Tribune Staff Reporter


IMMIGRATION Minister Fred Mitchell said yesterday the Government is considering introducing a National Identification Card as well as charging persons who knowingly hire illegal immigrants in an effort to deal with the country’s long standing illegal migration problem.

Mr Mitchell said in 2014 the issue of immigration will be “front and centre” on the government’s agenda.

“I cannot make that decision, the question of a nation identity card is an issue which has been mooted and is a discussion point. The technology is certainly available to do it, particularly since you already either have to get a passport or a national insurance number. So the technology and the infrastructure is there to do it, but the question of whether we go that route is a matter for the Cabinet and not for me, but there is certainly going to be recommendations made given the way the pubic is complaining about this issue and some of the measures may be far reaching and will require new thinking on the part of Bahamians on how we conduct our business and the civil liberties which we enjoy,” he said.

“To me the most intrusive one is the question of ‘do you have the right to be here’ and ‘how you prove that right’, you can only prove it if you have a document which says you have a right to be here. So people will get use to the idea of carrying around some documentation that shows you have a right to be here so when these immigration checks take place, it shows you are a Bahamian citizen or you have a right to be in the Bahamas.”

Mr Mitchell said the repatriations in the last few months has been draining on the Department of Immigration, not just in terms of money but also in human resources

“As you know for immigration during this past year it has been quite a challenging time for us and right now the repatriation is going on of those persons who came in over the last few weeks. Up to last week there were 323 people in the Detention Centre 221 of them are Haitian and they all had to be repatriated.

“So you can imagine how this eats into our budget and I wanted to say that over the next year, you can expect that the issue of immigration will be front and centre and in particular this idea  of making sure that everybody in the country is documented. So people would be able to show they have a right to live and work in the Bahamas and if they don’t have that right, then you need to be repatriated to your home country and this will include a review of the laws to see whether or not we have to actually go against employers for hiring people unlawfully, the practice which we already have in place now where we don’t grant permits to people who come here illegally and then of course a vigorous enforcement of the border.”

Mr Mitchell’s comments came after a random immigration check last months saw 105 people arrested, 22 released, $37,000 collected in outstanding fees and 83 people committed to the detention centre.

Immigration officers blocked traffic in Eastern New Providence in an attempt to round up illegal immigrants.

From that search, according to the minister, 75 men and eight women were detained.

There were six Venezuelans; nine Ecuadorian men, two Peruvian women; six Jamaican men and two Jamaican women, 54 Haitian men and two Haitian women.

The officers stopped motorists and passengers and requested that they provide a form of identification.


proudloudandfnm 10 years, 7 months ago

I already have a national ID, I have a passport, NIB card and drivers license. WTF????

Thinker 10 years, 7 months ago

Sounds like another reason to expand government and take more of your money.

Thinker 10 years, 7 months ago

Anytime government talks of expansion now, I begin to troll. They are like roaches that eat through your pockets.

4renbahamian 10 years, 7 months ago

That is correct because a drivers license issued to those with the required documents is all you need for ID.

john33xyz 10 years, 7 months ago

That is only true if you want to entrust the security of your country to the people who is hand out "inspection stickers" - even when dem signal light ain't workin. LOL.

TalRussell 10 years, 7 months ago

Comrade Minister Freddy no one has fought harder against your detractors than I. But your government's talk to introduce ID cards even rattles my cage? Yes, we do have crime, like other countries experience too, but I always thought ID cards have traditionally not been used during peacetime but when a county is at war, or as a means to control the free movement of its people? ? I know the Red Communist Chinese government 's influence seems be everywhere in we Bahamaland. But little did I know your government to be as suspicious of the Red Communist Chinese real intent as most we Bahamalander's sure as hell are? Minister print lots ID card cause your new "all can freely land in Bahamaland" VISA program(s) will sure as hell use them up. Minister with no war in sight you do not control the free movement of your own citizens to solve another problem.

ohdrap4 10 years, 7 months ago

the passport should not be carried around with you. Neither permamanent residence certificate.

the drivers license is given to people on work permit, and renewed without asking whether the work permit was renewed.

there have been headlines in the past about drivers licenses which were sold.

a national id is not a bad thing

but this ia another red herring, me thinks

whistleblower 10 years, 7 months ago

Why does this government try to make solving simple problems complicated? The immigration department knows where the illegals are. You DO NOT need a national ID to identify the illegals. Stop using smoke screen to prolong the problem and stop trying to make it seem as if you want to resolve this vexing problem. Tell you what: Let's get started by cleaning out all those illegals who work as a part of the maintenance crew at BEC Clifton Pier. These 50 plus workers can be replaced by Bahamian young men. I hope that someone from Tribune is reading this and investigates.

bahamalove 10 years, 7 months ago

You can have all the technology and identification documents in the world but as long as the people who are using the new technology to create ID documents are corrupt, it won't make any difference. We are essentially in this mess due to the corrupt practices of some Bahamians who are always trying to make a dollar 'under the table'. The vast amount of problems in our nation are too far gone to rectify. You can blame the 25 year governance of the PLP for the ingrained Bahamian corruption and entitlement that so many of us possess. The "all for me baby" crew with their maximum leader L.O. Pindling at the helm has created this monster and I'm afraid that nothing will ever be done as long as there are votes to be bought.

Honestman 10 years, 7 months ago

Why not forget this idea but instead concentrate on bringing the vehicle licensing system into the 21st century? That would be money well spent.

GQ 10 years, 7 months ago

National I.D's would be a good thing but those crooks who work in each and every government department will be selling them within 2 weeks after it is implemented. Why prosecute persons who hire the illegals instead of shipping their asses back to the country from which they came, but then again as I posted recently one illegal Haitian sent back home was back here in the Bahamas within six months on a three month visa. He will not go back until he is caught again. Crooks even in our embassies overseas. Minister Mitchell get your personal ministry in order before spouting off about other problems in this country.

The_Oracle 10 years, 7 months ago

All they really need to do is go back to the written law and the provisions for each and every Government department to ACT contained therein. All these new rules and regulations will suffer from the same lack of implementation and enforcement, the lack of which is what caused their implementation in the first place. Band-aids,and duct tape, no way to run a country. All they succeed in doing is strangling any productivity by enabling total Government obstruction at every level, and much potential for political malice and interference.

SP 10 years, 7 months ago

WHY PRAY TELL is it even vaguely necessary for the Government to waste any more time "considering" introducing a National Identification Card as well as "charging" persons who knowingly hire illegal immigrants?

Our country is over run and under siege by illegal immigrants who systematically undercut Bahamians out of work by working as cheaper labour, pay no taxes' overwhelm the education and social services while rightful taxpaying Bahamians are literally starving......WHAT THE HELL IS THERE TO PONDER?

Enforce the bloody laws, deal with illegal’s and boost the treasury simultaneously!

The resultant proof was derived from ONE Eastern road random immigration check…..It was SELF SUSTAINING & EVEN PROFITABLE….SO CONTINUE…..WHAT IS THE PROBLEM???????????????

Confiscate all illegally obtained funds, stiff $5,000.00 penalty fines for employers caught hiring illegal’s and make THEM PAY REPATRIATION COST AS WELL!....THE SITUATION WOULD BE RESOLVED VERTUALLY OVERNITE.


Get it done or please get the hell out of the way so "others" can do it!

whistleblower 10 years, 7 months ago

Agreed. But, don't fool yourself. These illegals do not work for cheap.You must be referring to yesteryears workers. As I mentioned in my comments above, a group of illegals work at BEC, Clifton Pier and their salary range from $800-$1200 every two weeks. Sounds above minimum wage if ya ask me. As soon as immigration acts on this one, then I will let the cat out of the bag where the next group of illegal works. But then again who cares right?

pat242 10 years, 7 months ago

Some Bahamians are unbelievable. Some of you cry and make noise of the illegal immigration situation this country faces. Now the government wants to introduce a National ID and severely deal with the immigrants who is taking jobs, health care and education from Bahamians and yet they still complain. Believe it or not Bahamians are the ones who encourage these people to come here. Some Bahamians do not want to work, uninterested in education and feel public medical health care is only for poor people. As a result this slackness encourage foreigners to come and utilize what Bahamians do not want. Bahamians need to come together and report any illegal immigrant they know of and the person who hire them at the same time work and take advantage what we as Bahamians can get for little to nothing and stop believing what you see on the gangster rap videos. If we do not come together we will be second citizens in our own country.

John 10 years, 7 months ago

You have to watch this man. He is full of controversy. While he is pushing for gay rights (the rights to be a big time ssissy in the Bahamas) he is trying to infringe on the rights of us a regular Bahamians. Watch this man. He has a hidden (gay) agenda. Clip his wings after this election

bahamiandud3242 10 years, 7 months ago

Commie/Dictator move.

I don't like illegal immigration just as much as the next guy but dumb move.

“Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” - Benjamin Franklin

ohdrap4 10 years, 7 months ago

is it just me, or does he look like marmaduke?

john33xyz 10 years, 7 months ago

Why has not there not been another Eastern Road inspection? Perhaps at another road next time?

Why not have one of these every week (on a different weekday or course) ??????

Have it in a different area each week, so that Bahamians are not inconvenienced (the same ones) every week. Except of course, do the same one two weeks in a row once in a while - just to be random.

If we did this EVERY WEEK - the word would soon get back to Haiti that we are serious and many (not all) will stop putting fuel in their boats.

Remember - they don't need much fuel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They only need a couple gallons to reach Ragged Island or some other southern island - THEN the defense force gives them a ride the rest of the way to Nassau for FREE.

I sometimes wonder WHAT could I get in Haiti for free?

john33xyz 10 years, 7 months ago

If the Government did 20 "eastern road" style inspections - one per week for 20 weeks in a row - perhaps then the people would begin to believe they are serious and MIGHT consider the national ID card.

Bahamas676 10 years, 6 months ago

only people would complain about this r the Haitians i love this system...driver license cards are easily made on the black market, so no we shouldnt use them,,a new id card with bar strip should be implemented so we can swipe and all there information comes up or call a certain department to receive information using the number on the cards

sheeprunner12 10 years, 6 months ago

What is worse - having to carry around your passport or voters card now, OR be issued a biometrics based national ID that can fit in a wallet?

Bahamians have to wise up. We are living in the 21st century in a global village. Can we kick against the pricks??????????????

Read Revelation 13:16-18

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