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Editorial: Government Headstrong Over Immigration

NEVER mind what other people are saying, the Bahamas government is going to do things its own way.

Never mind local activists, international agencies or even the United Nations, the Bahamas government must be right. Mustn’t it?

Sure, its tough line on immigration and shanty towns has stirred concerns from the likes of Rights Bahamas and Fred Smith, QC. The sight of Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis kicking a shanty town door down raised the worries of the Bahamas Christian Council. And sure, migrants who had just lost their jobs – along with everything else in their lives after Hurricane Dorian - might have been ordered by Attorney General Carl Bethel to leave the country. But the government persists in believing it is right and above criticism.

So when the United Nations called on The Bahamas to halt deportations of Haitians and other undocumented migrants over a lack of individual assessments and guarantees of due process – which people are entitled to under international law – Carl Bethel came out blazing, saying it was unfortunate the UN applied standards to The Bahamas that were not enforced in their own countries. It’s a good job Mr Bethel doesn’t have a job in the diplomatic corps.

Indeed, he goes on to claim that the UN should not prejudge an issue “based on something that they would’ve heard… from some social activist group”.

Call us sceptical, but we doubt the UN issues a statement urging caution based on every complaint off Facebook. Mr Bethel is seeking to minimise the nature of the concern. What the UN acts upon is evidence – and statements from activists forms part of that.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has now responded, saying that the decision to resume the implementation of immigration laws was a “painstaking, conscientious, but necessary” one following “careful analysis”. That is indeed excellent to hear – not least of all because it must mean there is considerable documentation relating to that decision that we would encourage the government to publish in full to demonstrate their reasoning. In fact, we would insist – it’s not enough just to say they thought hard about it, show us the communications that led to the reversal of the decision on deportations.

For example, the government says that contrary to what has been alleged by the UN, they have received no reports of people leaving shelters for fear of arrest. That’s one of those statements that sounds good until you think about it. How many people leaving shelters would stop by the government desk on the way out and say oh, by the way, I’m leaving before you arrest me?

“Our immigration officers do not deport persons willy-nilly,” insists Mr Bethel. We must assume then that all is well. That there really was no problem over Jean Rony Jean-Charles’ deportation from The Bahamas. That there was nothing wrong with the incident in July that saw the house of Rights Bahamas chairperson Mona Agenor raided. That in fact the government has rushed to put in place the protective measures demanded for Rights Bahamas activists by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights two years ago. That Kenyan Douglas Ngumi was perfectly well treated when he was illegally detained for six years and seven months at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre.

There is a trust deficit when it comes to how matters of immigration are often handled, so it can be of little surprise that the UN pays attention when further concerns are raised. This isn’t just gossip and rumour.

But one thing is certain. We are delighted to hear that the government insists that this is a country that strictly adheres to the rule of law. We look forward to the strict application of the law when it comes to MPs making their financial disclosures. We look forward to it with regard to the tabling of audits and reports as required by law. After all, we would assume that there is not one law for one and another for MPs.

Comments

jamaicaproud 4 weeks ago

Bird beak. What is this? Is rights Bahamas a shareholder in the Tribune? Let me go pop some corn.

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ThisIsOurs 4 weeks ago

I have a suggestion. create a low cost community right in lyford cay for the illegal migrants. The residents won't allow a slum to pop up, they can pay wages to adequately compensate the immigrants for suitable housing and their labourers can easily commute to their places of work.

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Emac 3 weeks, 6 days ago

Exactly! These people are NOT living in the real world!

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Ton_Heijnmans 4 weeks ago

... They're not many species living on Planet Earth.

Capable, of screwing their õwn zelf








Impregnation, using its own tongue.

Dogs do that. Or, at least, try.

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My2centz 4 weeks ago

Mr Bethel was absolutely correct. The Bahamas is no position to continue breaking its own laws to enforce birthright citizenship because a few bleeding hearts, and illegal Haitians, demand it. It also cannot end deportations whenever an international agency, same agency who callously pulled out of Haiti mid crisis, demands such. The Bahamas cannot realistically sustain all Haitians that enter its borders, or the many children they decide to have without sinking itself.

Poor uneducated Haitians cannot develop this nation. This is why those who fight for the Haitain/Bahamian status quo, never seem genuine. And the UN simply doesn't care that one black nation is pulling another down, that is status quo for them. And they don't have to challenge world powers to do better or lend assistance We cannot let the few well off Bahamians, the ones who can afford to hire Haitians, visit private clinics and enroll their kids in private schools make decisions that negatively poor Bahamians without regard for them.

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My2centz 4 weeks ago

If editorials like these are meant to be taken seriously, and not a tool for "Rights" Bahamas, it should refrain from using dishonest phrases and intentionally misleading situations. Yes, the PM was chastized for kicking down the door of a shanty town home. However, the accusation was from a useless organization with the same agenda as "Rights Bahamas". Please use your public forum to tell the full story, the truth. It was an unoccupied already destroyed home in the final phase of demolition...and using brunt human force is a method employed to do just that. Most people know this, and this is why it did not gain traction the first time around. This fake imagery, is onky meant to project the lie to the world that Haitians are being brutalized from the top down. It's digusting and very misleading.

I can never wrap my around how false narratives, speaking down to Bahamaians, never addressing how to improve poor Bahamian lives thru Haitian immigration is seen as an effective tool in the fight for Haitian acceptance, and making the path to citizenship easier. I am appalled at the lengths that the few who benefit from Haitian labor and the out of touch elitists would go. They'd rather see Bahamas fall, and to see already down and out Bahamians suffer than present meaningful solutions that can benefit everyone.

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Emac 3 weeks, 6 days ago

Exactly! And it seems as if the radio talk show hosts take the same stance in this illegal migrant debacle. It's as if they are all basing their feedback on emotions, instead of hardcore facts. How ironic since those who hold the represent the forth estate should be objective. I can't believe that these people live in the same country as we do!

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joeblow 4 weeks ago

Countries have laws, the governments responsibility is to enforce them for the general well being! May they continue to enforce the law in all things, including immigration!

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CatIslandBoy 3 weeks, 6 days ago

I never believed the day would come that I would read a "fake" editorial in the Tribune - probably written by Fred Smith from his recovery bed. Such garbage!

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birdiestrachan 3 weeks, 6 days ago

for the elite is has become the fashion to defend the poor Haitians. so long as all of us black folks stay at the bottom of the ladder looking up at them. so they can glory in their "I am so much better than them"

I will believe their bleeding hearts as soon as shanty towns are on the Eastern Road and in Lyford and Smith Point. Smith Point which has nothing to do with Fred Smith.

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mckenziecpa 3 weeks, 6 days ago

The real problem sending a few Haitians back does very little to reduce the 125,000 entrenched into communities. Just how do you weed them out? r this point it is not going to happen so the Bahamas at this point should focus on stopping

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Emac 3 weeks, 6 days ago

It beats doing nothing at all, Mr. Mckenzie. But I believe that this and other tactics must be adopted if the Bahamas government is to make a dent in this problem!

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