‘Savage’ Response By Govt To Migrants


Tribune Staff Reporter


RIGHTS Bahamas criticised the government’s “savage and cold-hearted” position on displaced Hurricane Dorian migrant victims, pledging yesterday to alert international human rights groups to the policy.

The group’s statement came after Attorney General Carl Bethel said migrants who lost their jobs because of the storm “need to go home” even if they have unexpired work permits. The Department of Immigration also specified that prospective employers of migrants must prove applicants have satisfactory living conditions to get a permit.

After suspending apprehension and repatriation exercises immediately following the storm, the government has escalated its rhetoric about migrants in recent weeks. Last week, Minister of Immigration Elsworth Johnson and Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis told The Tribune undocumented migrants affected by the storm will have no special protection from deportation. 

The Minnis administration says its position has never changed but recent comments have baffled those who interpreted its early statements as signs displaced residents would be given a reprieve or special consideration because of their circumstance.

Rights Bahamas said yesterday: “We condemn this sudden about-face from the government’s earlier declaration that it will not target migrant victims of the storm and denounce the scheme for (what) it clearly is – a shameful attempt at political posturing aimed at currying favour with xenophobic elements of the populace.

“What’s more, Mr Bethel’s call for migrants who have lost their jobs because of Dorian to leave the country is hollow and disingenuous. How will those who have lost their property, their money and probably their travel documents manage to leave? This is nothing more than a precursor and excuse for an exercise of mass illegal deportation without due process.”

As many as 41 percent of people in Abaco’s shanty towns had status through their work permits, according to a 2018 government report. Some of the businesses that employed them are considering how to provide accommodations for staff. 

Mr Johnson said the government has the discretion to give businesses time to regain their footing and provide proper accommodations for their workers, though he reiterated the administration’s position that people who lost their jobs should go home because they will not be taken care of by the state.

Rights Bahamas called this inhumane.

“To know that people have lost their homes, jobs, everything and then declare that they must prove they are employed and have satisfactory living conditions - whatever this arbitrary phase is supposed to mean - or else leave the country immediately, is the height of cynicism and cruelty,” the group said. “Migrants on work permits have broken no law; the storm was not their fault. This move will undoubtedly affect hundreds of children of migrants born in the Bahamas, effectively denying them the right to Bahamian citizenship as mandated by the constitution. Once expelled with their parents, we all know that they will never be allowed back in to access their birthright. For many, this could mean being rendered stateless if their parents have passed away/and or they have no way to prove their connection to whatever country our government is planning to expel them.

“Rights Bahamas is using all of its international partners to vocally condemn this declaration by the Bahamas government. We are also reporting the matter to the UNHCR and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, with a view to seeking precautionary measures to protect the migrant population.”

The government’s position comes as the country continues to seek donations and international help in the wake of Hurricane Dorian and as officials have encouraged foreigners to visit the country and inject money into the economy. Before Cabinet yesterday, reporters asked Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest if he is concerned the country will lose out on donations and help from the international community because of the government’s stance towards some migrants affected by the storm.

He said: “This is a very sensitive issue and we want to be particularly careful with respect to the impressions we are giving to the international community as to how we are handling the migrant situation. Let me say, those persons who have a legal right to be here, either through permanent residency or citizenship or through work permit that is active, they are free to do and conduct their business as they’ve always done.

“But the government has been resolute with respect to illegal migration which is a continued sensitivity for the Bahamian people. We are resolute with respect to managing the inflow of illegal migrants and we will continue to execute the laws of the Bahamas with respect to immigration. We have to handle the matter with sensitivity. There has unfortunately been so much social media misinformation and sensationalism that has gone out and it has raised the ire of the Bahamian community and unfortunately sometimes we make some statements in anger that may give an incorrect impression about who we are as a people and our concern about these people as humans. We have to ensure that the international community understands our response, understand that we are responsible members of the global community and we appreciate our obligation to ensure that human rights are respected in all of the things that we do in managing this situation that we have.”


joeblow 11 months, 4 weeks ago

What is "savage" is the absolute ingratitude and sense of entitlement shown by those who have entered this country illegally,given birth en masse, corruptly gained "papers" while financing continuing waves of illegals.

The government has to make it clear that nobody who entered this country without having come through a legal port of entry has a right to be in the country REGARDLESS of the pieces of paper they have in their hand or what they paid to get them.

The government must also stop Haitian evacuees in shelters from jumping back on the mailboat and going back to Abaco without having been processed.

Rights Bahamas has the blood of its dead comrades on its hands!!


Giordano 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Affected human being by hurricane Dorian should have special considerations because of circumstances and also nobody has said anything regarding the fact that some private American Foundations targeted and carried nearly all porkcakes Dogs from Abaco to U.S.A. ignoring badly affected human beings ,mainly The Hatians ,unlike Dogs who didn't have any form of ID and didn't ask to go to U.S.A.,on the contrary,Hatians were there for such a long time with the hope,one day,to reach American Soil in order to have a better life but American still carried all those dogs and left all those Hatians which includes a lot of innocent children and women still now abandoned in Abaco. That is unacceptable. They should address humans first, for being created at the image and similarity to Almighty God. Not the dogs.


Sickened 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Lol! So animals should suffer until all human's are cared for? Make the vets help human's first - was the chant!!! double LOL!!


Ton_Heijnmans 11 months, 4 weeks ago

You don't get it.

Chinese expression "gone to the dogs" attempts to explain the aftermath of a Harbour Wave.

Tsu means Harbor, like, say, Marsh harbor namï is a plural of wave. Like, say, lots of dead folks.

Canines are extremely agile, nimble and lightweight.

These characteristics enable canines to hop from flotsam to jetsam. Debris that floats.

Humans are usually all killed. Then there's nothing. No international aid in the olden days. A place laid waste in olden times was also a dangerous place.

This is because, Canines have amazing sense of smell, and very long incisors. When hungry, they'll dig a hole to get to whatever they've sniffed out.

In most cases, that used to mean the cadavers of those killed by the harbour wave. The humans. They're not agile to start with, heavy, and when dead, they sink under the rolling debris.

And they're very, very good at it. Doesn't take long for the rabies and the water-fear to set in.

That's the reason the Chinese despise and (traditionally) harbour intense hatred of the canine.

Some love to kill canines, and then eat them for supper.

Because of this historical.... relationship; and likely seafarers' tales of islands they'd encountered after having been leveled by a Harbour Wave of the magnitude that swept over you people last month.


Well_mudda_take_sic 11 months, 4 weeks ago


This article is pathetic effort by The Tribune staff to incite contempt and anger by "true' Bahamians towards illegal Haitian aliens for the purpose of increased circulation and readership, i.e. profits for The Tribune owners.

The article is also a feeble attempt to persusade PM Minnis and the FNM party that they would be committing political suicide if they insist on our immigration laws being vigorously enforced with respect to the illegal Haitian community when in fact the opposite is the case.

Meanwhile 'true' Bahamians have every reason to be most concerned that the illegal Haitian community is now represented by the United Haitian Common Front (UHCF) which appears to be a serious precursor to the formation of a political party.

When was the last time The Tribune published an article written by one of its staff reporters or editorial staff members that was supportive of the very real concerns the vast majority of 'true' Bahamians have about the invasion of their country by many thousands of illegal Haitian aliens?

Expect to soon see The Tribune giving plenty of coverage to QC Smith's outrageous positions in support of the illegal Haitian community and against the interests of the great majority of 'true' Bahamians.


My2centz 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Actually the most savage response was by Fred Smith. He fought tooth and nail to maintain the "established villages", that ultimately led to the demise of hundreds. But later claimed, "no blood" on his hands because they had nowhere to go. However, if the majortiy were legal and employed above minimum wage as the governement report cites, they had same options as everyone else. He encouraged them to squat and claim land that didn't belong to them, and it didn't end well. And to add insult, he didn't bother to alter his vacation plans as they dealt with the aftermath. That's real savageness.


Well_mudda_take_sic 11 months, 4 weeks ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.


jt 11 months, 4 weeks ago

Resentful that a man who speaks for the downtrodden didn’t die. Stay classy, mudda.


momoyama 11 months, 4 weeks ago

"speaks for the downtrodden"? or uses them for his own vainglorious attention-seeking, while gaining brownie points with the gullible. He cared so much about the people who died as a result of his pro-shantytown activities that he was off in Europe paragliding while their bodies were still being pulled from the rubble. If he had succumbed, many, many thinking Bahamians would have bid him good riddance. The man is scum on legs.


Well_mudda_take_sic 11 months, 4 weeks ago

For decades now countless downtrodden 'true' Bahamians have had their lives either shortened or pre-maturely ended because of our overwhelmed healthcare system that has failed under the weight of many thousands of illegal Haitian aliens. And QC Smith could not care any less about this tragic situation which he has been very instrumental in creating. Keep in mind too that many lives were snuffed out by Dorian thanks to QC Smith impeding the government's ability to remove them from the shanty towns and repatriate them back to Haiti. No my friend, the very despicable QC Smith is not a man worthy of classy treatment by anyone ....... not even the illegal Haitian aliens themselves.


My2centz 11 months, 4 weeks ago

So he trods on other people, so he can lift other people up? This makes as much as sense as Fred Smith's evolving "rule of law".


sealice 11 months, 4 weeks ago

It's a great policy - I think we need to adopt the policies more similar to other islands in the caribbean and just ship these people out as soon as they are realized to be ILLEGALLY in the country and in violation of our laws...... these liberal fools think that just because the police don't stop people running red lights we should let the entire hayshun nation into the country WTF good is that going to do anyone or anything Bahamian??
Why don't right's Bahamas go set up in Haiti plenty more pitiful people down there for you to whine over and am sure their gubmints policy's are much worse then ours you could cry about that to!


geostorm 11 months, 4 weeks ago

I don't see what's so hard to get about this. If you are illegal, you can not be here. Immediately following the storm, deportations were suspended in order to get people to safety. That was humane and in keeping with international standards. At that time, saving lives was of utmost importance. Now that we are in the rebuilding phase, all illegals must leave. While rebuilding, you can not have illegal immigrants here using up resources meant for Bahamians. No where else in the world would that be allowed to happen.


Giordano 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Human beings should not be illegal anywhere EXCEPT in your house without your permission or consent. PLANET EARTH 🌎 ,so far, is the only place in the entire Universe created for & sustain human life and many other living things. Our own creations of rules,laws and regulations should be more focus on the protection of PRIVATE PROPERTY and the preservation of human life under an environment of also human dignity & respect. Period !!.


Sign in to comment