0

Immigration ‘Draft’ Should Not Have Been Published

Minister of Immigration and Financial Services Brent Symonette.

Minister of Immigration and Financial Services Brent Symonette.

By RICARDO WELLS

Tribune Staff Reporter

rwells@tribunemedia.net

AFTER roughly two weeks of discussion and public feedback related to what many thought was the consultative process connected to the proposed Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill 2018, Immigration Minister Brent Symonette yesterday revealed the Office of the Attorney General was “premature” in its release of the legislation.

The blunder, disclosed by Mr Symonette outside of Cabinet yesterday, now tentatively halts public input to give way to the Department of Immigration’s needed review and assessment.

The St Anne’s MP said he was presently awaiting a formal response from Dame Anita Allen, chair of the Law Reform and Revision Commission, to changes submitted by his senior staff.

He said once this takes place, he can conclude his review and assessment, moving the bill to its consultative stage.

“The new immigration bill is not out for consultation yet,” Mr Symonette told reporters yesterday.

“It unfortunately was put up on the AG’s website. I have not finished my review of it yet with Dame Anita Allen. When I have, I will make comment on it and put it out further.”

“The premature release of it has resulted in some comments, which have been noted, but that was the idea of the consultation; that the bill would be prepared, it would be presented like I did the Arbitration Bill and go out for wide consultation, come back after possibly the summer break and take another look at it.

“Unfortunately, it got up on the AG’s website prematurely.”

The Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill 2018 - which features expanded grounds for the refusal of citizenship under the constitution, and registration and naturalisation under the law to include terrorism, human and drug trafficking, as well as gang-related activities — has drawn commentary from both the political and civic arenas.

Earlier this month, prominent immigration rights attorney Fred Smith, QC, announced his opposition to a provision in the bill that would prevent people born in the Bahamas to non-Bahamians from becoming citizens if they miss the constitutional window for application.

In the following days, Opposition Leader Philip “Brave” Davis made headlines when he indicated that his party would offer several recommendations to the government related to the bill.

Mr Davis at the time said he had received certain assurances from Dame Anita that the version of the bill in the public domain is not set in stone, leaving room for changes.

Meanwhile, for his part yesterday, Mr Symonette applauded the Law Reform and Revision Commission for its inclusion of clauses that will grant children born to Bahamians outside of the Bahamas to non-Bahamian parents the right to Bahamian citizenship.

The process has been a spot of contention for years in the Bahamas, being most recently rejected as a part of the 2016 gender equality referendum.

Addressing the rejection yesterday, Mr Symonette said he was “surprised” that Bahamian women haven’t picked up on the inclusion and come out in support of it.

“I am constantly amazed that the people of the Bahamas turned that referendum issue down because in my daily life, I am bombarded with that on daily basis and quite often I bring to Cabinet the papers that make those people Bahamian,” he said.

The Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill 2018 as proposed, further seeks to address areas of the constitution relating to what happens to people  born post-independence to two non-Bahamian parents before their 18th birthday and after their 19th birthday; and those born outside of the Bahamas to a Bahamian mother before their 18th birthday and after their 21st birthday.

These issues are derived primarily from articles 7 and 9 of the constitution; but aren’t addressed therein or by later amendments.

The bill will grant individuals in both these categories — born outside of the Bahamas to a Bahamian mother and born inside the Bahamas to two non-Bahamian parents — the “right of abode” or the right to live in the Bahamas while a minor, up to the age of 18.

In the case of those children born to two non-Bahamian parents, they will be given an opportunity to apply for a resident belonger’s permit if they are in the custody and care of a parent or guardian who has the right to live in the Bahamas.

Additionally, this classification of person will now have a right to legally live and work in the Bahamas up to the time they apply to be registered as a Bahamian citizen and while that application is being processed and/or appealed.

The new bill will also establish that these people lose their constitutional right to be registered as Bahamians after their 21st birthday.

Those whose time to apply to be registered has already expired, would be given six months from the date on the bill’s passage to apply for some form of status — naturalisation, permanent residency, etcetera — or face jail time or deportation.

Comments

thephoenix562 1 week ago

"Meanwhile, for his part yesterday, Mr Symonette applauded the Law Reform and Revision Commission for its inclusion of clauses that will grant children born to Bahamians outside of the Bahamas to non-Bahamian parents the right to Bahamian citizenship."

WTH is this?

0

realfreethinker 1 week ago

thephoenix562. Your statement makes no sense. How can children born to Bahamians be born to non Bahamians. Please clear this up

0

Dawes 1 week ago

translation: we are finding out the actual implications of what we proposed and now want to quickly change that, as we hadn't really thought this bill through.

1

bahamian242 1 week ago

This Bill is a Very Very Dangerous Bill! The whole thing needs to be thrown into the Trash! It really is going down instead of going up. Its worst that the first writing of the Constitution in December 1972!

0

Well_mudda_take_sic 1 week ago

Here's what you don't hear the coy and deceitful Brent Symonette trying to explain:

1) Why were we required to have a national referendum to amend our constitution to address many of these very same matters only a few years ago, but we are now no longer required to do so?

2) On what basis are our elected officials seeking to achieve by a vote of themselves only that which our constitution requires a national vote of the Bahamian people? It is the Bahamian people who have the exclusive right to determine who shall be entitled to apply for and obtain Bahamian citizenship under the current provisions of our constitution.

3) Why was this highly contentious balloon mischievously floated by Hubert Minnis, Brent Symonette, Anita Allen and Carl Bethel two weeks ago and allowed to stay in the air for public debate if, as Brent Symonette now says, it should have never been published?

None of the four I mention immediately came forward and said anything about the controversial bill having been inadvertently published. No, they instead sat by and listened carefully to the highly charged public debate. Make no mistake about it, this pugnacious balloon was very deliberately allowed to float about in the public domain for two weeks. Therein lies the coy and deceitful nature of Symonette, Allen, Bethel and Minnis. The Minnis-led FNM government and their elitist political cronies apparently did like like the outcome of the last national referendum on citizenship matters. He we see them boldly thwarting and seeking to defy the previously expressed will of the Bahamian people. They should under no circumstance be allowed to seek through an 'illegal' backdoor that which could not be done to their liking through the 'legal' front door. These are matters that can only be addressed by amending our constitution and that requires a national referendum - a vote of the people - rather than a vote of coy and devious elected officials alone.

2

Well_mudda_take_sic 1 week ago

The operative word "not" is missing from sentence on fifth & sixth lines of last paragraph of my post immediately above. The sentence should read: "The Minnis-led FNM government and their elitist political cronies apparently did not like the outcome of the last referendum on citizenship matters."

0

bogart 1 week ago

DIS BILLS......should first have the numbers of persons involved...??????.....HOW MANY PERSONS ARE INVOLVED.....???????.......HOW MANY ARE LIKELY TO BE INVOLVED IN 1 YEAR....2 YEARS....ADDITIONAL FAMILIES..LEGALLY OR NOT....CRONIES....FRIENDS.....ETC...???????......will the PMH hav to double....Police double....????.....schools built an after repairing present...?????.......what about...culture....language prominance...????.......jus concerns at dis point whole cross da board legislating da country into another country dat Bahamians will become ferreigners legislated by bills in dere own country....????......when last the AUDITOR....been hired to go over da papers in the Immigration Ministry....an like one fixitit fella ever been charged in last 50 years....????..?????.

0

TalRussell 1 week ago

Yes, yes it be's more likes never was no premature blunder..... rather roughly two weeks of discussion and public feedback related to what many thought was the consultative process connected to the proposed Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill 2018, Immigration comrade Minister Brent - didn't exactly likes red hot buttons revealed in the responses he received back proposed legislation, yes, no......... And, in meantime how is Commish of Policeman's doing in locating the now one year in time 'missing' OBAN file- the same OBAN gone missing out the custody of Imperial red shirts cabinet, yes,no - maybe time AG Carl Wilshire to redefine what is definition of a "missing" file, yes, no - sounds like file gone 'missing from custody Imperial red shirts Asylum's, gone all crasy House, yes, no...... Can't just make such red shirts crasiness up?

0

BahamaRed 1 week ago

I DON'T SEE ANYTHING WRONG WITH THE PROPOSED AMENDMENTS.

A CHILD BORN TO A BAHAMIAN MOTHER AND A FOREIGN FATHER SHOULD HAVE A RIGHT TO CITIZENSHIP. WHETHER THEY WERE BORN INSIDE OR OUTSIDE OF THE BAHAMAS.

A CHILD BORN TO FOREIGN PARENTS INSIDE OF THE BAHAMAS SHOULD APPLY AT 18 FOR CITIZENSHIP. UNTIL THEN YOU APPLY TO THE COUNTRY OF YOUR PARENTS BIRTH FOR CITIZENSHIP.

WHY IS THIS CONCEPT SO HARD TO GRASP....CHILDREN BORN TO A BAHAMIAN HAVE A RIGHT TO CITIZENSHIP WHETHER FROM THEIR BAHAMIAN BORN MOTHER OR BAHAMIAN BORN FATHER, AND REGARDLESS OF THEIR COUNTRY OF BIRTH.

CHILDREN BORN TO NON-BAHAMIAN PARENTS HAVE NO RIGHT TO CITIZENSHIP, WHETHER BORN IN THE BAHAMAS OR NOT.

...WE REALLY NEED TO START PAYING CLOSER ATTENTION TO WHAT IS BEING SAID, AND STOP BEING SIDETRACKED BY POLITICS.

1

sheeprunner12 1 week ago

The Bahamas should be for Bahamians (based on the Constitution) ....... non-Bahamians should not feel entitled to our homeland ....... We should have the last say on their citizenship status.

BTW: Are Brent's mother, wife, daughter, son-in-law, or grand-daughter etc. true-true Bahamians?????? If so, how so???????

0

BahamaRed 6 days, 18 hours ago

HOW DO YOU FIGURE IT ISN'T FOR BAHAMIANS?

SO SAY A BAHAMIAN FEMALE HAS A CHILD ABROAD, BRINGS THE CHILD BACK TO THE BAHAMAS, AND THE CHILD IS RAISED HERE- THAT CHILD SHOULDN'T BE BAHAMIAN.

AND SAY A FOREIGN MAN MARRIES A BAHAMIAN WOMAN AND HAS CHILDREN, AND THEY DECIDE TO RESIDE IN THE BAHAMAS- THOSE CHILDREN AREN'T BAHAMIANS.

CAUSE BY LAW NOW- THEY AREN'T

SO WHAT YOU ARE SAYING IS "THE BAHAMAS SHOULD BE FOR BAHAMIANS" ONLY APPLIES TO THOSE BAHAMIANS WHO NEVER LEAVE THE BAHAMAS, AND WHO ONLY PROCREATE WITH OTHER BAHAMIANS WHO HAVE NEVER LEFT THE BAHAMAS...

HELP ME TO UNDERSTAND...CAUSE I FEEL OUR CONSTITUTION AS IT STANDS IS SEXIST AND UNFAIR.

0

TheMadHatter 1 week ago

OH, if we only knew what else should not have been published (and hasn't been).

0

birdiestrachan 1 week ago

The attorney General is in trouble. They should all be embarrassed Did Bethel speak to the PM in waiting before he published the report. Doc is lost in a wilderness of confusion. he has no idea. Those other fellows run the Country in the ground of course. But they run things.

0

Giordano 6 days, 21 hours ago

This bill is just another blunder that will beef up the wrong mentality. "Not less than the plants...,and the stars,we have the right to exist". Now, in the middle of all this mess of "Nationality" which is "An obstacle to human development" and should be something of global consensus trigger by and among global leaders to erase or eliminate " The so called Nationality ". The truth nationality is what you work for,the things that one earns with the 😓 sweat of your forehead acknowledging at all time that all of us are humans with "A Place Of Origin" that we all have in common and this is unchangeable. A human being,at this date & time in the twenty first century,should not be illegal 🚫 anywhere EXCEPT in your house without your consent. Human beings have place of origin,not country. And none of us should own any country. Not event The Qween of England. We may own a house,a car,a bycicle ,a lot ,etc, INSIDE THE COUNTRY,if one wants to sell those belongings,earn by your hard labor ,a sign: "On Sale" must be placed on those items and sell them tomorrow or anytime,they are your. But the country is not your.! YOU CAN'T SELL IT .!! This beautiful archipelago of The Bahamas is a vivid example to pioneering a turning point to humankind not only on Planet Earth but also in the entire Universe by proposing a date to the global communities to be the first to OPEN BORDER UNDER THE CONDITION THAT ALL COUNTRIES DO THE SAME SIMULTANEOUSLY and to have a mix-police according to ethnicity determined by census done by the department of statistics to patrol for public safety and being focus on protection of PRIVATE PROPERTY. Only under those circumstances we will start to appreciate and respect others people language,religion,culture and differents places of origin.

0

TheMadHatter 6 days, 20 hours ago

Bro, you must buy the most expensive high grade weed.

0

Well_mudda_take_sic 1 day, 19 hours ago

Au contraire. Giodano is a classic example of why you should never inhale burning horse dung!

0

licks2 1 day, 12 hours ago

HEHEHEHEHEHEHE. . . .as usual yinna een reading worth a damn. . .or een understanding worth a damn. . .YINNA LET BAHAMARED COME AROUND HERE AND USE THE COMMON SENSE I BEEN TRYNNA GET YALL TO USE FOR EVER!!

The introduction of BR also opened my eyes to something else so very important. . .most er yall around here are basically useless for any kind of sensible dialogue beyond yinna lil political yard scratching chicken, slamming yinna faces into the ground at a rapid rate of dumbness, picking at imaginary worms. . . LOST as far as it relates to sane dialogues. . .acting like jack-asses all the time!! It just dawn on me that: "what if they are not playing the azz. . .but are really and truly dull and for real don't see the city for the smoke"?

0

licks2 1 day, 12 hours ago

My take on how Symonette came out and kicked around about how we "can't do immigration" and his ministry een "send" the new law out. . .this shows that he "may have been the stumbling block" to real hard nose change in the past. . .he had the seat for the last 20 years plus!! He implied that the bill was not "sanctioned by him" to come out to the public. However, we have a 100% "we authorized" the public release. . .right across the board. . . even by Dame of Law Review Commission. . .a woman who "diss" political-sided thinking as so many in this nation wont to do. . . THIS IS THROWN UNDER THE BUS. . .PUBLIC EXECUTION STYLE CUTTING OUT THE CANCER CONCERTED OPERATION!!

The law is being laid down. . . THEY SHUT HE DOOR IN THE FACE OF THE PERSON WHO WAS JAMMING THE DOOR OF GOOD IMMIGRATION POLICIES. . .THEY EEN CUTTING HIM TO PIECES MIND YOU. . .THEY ARE JUST TELLING HIM. . .IT IS FOR THE PEOPLE THEM!! IT IS THE PEOPLE'S TIME!!

0

Sign in to comment