By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
THE government has facilitated the return of a man who was deported in violation of a Supreme Court order, The Tribune has been told.
Louisbin Foreste, 24, returned to the country on Wednesday after having spent just over a month in Haiti. Prior to his deportation, he had been held at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre for three weeks.His return was confirmed by Attorney General Carl Bethel, who said the government covered the cost of his return flight. “This shows what a reasonable government we are,” Mr Bethel said when contacted yesterday.
“If someone apparently has strong documentation and if a procedural error was made, we address any apparent error.
“He now has the opportunity to correct his apparent defect in having failed to apply (for Bahamian citizenship) in a timely manner.”
The Tribune exclusively reported on Mr Foreste’s case last week and just days after publication the government took action.
The 24-year-old was born in Abaco to Haitian parents, and later moved to Nassau with his siblings.
Of Mr Foreste’s five siblings, his three sisters hold Bahamian citizenship while he and his older brother did not apply. Under the Constitution, persons born in the Bahamas to non-Bahamian parents are entitled to apply for Bahamian citizenship between the ages of 18 and 19.
He was arrested by immigration officials on October 5, and deported on October 27.
During that period, Mr Foreste petitioned the lawfulness of his detention and Justice Andrew Forbes was scheduled to hear his habeas corpus application on November 30.
His lawyer obtained an injunction before acting Justice Andrew Forbes on October 23, to keep him in the country until his matter could be heard in court.
A service form obtained by The Tribune indicates the Attorney General’s Office received the injunction on October 25.
The family claims officials at the Department of Immigration, and the Carmichael Road Detention Centre were also served with the order; however, The Tribune has not seen any proof of service.
Mr Foreste is represented by McKell Bonaby of Arnold Forbes & Co.
Mr Foreste could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Last week, he told The Tribune his time in Haiti had been filled with hardship, hunger and a constant fear for his life.
“You know when people tell you about somewhere you never been, but like you can only imagine it? Well, it’s worse and everyday people are dropping dead,” Mr Foreste said in a telephone interview.
“Everyday I’m seeing cars flipping over, bikes flipping over, many people dead. And stuff in Haiti is expensive, it’s very bad. I’m living with strangers, some nights I go to sleep hungry if my sister don’t send money. A water to drink is $20 Haitian.”
Mr Foreste’s matter is similar to the high-profile case of Jean Rony Jean-Charles, a man born in the Bahamas to migrant parents. Mr Jean-Charles was deported, but later ordered to be brought back from Haiti by a Supreme Court judge.
The Court of Appeal later set aside that landmark decision over concerns about his identity and Mr Jean-Charles has since taken his case to the Privy Council in London.
Ahead of those court proceedings last year, Immigration Minister Brent Symonette said the Immigration Department did not “normally” deport people who were born in the Bahamas. He added he would be “disappointed” if this practice was being carried out.