Of course, a Bible thumper like yourself already knew that.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 weeks, 2 days ago

I employed a Haitian gardener for nearly a decade or so......a strong young strapping man referred to me by a friend. I paid him well, paid for his annual work permits, registered him with National Insurance and paid 100% of the required contributions. I even taught him how to drive, helped him get his driver's license and gave him one of my cars to use so that he could run errands for my family. He was a good worker. I knew he had never been married before, but then one day my wife somehow found out from him something that neither of us had known before. He had 11 children, all born in the Bahamas by 4 different Haitian women, all of whom were illegal immigrants. Shortly after learning of this my wife immediately dismissed him with a full year's severance pay, took possession of his work permit and surrendered it to Bahamas Immigration. My wife's rationale for doing so should be obvious. She was appalled at the fact that our well treated Haitian gardner was having a bastard child born at the rate of one a year by several Haitian women who were all illegal immigrants. We now have a well treated hardworking 'legal' Peruvian gardner who doesn't seem to be the slightest bit interested in woman. Both my wife and I are happy to no longer be contributing to our country's many problems caused by Haitian illegal immigrants.

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SP 3 weeks, 1 day ago

STFU! People like you who are financially secure, sitting comfortably in gated communities or behind tall walls with 24/7 security have NEVER BEEN NEGATIVELY AFFECTED BY ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS!

You CAN NOT comprehend the plight of average Bahamians competing for mere survival from what little the PLP and FNM left of our country for our people and children.

Nobody "hates Haitians" as a people. We do hate illegals of any nationality that negatively affect our quality of life. Illegal Haitians just happen to be by far the largest ethnic group, worse offenders causing the biggest disparities in the Bahamas.

You simply cannot "get it" because your insular and cannot "feel it!".......S-T-F-U

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sheeprunner12 3 weeks, 2 days ago

For people like Cas0072 ............ this is NO time to nit-pick on who is hiring illegals and what to do with children of illegals .......... This country is so deep in debt and social dysfunction at this time that it is time for ALL hands to get on deck and help to save the sinking ship of State.

But it is important to note that the present MOE (Lloyd) is spending $4million on Stephen Dillet school, while many Family Island schools are almost uninhabitable ...... Lowe Sound, Fresh Creek, Gregory Town, George Town, Inagua All Age for starters ......... Do you think that REAL Bahamians deserve better than that??????

I am a Bahamian first ........... when there are Bahamians without proper schools and sufficient teachers, the Bahamian Government is obligated to deal with those issues immediately ...... Not worry about "brownie points" issues ...... every human being in this country has access to a citizenship and even Fred Mitchell was right on that issue ...... Let the Haitians just go down to their embassy and apply for their passports (they can get theirs faster than we can get ours) ........ once we know who they are, then we can solve the long term problem faster.

But there are too many illegals running around this country with no official ID and using bogus names and IDs for themselves and their children - that poses a bigger national security issue (that was Mitchell's view).

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Cas0072 3 weeks, 2 days ago

I don't disagree with you. I responded directly to an assumption made by DWW.

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sheeprunner12 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Ok ........... DWW is really slinging mud at the illegals' bosses, the smugglers and the social hypocrites ........ You are correct, and I retract my assertion.

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birdiestrachan 3 weeks, 2 days ago

The former Deacon is talking to :"its the peoples time" voter when he says " the Bahamian people will have to grow up and understand" I have notice that persons coming to the Bahama illegally were not bringing their children, they can start to do so now.

The outspoken QC said the Carmichael Detention Center is against the law. So the FNM government will be closing that down very soon. They can do what ever they wish. It is what the Bahamian people voted for.

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banker 3 weeks, 2 days ago

We would have a better country if we kept the Haitians, regularised them and exiled all of the PLP and their supporters.

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TalRussell 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Comrades! Talk on the street has it that the Bahamaland is the Caribbean's haven for "Knock-off Citizenship's and Work Permits," because of the easy access to immigration required support documents - via some Justices of the Peace?
We are known as the country with the most "Knock-off Citizens, and Work Permit Holders."
{ You cannot just make this stuff up }.

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CatIslandBoy 3 weeks, 2 days ago

I am hopeful that the Cabinet will recognize the urgency of the real problem which lies at the feet of Immigration. We have a serious immigration problem that continues to manifest itself in so many other areas of the Bahamian life. However, we must be mindful that we must educate all children in our society (in accordance with the UNCRRC), just as we must treat all ill persons, regardless of their Immigration status. We do this, not to reward illegal immigration, but to protect ourselves. Just think of the consequences if we didn't. Also, if we are truly a Christian nation, then it should be a no-brainer.

So, Immigration must begin to do their jobs. Round-ups and Deportation must be ramped up. The Defence Force must become more vigilant in interceptions. Bahamians who employ illegal labour must be hauled before the courts and punished harshly as a deterrence to others. In the meantime, we must educate all children within our borders without regards to their Immigration status.

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TalRussell 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Comrade CatIslandBoy, believe it or not - there might not be many of us left around to count? Bahamaland's population as of 2016 was listed as 391,232. That number includes, all citizens and anyone else residing in the country (legally or otherwise) at the time the 2016 population census was taken.
A good guesstimate would be that out of the 391,231 - not more than "123,100" could be considered as certifiable legal citizens/residents.
Comrade CatIslandBoy, with a real population of but 123,100 souls walking around, you've thought there should be no shortage of jobs, crown lands, social assistance, no VAT on anything, Free Universal BahamaCARE, a Guaranteed Income, no Import Taxes, free University, for the legal population?
What it in hell, went so wrong?
And, it begs the question - who all have been legally voting in our General Elections - cause it would mean that every adult man's. woman's and the children's - had all been voting our governments in and out?

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DWW 3 weeks ago

Pop. of Bahamas grew from 303,611 in 2000, to 353,658 in 2010. So you are saying that out of the 50,000 person growth, 45,000 of those were Haitians and only 5,000 born to Bahamians. Hmm... that could be an accurate assumption, perhaps not.

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Reality_Check 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Our Haitian illegal immigrant problem has for decades preyed upon the Christianity of Bahamians. That time has come and gone. Bahamians must now do much more to help themselves overcome this vexing and dreadful problem. There is after all, some truth to the old saying that Gold helps those most who are willing to help themselves.

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TalRussell 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Comrade Realty_Check, there may be 48, 333 Jamaican nationals alone in the Bahamaland. Immigration is good... But not when its enforcement policies is being misdirected to single out the Haitian nationals the most.

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sheeprunner12 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Tal raises a good question ......... how many humans really live in The Bahamas????? ...... how many are citizens????? .......... how many are legal non-citizens????? ....... how many are non-documented persons??????? ......... This national dilemma (security threat) cannot wait until the 2020 "official" census.

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TalRussell 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Comrade Sheepunner12, we need to as a people to slow everything down to play catch-up to weed out exactly how many the 391,231 is who? I'm telling you,the who is legit is going be pretty damn close to my 123,100 number.... But no government will be willing do the necessary population weeding.... including Minister Jeff, and his cabinet colleagues. The Red Shirts has knows that they were elected to govern by persons, who should've have been allowed to register to vote in the May 10, 2017 General Election...making their governing mandate....null and void!

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Reality_Check 3 weeks, 2 days ago

The population of the Bahamas is said to be 400,000 but is actually closer to 500,000. Of the 500,000 nearly 200,000 are illegal immigrants or illegal immigrants that somehow wrongfully obtained some kind of 'legal' resident status.

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banker 3 weeks, 2 days ago

LOL. You and Tal and your doppelgangers make me laugh with your made-up numbers. I could monetize you all as random number generators.

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Reality_Check 3 weeks, 2 days ago

The last proper census count of our population nearly a decade ago (2010) was just over 350,000. The population estimate for 2016 was just below 400,000. But just about anyone who has spent any significant time in the Bahamas knows that these figures are grossly understated.

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banker 3 weeks, 1 day ago

How may I ask? Are you using the Donald Trump Crowd Estimator? I saw Tal estimate a crowd at just over 400 people at a march, and it was a complete order of magnitude above that proven with software. And as for you Mr. Mudda_take_sick/Reality_check/Mr. Schizophrenic, half a million people on New Providence? Hah! With that number you are talking about a population density of 6,250 people per square mile. Not a chance.

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Reality_Check 3 weeks ago

You really are a tad bit too immature. From now on you get to have the last word on everything....not because you deserve it....but because you need it.

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baldbeardedbahamian 3 weeks, 2 days ago

The Hon Jeffrey L. Lloyd is taking a correct and brave stand in addressing a problem that most of us would prefer to ignore. At one time this country was 90% Euro-Bahamian and 10% Afro-Bahamian. The former group had few children per family, the latter group had more children per family. Because of this the ethnic make up of the country changed. It was not the end of the country, the country just evolved into a different one, not better and not worse but most would say more equitable. The same thing is happening again with residents, ,legal and illegal, from Haitian parents having larger families than residents of second, third, fourth generation immigrant parents. The various ethnic groups that together make up our country will change again but this is nothing to be scared of, our country will continue more equal than before.

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Reality_Check 3 weeks, 2 days ago

With this hogwash you've lost what little remaining credibility you had.

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sheeprunner12 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Man, you talking about when the (white) pirates were running The Bahamas ....... that is 300 years ago!!!!!!!! ........... We need to pay close attention to the last 50 years ....... When the BLACK PIRATES began to rule The Bahamas ............. BOL!!!!!!!!!!!

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DDK 3 weeks, 2 days ago

THIS MAN OBVIOUSLY DOES NOT REPRESENT THE BAHAMIAN PEOPLE. Perhaps HE should give serious thought to emigrating to Port-de-Paix. His is NOT the solution to a decades ignored problem that has all but destroyed The Bahamas.

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sheeprunner12 3 weeks, 2 days ago

This is not Lloyd's problem ...... he is trying to solve a problem that SLOP created by the stupid citizenship laws in the 1973 Constitution and Fweddy's stupid 2014 immigration policies ......... Stop brow-beating the messenger (Jeff Lloyd).

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banker 3 weeks, 2 days ago

There you go. If I had 5 cents for every time that I heard "my Hyshun", I would be retired now. I have seen the enemy, and it is us.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Lloyd is indeed part of the Haitian illegal immigrant problem given the views he has espoused for many years on this issue and we certainly do not need for him to be making the problem any worse by encouraging and endorsing foolish policies that put the interests of illegal Haitians (and their illegal children born in the Bahamas) ahead of our own interests and the interests of our own children. Any elected politician who does this should be run out of office!

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TalRussell 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Comrades! I never tire reading the diversity the posts covering so many subjects, topics and issues. Your posts reveal lots about about where we are today as a nation and a people... But rarely do the posts - reveal what we used to be likes as a nation and a proud people. There's lots positive history that we need talk about, talk it lots more.
We are ten thousands miles away from being a gangster nation....But we're so close to playing with fire - when we allow the government to forget about the sovereignty rights, and the protection of our own small population.

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dfitzerl 3 weeks, 2 days ago

These comments are sad

We should do everything in our power to protect our borders but if a child is within our borders, by whatever means, we have a legal obligation and a selfish reason to educated them and assimulate them into our society.

To not do so is to alienate the child and grow a potential criminal along the way.

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TalRussell 3 weeks, 2 days ago

Comrade Dfitzerl, I say, let's get rid of the Governor General and her residence and keep the little children in school.
Taxpayers spend more money to keep up with the appearances the Governor General and on the GG's big pink house's maintenance and to pay the staff (Chef included) at Government House.... including cutting all that grass atop Mount Fitzwilliam........ than is spent keeping all the children of non-status immigrants in our public-schools.

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SP 3 weeks, 1 day ago

AN ANUDDA TING..... This donkey said, "we need to have an adult conversation and Bahamian people have got to grow up and understand"?

Especially egregious and insulting to thinking peoples intelligence is that Jeff Lloyd has the audacity to feel he has the superiority to speak so condescendingly to "we the people"!

It is painfully obvious from his tone when speaking many times since being elected, that Jeff Lloyd has exposed himself as the kind of "dictator politician" we just voted OUT of our lives!

Donkey Lloyd then tries to pull a "Perry Christie smoke and mirror special" referring to "Our Education act is very clear, that's the Act, that's the law, all persons", however, he conveniently did not mention the Immigration Act (1967), pertaining to the arrest, detention, and deportation of irregular migrants, the imposition of criminal sanctions for status-related violations Act and the law regarding all persons found residing illegally shall be detained and deported!

We the people simply demand adherence to the law. Illegals and their offspring are to be apprehended, detained and deported. Children of illegals born in the Bahamas can apply for some status in the Bahamas at 18yrs of age....FROM HAITI.

This would greatly alleviate the obvious national security risk we face, and resolve "oppressed, marginalized, and ostracized feelings" of these people. They all speak fluent Creole as a first language, love Haiti more than they could ever love the Bahamas or Bahamians, have great respect for their Haitian flag and culture and deserve to live amongst people they respect, understand and love.

Secondly, I call on PM Sheriff Minnis to fast-track the promised parliamentarian recall bill to be tabled in the HOA forthwith! Thereby allowing this democratically elected government to deepen our democracy by having the electorate voice their opinion at the polls on this matter.

Jeff Lloyd and Brent Symonnett are acting contrary to the wishes of the majority of the electorate regarding this vexing issue. I submit they are first to be recalled and replaced by individuals sensitive to needs and desires of the taxpaying electorate that are forced to support these people while we ourselves suffer and cannot make ends meet!

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professionalbahamian 3 weeks, 1 day ago

To discourage the Haitian migrants:

1) announce that no further work permit applications for this will be accepted or processed period for five years or other period to evaluate the effectiveness of the deterant. No further under the table deals will then be possible. Imagine the pressure relief on the system. 2) leagalize or deport those that are in the system already. 3) leagalize the current children born here that are stuck without any status and have never known anywhere else to call home due to no fault or action of their own. Real patriotic tax paying citizens should result. 4) obtain clear proof that NIB is being paid for all work permit holders prior to renewing any permit annually.

Regarding the school system - it is terrible and should be removed from government's list of business's they manage- subsidize and privatize the schools one at a time (public private partnerships?).

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Reality_Check 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Legalizing the current illegal Haitian children only serves to embolden our existing illegal Haitians to have more children born here in the Bahamas and also encourages even more illegal Haitians to come our way from Haiti. We need to introduce policies that would force Haiti to take back all of the existing illegal Haitians including those born here. Even the U.S. and Canada do not grant economic refugee and/or asylum status to Haitians fleeing Haiti....so why in the hell are we permitting illegal Haitian children born in the Bahamas to apply for Bahamian citizenship at age 18! "No", we are not inhumane or un-Christian-like - we are instead absolutely nuts!!! No other right-minded country would so foolishly sacrifice the way of life of its own indigenous people, its own national sovereignty and the national security interests.

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DDK 3 weeks ago

We just need political leaders and ministers with enough cahoonas AND caring to finally deal with this out of control situation which effects health care, education, employment, crime, culture, environmental health concerns and indeed every walk of life in The Bahamas.

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SP 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Please tell us the countries where legalized Haitians ever became "Real patriotic tax paying citizens" and why you feel they will uncharacteristically do so here!

I know of none.

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banker 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Quebec Canada. There are over half a million Haitian immigrants in Quebec, up from 115,000 in 2011. They are thriving and not on the Canadian social security dole.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 weeks ago

This likely explains why Montreal is now in such a financial mess!

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OldFort2012 3 weeks, 1 day ago

All I can say is that luckily the commentators here are all black. Because imagine the uproar if a white man had said half of the things written here. And don't tell me that it has nothing to do with race, we only want the law to be upheld. That is precisely DJT's argument and you don't seem to buy it when he says it...

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SP 3 weeks, 1 day ago

That's "all you can say"? Okay then, enjoy your comfy cocoon and we won't attempt to tell you differently!!

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Cas0072 3 weeks, 1 day ago

I will tell you that it has nothing to do with race, because it does not. There are many valid arguments against illegal immigration, especially to a small country like the Bahamas. Secondly, a poll by the US Embassy showed that many Bahamians support DJT and I am certain it has to do with his stance on illegal immigration. He is attempting to do something, which is more than can be said for the illegal immigrant enabling politicians in The Bahamas. He is joke of president for many other reasons, but even his strong stance on the matter has them running for Canada. Soon Canada will be begging for firm anti immigration policies to shut the floodgates.

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banker 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Actually no, Canada will not shut the floodgates. First and foremost, Haitian creole can be understood by the French-speaking Quebec Canadians. Secondly, Canada has an aging population (unlike the Bahamas) and they need new blood. Thirdly, the Prime Minister of Canada is pro-immigration. The first thing that happens to immigrants and refugees in Canada, is that they get enrolled in ESL or English as a Second Language classes. Canada's unemployment is the lowest in 9 years.

Immigration only works in diversified economies with a good education system. For all of its talk about a middle class, there really isn't one in the Bahamas, or at least a very small one. You are either working class or not working.

The bottom line is that a government must be humanistic first and foremost. It must take care of it lowest citizens. It must properly educate its young. It must ensure a robust economy for its workers, and it must provide for old age pensioners. Any government that doesn't do that is a failed state. We are a failed state. Unfortunately for us, Haiti is further down the road as a failed state, and we look like a nirvana to them. To a person who is hungry, somebody with a loaf of bread is beyond rich.

Again another unfixable problem plaguing the Bahamas. Acting like un-altruistic sub-humans een gern fix annyting.

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Cas0072 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Ever since Trump came in office, more Haitians have been fleeing to Canada including those that were already in the US. I have seen several articles since then that states that Canadian officials are concerned about this trend. Ultimately how Canada responds is up to them, but clearly they are better equipped to handle illegal migrants. I don't disagree with your point that the government needs to first take care of its lowest citizens, with citizens being the operative word. I believe at last count more than 1/3rd of Bahamians were said to live below the poverty line. I am being a realist, not an emotionalist which seems to be the justification for assuming responsibility for more than we can afford. Not since my days of reading the Bible have I heard of feeding 5,000 with five loaves of bread and other such miracles. Also many of the people parading around as altruistic, encourage illegal immigration for their own motives. Hence, I don't buy the altruistic act from people who seem to believe this approach applies only to illegal immigrants when they seem incapable of empathy in any other situation.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 weeks ago

@Cas0072: You are spot on in your well measured reply to @banker.

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TalRussell 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Comrades! Why English should be the only official language of the Bahamaland?
Before we can even begin learning about other cultures and customs of the different nationalities living among us - we will need to become aware of our own Bahamalander culture.... And, answer the question - does it really exist..... And, are we prepared to define and reinforce it - while appreciating and respecting other peoples customs?
Are there real economic benefits to the Bahamaland adopting more than English as its official language?

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Cas0072 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Why shouldn't the only official language be English? Most independent countries retain the language of the countries from which they gained independence, including Haiti. What would be the purpose of bucking this trend? There are countries far more diverse than the Bahamas that retain one official language. There is nothing wrong with true diversity, but we are talking potentially about one country overwhelming another. That is not diversity. Then rather than put pressure on the "activists" like the two featured the other day to properly integrate their peers into society to which they made the journey, you want the Bahamas to bend over backwards. Don't let these comments fool you, that is what the government has been doing for decades with the support of those with vested interests.

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TalRussell 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Comrade Cas0072, are you and crown minister Jeff, even aware that every year, 350 to 400 University of The Bahamaland students enroll in introductory Haitian Creole language courses? That there are 'more students learning Haitian Creole as a foreign language at the University of The Bahamaland than at any other higher education institute anywhere in the world?'
Pretty strange that crown minister Jeff, would authorize the use taxpayers' dollars at the University of the Bahamaland to teach students the Haitian Creole language.... But not to enroll the children of Haitian parents/guardians into our public schools? Looks likes crown minister Jeff is saving the money he's not spending on the little students to attend public schools.... until they grow big enough to attend the Haitian Creole classrooms at the University of the Bahamaland? { Likes I keeps saying. You can't make this stuff up }.

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Cas0072 3 weeks, 1 day ago

The Bahamas is probably one of the few countries outside of Haiti to offer Haitian Creole as a course and for obvious reasons. Therefore, not only is that stat not impressive, it speaks to the lack of immigration enforcement over the years. If Bahamian English is not our official language, why would we even consider another broken language such as Haitian Creole as an official co or secondary language? As for Crown Minister Jeff using tax dollars to fund Haitian Creole at COB, any expenses involved with making any course available at COB is offset by tuition costs that students pay. Crown Minister Jeff and his colleagues need to explain how they can continue to fully fund the cost of educating the children of illegal immigrants even while they keep the floodgates open for more. If they were doing their jobs, the illegal immigrant offspring would not be here long enough to attend public schools until they grow up. Of course, should the ones born here decide to return for college, it is again reasonable to have Haitian Creole course in which they can enroll.

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TalRussell 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Comrade Cas0072, shouldn't we the people first understand the degree of the school overcrowding problem? Is it really as bad as the minister states and to what degree is it a genuine illegal immigration problem?
Don't you think the cabinet owes the people a full-accounting of how out of control is the illegal immigration problem what it comes to our public schools?
What is the total number of foreign nationals currently enrolled out of the 63,322 students at our state primary and secondary schools? The total number all persons who were turned away due to 'overcrowding' for this September 2017 school year.... including listing the total number of those turned away because of no proof of legal residency?
Comrades, as a nation we have a social responsibility to not only uphold on behalf of our own citizens, but to others living among us.

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Cas0072 3 weeks, 1 day ago

One of the things that this policy could achieve is to provide data to help us understand the degree of the problem. But while many of you say this is not the way to go, not many of you provide alternatives for collecting such data. Not even government ministers for crying out loud, although they are quick to join the chorus of critics. I don't know how the country is expected to determine a way forward without actual data and statistics. I guess the Minister of Immigration will fix the problem by signing off on boxes of citizenship applications.

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DDK 3 weeks ago

Because we are an ENGLISH (however badly) speaking country and when in Rome.......

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banker 3 weeks, 1 day ago

I see that the Haitians who overran the country and have been running it since Independence have done a damn fine job of governance. That is why we are an elite nation of nations. That is why the streets are paved with gold, and erryboddy happy. That is why it is the land of milk and honey. Problems ??? What problems? Erryone rich. Those hyshuns who took over the country and mutilated our culture have made The Bahamas a nirvana. No crime. A chicken in every pot. Now if those crupt Bahamians had been running the country, it would be a different story.

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TalRussell 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Comrade Cas0072, the government have more data on immigration matters tucked away in their data banks, than the Bank of Bahamaland has cash in their vaults.
You have believe that there's loads immigration data stored away that the cabinet does not want to reveal the statistics to the population.
Unfortunately, while we enjoy a free press in the Bahamaland - there are no demands being made by the press to make the cabinet open their immigration data collected over the governing terms of both major political parties.
Even the minister of immigration Brent Symonette, has thrown his hands up in the air, because he's too flooded with immigration data, sitting right on his ministerial's office floor. .

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Cas0072 3 weeks, 1 day ago

I don't know if I believe that, since record keeping in the Bahamas sucks in general. Generally speaking I agree that the government's soft approach makes them complicit in the illegal migration issues of today.

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TalRussell 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Comrade Cas0072, what you really think is going on with this red cabinet?
Some of us are seeing at least Five of the red shirts crown cabinet ministers, who are neither prepared or qualified, to be looking at Bahamaland's long term development, but only to fill the population up with a daily diet of whatever they think they can feed a gullible people. I thinks it's all about their daily governing survival.
The population both for and against their politics, had accepted that Pindling, Papa Hubert and Christie were the prime ministers in-charge of governing the Bahamaland and their cabinets.
I only wish I could say the same about our current prime minister. I does think people look more to "ACE" as the PM, than the man's being chauffeured around Nassau Town in the back seat that BENZ luxury motor car, by policeman's.

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DWW 3 weeks ago

BAhamas.gov.bs: NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Department of Statistics announced its 2015 Immigration Report, giving data on work permits issued in The Bahamas that year, at a press conference at its offices, August 19, 2016.

The department stated:

In 2015, by Occupation, a total of 9,208 work permits were issued, of which 67 percent were to males and 33 percent to females.

Forty-four percent of the work permits were granted to workers in the Elementary Occupational group, of which 65 percent of this group were Haitians.

Ten percent of the totals issued were to Skilled Agricultural, Forestry, and Fishery workers of which 80 percent were Haitians.

Professionals, Science and Engineering Specialists comprised 10 percent of the total work permits, of which 15 percent of the group were Americans and 15 percent, Jamaicans.

The smallest number of work permits granted, 0.2 percent, was in the Plant & Machine Operators and Assemblers category.

By Industry category – the industry that received the majority of work permits in 2015 was the Accommodation and Food Service Activities Industry (Hotel) with 12 percent of the work permits granted, of which 80 percent of the group were males. This was followed by the Construction Industry, with seven percent of the total permits issued, of which 96 percent of the group were males. And third, the Manufacturing Industry, which accounted for five percent of the total work permits for 2015, of which 97 percent of the group were males.

By Nationality, the majority of the work permits 3,360 or 36% were issued to Haitians; followed by Jamaicans with 1,075 or 11% of the permits issued; and Philippine nationals received 1,033 or 11% of the permits issued.

More detailed information is available on the Department of Statistics Website: www.bahamas.gov.bs/statistics

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SP 3 weeks ago

@ Banker ... Ha! How quickly things have evolved for Haitians "welcome" to Montreal.

In a few short months with over 500 Haitians illegally crossing into Canada daily, more than ten thousand migrants have walked across the border this year. This is totally unsustainable and the country is buckling under the pressure. Canadians are now seriously demanding Trudeau get a handle on the situation!

http://www.torontosun.com/2017/08/07/trudeaus-lost-all-control-of-our-border-crisis

"Canadian experts are calling for Canada to suspend a treaty that deems its southern neighbor a safe place for refugees."

https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/ywpyxv/after-wave-of-haitian-refugees-montrealers-question-us-asylum-deal

Canadians complain "these people very first act in Canada was to break our laws."

Similar to what Haitians do in the Bahamas with anchor babies, they use a loophole in the law. This agreement has simply led aspiring refugees to cross into Canada illegally and circumvent their immigration rules.

It is truly sad and disheartening to see the plight of Haitians, however, we cannot allow them to take the Bahamas and Bahamians down to Haiti's level destroying us too. We did not cause Haiti's problems and certainly cannot held responsible for the well being of Haiti's people!

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banker 3 weeks ago

Tuum fatum te relinquo.

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DDK 3 weeks ago

Make your own fate then abandon it? Something like making your own bed and lying in it? My Latin is shaky!

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baldbeardedbahamian 3 weeks ago

I so enjoy all of we comments. Thank you all posters. These comments are always more entertaining than the front and comics page combined.

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baldbeardedbahamian 3 weeks ago

October 9th coming up, National Exterminate Indigenous People's Day. We should hold a national mourning service at Clifford Park.

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