Bran: Give Short-Term Provisional Status

Branville McCartney

Branville McCartney


Deputy Chief Reporter


FORMER State Immigration Minister Branville McCartney thinks undocumented migrants who were displaced by Hurricane Dorian should be given provisional status as a measure for the government to get a handle on an illegal migration problem that could easily spiral out of control.

In an interview with The Tribune yesterday, the former minister explained that this measure would allow proper monitoring of those in the country illegally.

Once done, he said, stipulations could then be put in place that make it mandatory for these status holders to pay taxes.

This designation, he said, should come with an expiration date at which time the government may then decide whether or not to renew it.

Mr McCartney is the second public figure to come forward in recent weeks with the concept of granting provisional status to those affected by Hurricane Dorian.

Earlier this month, Haitian Chargé D’Affaires Dorval Darlier called on the government to allow temporary asylum for those undocumented migrants affected by the monster storm. He said this would be the best way the Minnis administration could help his people as it would take years for them to rebuild their lives.

“The government certainly did the right thing in suspending deportations in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian,” Mr McCartney told The Tribune. “I think what needs to happen initially is to ensure that the persons who have been displaced, firstly determine who they are and I think this is a good opportunity to determine who the persons who are illegal in this country are and it is certainly suggested that now is the time to start registering these people.

“Had the hurricane not occurred, these persons would have still been in this country, thousands of them. So, I think this is an opportunity now to register who’s in your country.

“Now the rebuilding and restoration is going to take some time. It’s not going to happen overnight and while that is happening I would assume the deportations would cease for a certain period of that time. We don’t know what timeframe that is.

“So the suggestion is that these persons be registered. The unfortunate event of the hurricane has occurred. Many of these persons have been displaced and now is the time for registration and as I’ve suggested, it may be prudent during that period of time for these persons to have some kind of temporary status with a time limit placed on it for a renewal of that status or a determination as to whether or not that status ought to be renewed, so that these persons who are here in light of the suspension of the repatriations now can help contribute to our society by paying their taxes and being able to do certain things so that it doesn’t all fall on the government and the tax payers of this country.”

He continued: “I think we need to, from an immigration standpoint, see how best we could start to rectify our illegal immigration concerns. If this is not handled right, certainly we stand on the cusp of a more serious problem.

“It is certainly understandable for the repatriations to cease for a period but use that period of time to get information on those persons who are here illegally in particular.

“Look at it as doing something that would allow them, since they are here, to pay for their way here by paying the taxes, because we do know that a lot of the illegals, they use our social services, they use our educational system and our health system and this is a drain our society and they are not paying any taxes. So while they’re here put it in place where they are able to pay taxes.

“Now I think that covers both bases in the sense of looking at a humanitarian point of view, the government would be suspending the repatriations for a period of time and in the meantime those persons who are here illegally will have to contribute to this society,” the former Bamboo Town MP said.

However, yesterday, government officials indicated that while repatriations of affected persons had been suspended in the immediate aftermath of the storm, the migrants face no protections and will be subject to the country’s laws of apprehension and deportation.

Immigration Minister Elsworth Johnson said about three weeks ago that officials had no intention of granting undocumented storm victims any special status.


Millennial242 1 year, 10 months ago

How will you determine the difference between the undocumented individuals displaced by Hurricane Dorian versus the undocumented individuals that have been living here for months/years and were never in the path of Dorian? Most of the displaced were brought to shelters in Nassau. If they were slick enough to get into this country illegally, I'm pretty sure they are slick enough to sneak into one of the shelters and pretend to be a victim of Dorian. Just food for thought...may need to flesh out some more details about this. The devil's in the details.

The recommendation may need to include all undocumented...however, that then looks like a stone's throw away from a path to citizenship. Secondly, have we boosted our sea patrol? At this very moment, the word may be out that defence force is stretched thin, and it's easier for more immigrants to find their way to our shores. This is a very tricky situation for the government.


joeblow 1 year, 10 months ago

Terrible idea. This will force displaced Abaconians and Grand Bahamians to compete with Haitians for limited jobs in Nassau. Chaos will ensue and the cultural divide will only be deepened. Provisions must be made ASAP to repatriate as many as possible to reduce competition for jobs, maintain law and order and reduce crime!


Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 10 months ago

McCartney must really think the Bahamian people are as stupid as he is.

Most Bahamians know that if you give the illegal Haitian community an inch they will quickly take a mile, and then proceed take even much more than that.

We would be most foolish to even crack the door to residency for illegal Haitian aliens because we would never stand a chance of being able to get it closed again.

Every time McCartney opens his mouth, he reveals just how damn stupid he truly is.

The many many thousands of illegal Haitian aliens need to be rounded up and repatriated. Suggestions that their low-cost labour is needed for the debris removal work and rebuilding of Abaco are totally absurd. Such suggestions are a slap in the face to the many thousands of 'true' Bahamians who are in desperate need of fair paying employment opportunities, especially younger Bahamian men.


DiverBelow 1 year, 10 months ago

So how many Nassau'vians are going to give up their air conditioners to go to work in Abacos' restorations? Living in on-site tents, community kitchens & bath houses? The Haitian/Bahamian born community would provide this manpower in exchange for registration/temporary work permits, provided there is a means to legitimate residency status in their adopted land. The government must consider all available resources & recourse, national & international, to rebuild Dorian's devastation. You must lead to the Objective, not igniting old political fires for political gain.


Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 10 months ago

Exploitative greedy Bahamians with your mindset were responsible for the creation of the shanty towns in Abaco that were blown away Dorian. There are thousands of young Bahamian men living under undesirable conditions on New Providence Island that would welcome fair paying job opportunities associated with the clean up and rebuilding of Abaco's flattened communities save for the shanty towns that must remain a thing of the past. The greediest among us will just need to get used to paying fair day's pay for a fair day's work.


jamaicaproud 1 year, 10 months ago

So you admit that not only Haitian people live in deplorable conditions whether by carelessness not happenstance


Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 10 months ago

You sure do like to whistle in the wind.....


SP 1 year, 10 months ago

"Give up their air conditioners"?? You are totally out to lunch! Thousands of unemployed Bahamians throughout the country being kept below the poverty line by illegal Haitian migrants would be delighted for the opportunity to get the hell out of Nassau for a while AND earn a steady wage to support their families!

The government needs to FINALLY BEGIN protecting the Bahamas for Bahamians. We do not need any Haitian laborers for the cleanup and restoration of Abaco or Freeport!

It is people like you that perpetrate this illegal Haitian problem under the false pretense that Haitians are doing work that Bahamians refuse to do. Nothing could be further from the truth. Any Bahamian is willing to do a fair days work for a fair days wage.

People like you want a days work for less than its value AND servitude! Bahamians do not play the "big grin" "yes boss" bullshyt, and that is why the likes of you prefer Haitians!


geostorm 1 year, 10 months ago

"the suspension of the repatriations now can help contribute to our society by paying their taxes and being able to do certain things so that it doesn’t all fall on the government and the tax payers of this country.”

Bran, while that may sound good on paper, it ain't gonna happen! Bahamians rarely want to pay taxes to the government, so imagine these people. They can barely make ends meet and live in poverty. They will continue to milk the system and take whatever they can get. That's not to sound disrespectful, but what illegal immigrant given some type of status will pay taxes?

They will more than likely, take what they make and send it back to their homes.


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