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Campbell Confirms The Kids In Limbo

Social Services Minister Frankie Campbell.

Social Services Minister Frankie Campbell.

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

THE Bahamas-born grandchildren of Haitian migrants are recognised by the government as stateless, according to Social Services Minister Frankie Campbell, who told a United Nations body the government is working to amend the Nationality Act to ensure no one falls through the cracks.

Mr Campbell clarified the government’s position during the country’s review at the 71st Session of the Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in Geneva last week.

His response contradicts statements made by successive administrations who have denied the existence of such a grouping.

“On the question of statelessness, there is the understanding that legally a person who is the child of someone who is born in Haiti, but (the child) born in the Bahamas after 1973 – and I use Haiti but this is in general to anyone from any other country but because question came specifically as it relates to Haitians – that person has the option of having the nationality of his or her parents until such time as he is 18 years old and has the opportunity to apply for Bahamian citizenship,” Mr Campbell said.

“So in our view that person is not stateless, that person has the option of the nationality of his Haitian, Jamaican, American, or any other parent until such time as allowed by the constitution to apply for Bahamian citizenship.

“Now the person who is actually stateless is the second generation,” he continued, “because the constitution of Haiti does not recognise that individual as being able to get the citizenship of the parents, and because the parents are not legal, then that person is in that state of statelessness.

“However, the state party, the government has recognised that and that is a part of our conversation even now as we speak. We have convened an immigration board, we are looking as I would have indicated at amendments to the Nationality Act to ensure that no one falls through that crack of statelessness.

“So I agree with every instance where it is lamented that the Bahamas is behind on some of our legislation. I acknowledge,” he added, “I want it to be known that we are actively pursuing means by which those matters can be addressed.”

Also at the forum, Jewel Major, chief counsel in the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs, reported to the committee that 207 applications have been processed by the immigration board.

“Since February,” Ms Major said, “the applications of young people who have to apply for naturalisation after they reach 18 before 21. Their mandate is to go through the backlog...try to decrease the chance of statelessness with some of our young people.”

This year marks 25 years that the Bahamas has ratified the CEDAW Convention, and at last Thursday’s session, the Bahamas delegation presented the country’s sixth periodic state report.

Following the report, the state delegation led by Mr Campbell fielded questions from the CEDAW expert panel – among them committee member Marion Bethel, the first Bahamian selected to sit as an expert on the CEDAW Convention.

“On the whole question of undocumented women, particularly women coming from Haiti,” Mr Campbell said, “this is a subject with which I am very intimate. My mother is Haitian from Haiti, and so I am familiar with the plight of that grouping of persons.

“I’m also familiar with the fact that the Bahamas and Haiti have signed onto a number of accords and they’re all in agreement that Haitian migrants, including women, would be properly processed and there is a line of communication. We have an embassy in Haiti. Haiti has diplomatic representation in the Bahamas, and so the line of communication is open and under the most humane circumstances those persons, once processed and meet the criteria between the two embassies, are repatriated to Haiti.”

Addressing statelessness, Mr Campbell was responding to questions from Austrian CEDAW expert and former judge Lilian Hofmeister, who was critical of the country’s efforts to bring its legal framework in line with several international conventions.

Ms Hofmeister said it was a “pity” the government did not withdraw its reservation on CEDAW Article 9-2, which speaks to providing women equal rights with men with respect to the nationality of their children.

“The concept of equity is wrongful,” Ms Hofmeister said. “It is a pity that two referenda regarding transmitting nationality to children whose mothers are married to foreign husbands failed although the ratification of CEDAW was in 1993. And meanwhile, the population of the Bahamas should have developed a proper understanding of equality.

She said: “There exists no refugee legislation providing rights and judicial remedies. Asylum seekers and refugees are treated on an ad-hoc basis. This means without legal basis.”

For her part, the Austrian expert was critical of the country’s treatment of foreign nationals and their children in comparison to its approach on foreign investment.

She said the burden to risk statelessness for their spouses and children was placed on women due to discriminatory laws, and noted Haitians were an “important minority” that suffered “exceptionally from this unlawful situation.”

“Bahamian men have the right to confer their citizenship on their foreign spouses automatically,” she said, “but Bahamian women don’t have the same right.

“Not to be a Bahamian citizen means potentially detention, possibly deportation, problems with access to education, healthcare, employment, and a lack of economic and political participation. Let me make a comparison to put it bluntly: foreign money and investment finds a ready welcome, foreign individuals, especially children, often do not.

“Or in other words,” she added, “shareholders and investments can say with good reason it is better in the Bahamas, mothers and their children often cannot.”

Comments

SP 11 months, 3 weeks ago

According to the Haitian Constitution, these people are of Haitian heritage an therefore all entitled to Haitian citizenship.

The Bahamas needs man up like the Dominican Republic did.

And like him or hate him, President Trump is leading the way in reversing laws that are damaging to the USA! We need to protect the Bahamas for indigenous Bahamians NOT generations of supplanted Haitians that will never be "one" with us!

https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-end-...">https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-end-...

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hrysippus 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Hey, sp, are you one of those people who think black Bahamians are indigenous? Sigh, D-.

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SP 11 months, 3 weeks ago

@ hrysippus....Let me be clear. In simple terms, we the people of the Bahamas, inheritors of these here rocks and cays, having been routinely spat upon and disrespected by your ungrateful Haitian parasites NO LONGER WELCOME ANY PEOPLE OF HAITIAN HERITAGE HERE!

All Haitians and every one of Haitian descent needs to go back to the country you love so much, fly your Haitian flags, speak Creole, and celebrate Haitian flag day with dignity.

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Sickened 11 months, 3 weeks ago

If a child is stateless then the only people to blame are the parents and grandparents of that child. It is a parents responsibility to register their children where they belong and to get those children the documents necessary for all instances and emergencies.

I can't imagine me as a parent moving to another country for work, having a child there and saying to myself "the child can deal with this when she's 18". And knowing that until then the child can't leave this new country for any reason. I would kick myself in the nuts for being so ignorant!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 11 months, 3 weeks ago

LMAO. They are right up in our face now ....... won't be too long before they are calling all the shots in the governance of their newly claimed country.....a country they are in the process of claiming for themselves by outright invasion. Bahamians of non-Haitian heritage are going to look back one day and ask themselves: "Why did we let this happen to us? How could we have been so stupidly docile?"

Frankie Campbell himself is in the very limbo he talks about. But dimwitted Minnis decided to give him a free-pass by anointing him as the FNM's official creole speaking emissary to the Haitian community at large. Yep, really LMAO.

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DDK 11 months, 3 weeks ago

"Why did we let this happen to us? How could we have been so stupidly docile?"

Mudda, I do believe we are already asking that question!

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ohdrap4 11 months, 3 weeks ago

why is the social services minister pontificating in immigtration matters, he is not even a lawyer.

it is like the nurse who is talking about abortion legalization

.

it is not their prerrogative.

these foreign bodies want them to get their foot in their mouth.

if i were there i would say that i would refer this matter to the aatorney general and get back to them.

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ohdrap4 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Austrian expert

was critical of the country’s treatment of foreign nationals and their children in comparison to its approach on foreign investment.

Austrian expert? they must have kicked her out of Austria , because that is now the country in europe which is the least interested im migrants plight.

i guess this woman is not a prophet in her own land lol lol

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DEDDIE 11 months, 3 weeks ago

During my travel, guess what, I met a Bahamian living in Austria. He said he was living there for over 20 years.

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ohdrap4 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I believe you. But I presume he is not there illegally.

You might want to check the following news:

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/0...">https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/0...

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TheMadHatter 11 months, 3 weeks ago

"...the government is working to amend the Nationality Act to ensure no one falls through the cracks..."

Too late. They fell though the "crack" in the delivery room and wound up being our problem.

These are some of the most disgusting people on Earth - them and the idiots at the U.N. Why the hell are Haitians our problem? What country can Bahamians go to and be taken care of and force laws to be changed?

PLEASE tell me the name of that country so i can head to the airport in the next 5 minutes to claim my rights.

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birdiestrachan 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Campbell no problem you will soon be the FNM leader and PM . The peoples time voters will see to it. Then you can change what ever you wish in the immigration laws.

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TheMadHatter 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Birdie - you are 100% correct. Nobody understands "majority rule" better than Haitians. Pindling could school from dem.

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geostorm 11 months, 3 weeks ago

@sickened, your comment just made me laugh out loud. But you do have a valid point. How can you go to another country and hold your children back like that. Wow. I've said this before and will say it again, these people caused this on themselves!

Also, Ms. Austria really needs to go have several seats!

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licks2 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Mr Campbell don't know what going on in Haiti. . .that article no longer exist in the Haitian constitution!! Yall can relax man. . .nobody with sense will take that woman serious. . .telling the Bahamas about not allowing a mother to pass on birthright if she has a baby for an overseas man is unlawful according to CEWDA. . .the she come right around and say "yinna making children stateless because Haitian mothers can't born 3rd generation Haitian children in Bahamas. . .yinna have to change them bad laws"!! She calling the Bahamas backward and illegal for doing the same dang thing Haiti is doing to those 2nd generation by not allowing Haitian mothers to have Haitian children if they are not born in Haiti. . .but more egregiously stateless than they speculate that the Bahamas does!! She requires from us something that no other state, including her own does!! You don't come in my country illegally, have ya children and then ya home government tells you they can't come back home and you require us to take the against our laws and you let Haiti go playing tidily winks! Our delegation was "all bitch-up" if ya ask me. . .ya simply had a dumb woman running rabbits over a dumber Bahamian delegate. . .under a leader who did not have a clear cut grasp of what he do!

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My2centz 11 months, 3 weeks ago

There is no law that prevents Haitian citizens born abroad from passing their citizenship onto their offspring. This is the same of any other nationality. Intentionally forgoing a critical part of the citizenship application process should not create entitlements and claims to statelessness when it truly does not exist. Mr Campbell has a vested interest in this matter, and is simply trying confuse what is already clear just to make it easier for Haitians to obtain status

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Schemer18 11 months, 3 weeks ago

This country is in a mess, & this man is talking to these people outside the country giving them the wrong information. He is not instilling in these outsiders head that these migrants illegally entered the Bahamas borders, & just about every other week a sloop load of 200 plus comes in with illegal children, pregnant illegal mothers, along with their illegal baby daddies.

He talking about the Bahamas is making adjustments with our laws, they better stop talking garbage to accommodate these illegals, & they are dropping these illegal children like cockroaches.

The Bahamas CANNOT accommodate anymore of these people from Haiti, & they are already in our Family Islands overpopulating. We cannot help Haiti any longer with receiving their over load, & to tell them people to ask the other Southern Caribbean countries to start taking on these illegal Haitian boat people, the Bahamas - Turks & Caicos are the ONLY two countries that accepted these illegal boat people.

We the Bahamas CANNOT take on anymore burden from Haiti, & they are over populating our country.

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DDK 11 months, 3 weeks ago

99% AGREED! Not certain that countries in the Caribbean have not accepted migrants from Haiti, but you may be right. They seem to spread like wildfire!

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licks2 11 months, 3 weeks ago

This situation reminds me of the 1937 Parsley massacre. . .they are doing the same thing here in the Bahamas as was done to cause the uprising!! I would advise persons to check their history of Haitians "bullying" nationals about adjusting their national laws to accommodate them and their refusal to return to their own nation!! This kind of up raising took place in the DR recently. . .many were killed and about half million were "by law" thrown out of the country. . .basically telling the UN them. . .GO TO HELL. . .IF YINNA WANT TO GIVE THEM A BLIGH. . .TAKE THEM TO YOUR COUNTRY!!

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