DURING a meeting with United Nations Resident Coordinator Mariko Kagoshima about relief and reconstruction efforts on Grand Bahama and Abaco, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis welcomed an offer of assistance by the UN for Haitian residents affected by Hurricane Dorian.
According to a press release issued by the Office of the Prime Minister, Dr Minnis and Ms Kagoshima discussed what role the UN can play to help Haitian residents displaced by the hurricane and relief initiatives being spearheaded by UN agencies, including: UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund), PAHO (Pan-American Health Organisation), WFP (World Food Programme) and the IOM (International Organisation for Migration).
During the meeting on Monday, Dr Minnis emphasised that undocumented residents will be treated humanely. He noted that all residents affected by Hurricane Dorian were provided with shelter, food and other social assistance regardless of immigration status following the storm, and repatriations were suspended for a period of time. Those repatriations resumed a few weeks after the monster storm tore through Abaco and Grand Bahama.
According to the press release, Dr Minnis reiterated that anyone living in The Bahamas without legal status will be repatriated, according to the country’s laws.
“As has always been the case, Haitian residents who qualify will be provided with the opportunity to be regularised as laid out in the Constitution, said Prime Minister Minnis. Ms Kagoshima praised The Bahamas government’s response to Hurricane Dorian, and thanked the government for working with the UN,” the press release noted.
Last week it was reported that a UN official recently visited the country to verify “worrying” claims of abuse against Haitian migrants.