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Plp Chairman: Fred Smith Efforts 'Cowardly'

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PLP CHAIRMAN Fred Mitchell.

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

PROGRESSIVE Liberal Party Chairman Senator Fred Mitchell has branded the recent efforts of human rights attorney Fred Smith, QC, and his backers as "cowardly" and "indiscriminate," further imploring the Minnis administration to quickly amend the laws to add clarity as to who has the right to be granted citizenship.

In a statement circulated early Friday, the former Immigration Minister, said the Official Opposition stands in support of government's effort to end what he called an "attempt to overthrow the government of The Bahamas by violence and insurrection."

Mr Mitchell claimed that Mr Smith, through his advocacy group, Rights Bahamas, and its supporters, has incited "loose talk" around the Bahamas' constitution as it relates to citizenship and who is entitled to it.

Mr Mitchell was particularly critical of the production and mass distribution of a pamphlet by Rights Bahamas.

Responding to the contents of that pamphlet and Mr Smith's persistence in local courts, Mr Mitchell said: "There is, in our view, indiscriminate and loose talk about the country that there is an ambiguity about who is a citizen of The Bahamas or entitled to be registered as one. The Progressive Liberal Party's position is that there is no ambiguity. The framers of our constitution wrote precisely what they intended it to be."

His statement said that "the only persons who are able to claim citizenship of the Bahamas by birth are those whose married parents are Bahamian and their children are born in the Bahamas; those born overseas to a Bahamian father married to the mother of the child; those born to a single Bahamian mother anywhere in the world; the exception to conferring birth when born overseas to a married Bahamian father or a single Bahamian mother is when that parent obtained their citizenship comes by reason of the exception in Article 3(2) of the constitution."

The Senator, in his statement, presented the case of famed Bahamian actor Sir Sidney Poitier, who he noted could not pass on his citizenship to his children at birth because they were born overseas.

Mr Mitchell insisted that if a person does not obtain citizenship by birth or descent, by law, they have to apply for citizenship and it is up to the Minister who holds responsibility for nationality to grant citizenship.

"There is nothing that is ambiguous about this," Mr Mitchell said. "The mischief making comes when advocates argue that because someone is born in the Bahamas to non Bahamian parents and applies pursuant to the constitution after their 18th and before their 19th birthday, they have an automatic entitlement to citizenship of The Bahamas and cannot be expelled from the country. This is not so. They like everyone else must apply and unless they have a residency status for The Bahamas, they are subject to exclusion from The Bahamas through the normal immigration processes."

Mr Mitchell said the 2015 amendment to the Immigration Act was primarily done to grant a special residency status for persons that fell into this category.

However, he also noted that without some residency status, there is no special exception for these persons.

To that end, Mr Mitchell said, the government should amend the law to ensure that it is clear that it is the executive who has the right to grant citizenship in the Bahamas and no one else. He further insisted that all cases currently before the courts should be prosecuted to the highest courts in the land.

Friday's statement also said the Director of Immigration should have the unfettered power to dismiss anyone from the country who is not a Bahamian or a permanent resident subject to law.

Mr Mitchell served as Minister of Immigration in the former Christie Cabinet.

Comments

rawbahamian 2 years, 4 months ago

This is the only time that I fully agree with Fred Mitchell concerning the stance the Government has to take concerning ILLEGAL Immigrants and if Fred Smith does not like the outcome then he can exercise HIS right to pack his ass up and go back to Haiti where HE IS FROM !!!

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TheMadHatter 2 years, 4 months ago

"Mr Mitchell said the 2015 amendment to the Immigration Act was primarily done to grant a special residency status for persons that fell into this category."

So the PLP created confusion instead of deportations. It would also be interesting if the present govt ordered an investigation into the Affidavits used to obtain passports in the past 30 years. I suspect many would be convicted before the Courts.

In the Bahamas, as i've said before, you don't need a "davit" for citizenship - only half a davit...LOL.

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sheeprunner12 2 years, 4 months ago

Recheck .......... Who was the PLP Minister of Immigration from 2012-17????? ......... BOL

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hrysippus 2 years, 4 months ago

Any one remember maycock in the indling cabinet as Minister of Immigration? I could tell some stories about that one.

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TalRussell 2 years, 4 months ago

Rather than waste time with Freddy M, we Bahamalanders might wants say hello Comrade Xi Jinping China’s authoritarian Comrade Chinese President Xi Jinping, who wants the world to know, the Bahamaland included, that he’s ready to extend his leadership to political parties everywhere.
Each new day looks more attractive we return under protection the Queen across English pond - Comrade Xi no goin' mess our Liz's Royal Battleships. {Why bother make this up when Minnis and KP fell hook line and sinker Oban - imagine two them men's up against Red Flag hosted in front old British Colonial Hotel just across street American Embassy?}.

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by TalRussell

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sheeprunner12 2 years, 4 months ago

Sidney Poitier is a bad example ........ He was born in Florida, spent his early years in Cat Island, and returned to the USA at age 15 to seek a new and better life ........ He got American citizenship, so his children are Americans ........What is Fweddy talking about?????? ........... Just read Articles 9 & 12 of the Constitution .......... Sidney Poitier is an American with Bahamian roots.

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sealice 2 years, 4 months ago

Fweddy Mitch told me good morning passing on the street i would run for cover.... but this i actually agree with..

And Sidney Poitier and his kids don't want or need anything to do with Bahamas citizen ship.... especially when they find out what a pain inthe ars it is to get approved... only reason he came back last time was cus they named a bridge after him.....

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jackbnimble 2 years, 4 months ago

Why is it that former Ministers make more sense when they are OUT of office? Lol.

Never thought I would see the day when I AGREE with Mitchell but he's on point on this one.

I actually miss him - BOL!!

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