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Bank services and fees ‘atrocious’

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MINISTER of Foreign Affairs and Public Service Fred Mitchell. Photo: Racardo Thomas/Tribune Staff

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net

FOREIGN Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell criticised bank services in the country, while calling for Parliament’s intervention.

“The services delivered by the banking system in this country are simply atrocious and the fees they’re charging now… and then they’ve not changed the interest rates which they’ve put on the loans that they’re lending out so again, something has to be wrong with this and I think it’s time now for Parliament to intervene in some way,” he said in the House of Assembly.

He noted that Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley had recently chided banks in her country over high fees.

Yesterday Mr Mitchell also said he plans to issue another appeal to American authorities to make travel to the United States visa free for Bahamians, noting that it’s time for Bahamians to be afforded the same rights as Americans when travelling to the country.

Mr Mitchell said trying to get the US policy waived has been a longtime goal of his and added that since being elected to office, he has received numerous complaints from Bahamians who have been denied American visas. His comments came during yesterday’s debate in the House of Assembly on a resolution thanking the Governor General for reading the Speech from the Throne.

“As foreign minister, as soon as I got the job back, the telephone calls were ringing about people wanting to get (visas) who had been turned down for visas trying to get to the United States and I tried to deal with this with many ambassadors,” he said.

“The difficulty is that ambassadors can’t instruct consular officers what to do. The consular officer has the absolute right to make the decision and as I’ve said, the decision is subjective. Notwithstanding that though, I am concerned about the continuing stories that people come and tell me which do not seem to be based on any objective criteria for why a particular Bahamian cannot get access to... in the United States.

“And so, it’s a thing which I want to raise publicly because it needs to be sensitised that we are two countries close together. Americans have the right to come to this country without any visa or process and I think there should be an equivalency of the right of access for the same.

“So, I want to make that public that my view is there should be no visa to go to the States and I told them, and I told their authorities that if the entire population of The Bahamas moved to the States, it wouldn’t even be a blip on the screen. It wouldn’t make any difference whatsoever,” Mr Mitchell added.

Currently, Bahamians are permitted some forms of visa-free travel to America with a police record. However, this is only possible when travelling from The Bahamas through US Pre-Clearance locations at Bahamian airports in Freeport and Nassau.

Comments

SP 8 months ago

Fred Mitchell knows better. He can issue 10,000 appeals to American authorities to make travel to the United States visa free for Bahamians all he wants to. The fact is, untold numbers of Haitians holding Bahamian passports have now made travel to the U.S. much more difficult for "real" Bahamians.

Corruption and slackness in the passport office facilitated 1000's of Haitians acquiring Bahamian passports. The U.S. knows only too well that if these Haitians were allowed into the country they will disappear and never return to the Bahamas!

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DWW 8 months ago

I dont know if i agree with you on that. if they have status in one awesome country why would they want to go back to being undocumented?

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Tarzan 8 months ago

ACLU will sue on their behalf and recover $450,000 in damages per person and up to $1,000,000 in damages per family. It is Lotto in the States.

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FrustratedBusinessman 8 months ago

America is an upgrade for them. Pay is higher, money is under the table so no income tax, cheaper cost of living, they don't even have to live in shanty towns. Add in affirmative action specifically designed to help them and they have it set.

Go to a sanctuary city, you won't be deported in all likelihood. If you do, many "charities" and "non-profits" will provide free legal services.

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Socrates 8 months ago

Good luck to Fred.. i think we all know US citizens and residents have hassle-free access because it is in our interest to allow that for tourism purposes. The US has no such interest from this country. Nevertheless, thrre is the principle of reciprocity so Fred cpuld ask.

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sheeprunner12 8 months ago

Yep ......... we depend on them for tourism numbers and not the other way around. USA holds the trump card against 242 in every sense of the word. We are at the mercy of USA, China and Europe ......... But Fweddy can try

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FrustratedBusinessman 8 months ago

Exactly. He is asking the US to put us on the same level as Canada or the United Kingdom. We should be grateful to God that we have preclearance and can travel visa-free that way if needed. He is looking a gift horse in the mouth by pushing the envelope.

As you mentioned, the US isn't doing it to be nice or kind to us. They are doing it because it is convenient for them. It is a flawed understanding of how diplomacy works. Nobody does something for nothing in return.

That being said, agree with him 100% that the banking is horrid in this country.

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John 8 months ago

Banks have always been using The Bahamas and other Caribbean nations for cash cows. High interests rates and fees on loans and bank services and low or no interest rates on deposits.

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moncurcool 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Currently, Bahamians are permitted some forms of visa-free travel to America with a police record. However, this is only possible when travelling from The Bahamas through US Pre-Clearance locations at Bahamian airports in Freeport and Nassau.

Someone needs to inform the writer of this article that there is no pre clearance in Freeport.

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