Bell resists UN call to suspend deportations to Haiti as situation spirals out of control


IMMIGRATION Minister Keith Bell pictured yesterday. Photo: Moise Amisial

DESPITE calls from United Nations officials to suspend deportations to Haiti, Immigration Minister Keith Bell said The Bahamas has “a job to do” to ensure that officials protect the country for Bahamians.

The Bahamas is facing an influx of Haitian migrants. However, United Nations Secretary General António Gutierrez on Monday called on governments to consider halting deportations as the situation there spirals out of control

Speaking on the sideline of a Labour on the Campus event, Mr Bell recognised the duty of the secretary general, but made it clear what the government has to do.

“The United Nations obviously they seek to ensure that there is harmony, there’s unity among all nations, so obviously that is his job. We in The Bahamas have a job to do to ensure that we protect The Bahamas for Bahamians. It’s as simple as that. The Bahamas as all governments have consistently said we cannot absorb these persons who come in The Bahamas illegally,” he said.

“If you want to come to The Bahamas as a tourist or want to work, then there is a process. If you follow that process, you may be granted access to The Bahamas.

“If you come here illegally and unlawfully, then, of course, there has to be swift justice. We will not tolerate, nor will we support reasonably anyone coming into The Bahamas from undocumented or illegal means you will stay in the jurisdiction you will be deported.”

He also shared doubts that The Bahamas would sign on to provisions allowing for free movement when asked about CARICOM’s freedom of movement or labour within the region.

“I know you’re talking about a treaty – I think the Treaty of Chaguaramas and the (free) movement of people through the Caribbean. The government of The Bahamas, both PLP and FNM, has consistently not signed on to those specific provisions. I do not foresee in the very far future that we’re going to support a free movement throughout this country of anyone.”

Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis said the crisis in Haiti poses a substantial threat to The Bahamas due to an increase in irregular migration.

He spoke earlier this week at the opening session of the heads of summit meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

During his remarks, Mr Davis stated: “With the support and leadership of Haiti, collectively, we can, through CELAC and other regional organisations, help Haitians build a path out of crisis.”

Asked if there was frustration with the international community over addressing Haiti’s issues, the labour minister listed some of the factors that needed to be considered when helping countries.

“I will not say it there is frustration and you would have seen all around the world where first world developed countries, superpowers go into these countries where they need help — where there is a genocide or there is this civil war and the like. When you go into these countries you have to ensure first of all, what is your objective? What are the objectives of you going in? And what would be your exit strategy?

“Haiti has political instability, economic deprivation, and complete social collapse. So you are talking about a myriad of challenges and problems. That problem can only be addressed at the international level and so it isn’t a matter of frustration.

“It’s just a matter of how we’re going to address these issues and challenges and then determine how we can help, but Haiti has 12 million people, The Bahamas cannot under no circumstance, support any illegal and unlawful entry of persons from Haiti and that has extended to Cuba where we’ve had an exponential growth in illegal migrants coming from that country. We will not tolerate it.”


GodSpeed 1 year, 4 months ago

OK United Nations, feel free to absorb the entire Haitian population since you like them so much. Take them to Brussels or New York or Paris, where ever the hell you're headquartered. You want a global government so bad to dictate to nations that are making ends meet. Why don't you go and govern hellholes like Haiti and show us what you can do UN? Go turn Haiti around instead of trying to govern nations that already have functioning governments. Don't tell us what to do!


ExposedU2C 1 year, 4 months ago

Nothing but untruths for public consumption. In fact, Bell is getting filthy rich off of the role he plays in human trafficking.


birdiestrachan 1 year, 4 months ago

Mr Davis is correct Haiti and it's people have to fix Haiti ,


ThisIsOurs 1 year, 4 months ago

They likely dont have as choice, if the Haiti airport isnt functional, no flights can go anyway.

If the UN is looking for a place for the Haitian community they can try Bermuda which only has 60 000 people or Florida both of which are situated economically in a better position than the Bahamas. France is also an option, they can absorb the numbers. Nobody can believe the Bahamas in its depressed state with crumbling health care, education and infrastructure can take on more migrants


BONEFISH 1 year, 4 months ago

Bermuda is only 2i square miles. Bermuda is not and independent country. It is an overseas territory of Great Britain. Bermuda has it's own challenges despite it's high GDP.Cape Haitien airport is open in the north of Haiti. There were flights to it from LPIA this week.


ThisIsOurs 1 year, 4 months ago

"Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis said the crisis in Haiti poses a substantial threat to The Bahamas due to an increase in irregular migration"

"*Substantial threat?" then as requested, here's one of the things we can do that we havent tried already, With immediate effect introduce a policy as allowed by the constitution that children born in the Bahamas where both parents are not Bahamian or either parent has illegal status, do NOT have the right to apply for citizenship. The constitution allows for this policy change in plain language in the interest of national security*. Reinforce the policy that work permit violators must resolve issues from outside the country. These will send a strong signal on what is allowed.

As to the need for migrant workers. Perform a census. Anyone who needs a migrant worker provides proof of the need and workers are regularized through legal permitting process. There must be evidence that work is being performed as nd accept as ble living conditions. Most if these are construction jobs? Well build housing for your workers, with maintenance plans

We know one of the reasons employers might not legally process migrants is cost. So it is better to keep that permit cost low than to have the current situation. And of course we are only talking about menial labour. I'd say 50 dollars per person or less. Excluded from this would be jobs Bahamians are actively seeking employment in and for which there is an adequate supply of nationals. Foreign executives and professionals dont need a reduced rate.


killemwitdakno 1 year, 4 months ago

How fast can you train them to go back as fighters so we don't have to send ours? Do we have enough ground intel?

Then again, the only way to quell the gangs is by air.

Boost the sea patrol. Guard the Inagua route. Eye North Haiti

Let the Chinese Baha Mar builders hire and export them for homeless tiny house developments.


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