Rights Bahamas: Two young children apprehended by immigration officers


Tribune Staff Reporter


AT least two children, ages five and two, were apprehended by immigration officers searching for migrants believed to have disembarked from a sloop that landed on Adelaide Beach over the weekend, human rights group Rights Bahamas said in a press statement.

The group said the toddlers, whose names they have withheld, were taken with their mother.

"Both children were born in the Bahamas and as such, have a constitutional right to be registered upon application after their 19th birthday," the group said. "They are not citizens of Haiti and arbitrarily deporting them to that country will effectively deny them of their rights and, under certain circumstances, could place them at risk of statelessness."

Immigration Director William Pratt, however, said taking children along with their parents and guardians is customary.

He said: "If a mother is illegal and the mother is taken into custody, would it be right to leave the children alone? It has nothing to do with their constitutional entitlement. If we want to arrest a mother and leave the children because they're born here and, God forbid, something happens to the children, who is going to get blamed? Immigration will. It has nothing to do with their constitutional entitlement. If you arrest an illegal migrant and she has minor children with her, the children will be taken with her. If the mother is repatriated and let’s say the mother and father aren't married and the father is here legally and the mother wants to go through the court and grab the father legal custody of the children; once the father does this, he can apply for them to be given a Belonger's permit. If the mother is arrested because she is illegal, automatically she brings her children along."

Rights Bahamas said immigration officers have been accused of physically abusive behaviour.

"Following the Cowpen Road raid, we understand that armed officers in military fatigues then descended upon a nearby church frequented by members of the Haitian-Bahamian community," the group said. "There have been multiple claims of physical abuse by immigration officers during the raids and we urgently call upon Immigration Director William Pratt to restrain his officers in order to prevent any further violence against defenseless individuals, particularly women and children."

"Rights Bahamas demands that all those detained be immediately screened to ensure that there are no other minors among them who have a Constitutional right to be in the Bahamas, and also no adults who may have applied for citizenship but constitute part of the backlog of thousands of status cases which the Immigration Department continues to ignore, even as it seeks to expel people from the country in violation of their rights."

"The group must also urgently be screened for individuals who may qualify for refugee status. So far, however, the stated aim of the authorities continues to be the detention and arbitrary deportation of these individuals without due process."

"Rights Bahamas reiterates in the strongest of terms that each and every one of these detentions is unlawful as officers did not follow due process. The detainees have not been granted the right to see an attorney, have not gone before the courts within the prescribed 48 hours and have not been allowed to apply for bail. Indeed, they now join the hundreds others held at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre indefinitely, some of them for years."


TheMadHatter 6 years, 7 months ago

I wonder where "Rights Bahamas" has been for, say, the past decade while Bahamians held at Fox Hill Prison are given rusty water to drink even on remand, are held in remand for months waiting a court date, the men have salt petre put in their food to try and prevent da goosy, cells are terribly overcrowded with men lying on hard cement floor to sleep like sardines in a can, prisoners using bucket for toilet and guards having to wear rubber boots to prevent it from getting on their feet, the frequent ambulance visits to take prisoners to see proctologists, the food without nutritional value, the lack of air ventilation, the slopping outside of the toilet buckets, the beatings, the solitary confinements, and i could go on.

I guess "human rights" don't apply to Bahamians in their own country - or perhaps none of the above has ever come to the attention of this fledgling activist group.

Also where are their press releases about the horrible situations in Haiti and what should be done there to help those poor Haitians? Why don't they care about them? Why don't they send some members down there to educate and help Haitians in Haiti itself? Why don't they investigate and find out why every Haitian female who lands on our shores by boat is already pregnant on the boat? Do you have to be pregnant to buy your ticket?

Haitians need help and i hope and pray that they all will receive the help they need. They are human beings and should be treated with dignity and respect and be shown how to prosper and obtain all the good things that life has to offer. But at the same time they should not be encouraged and facilitated to invade the Bahamas and steal our country from us by a breeding war.

Emac 6 years, 7 months ago

Exactly! This group should be called "Rights Haiti"

mandela 6 years, 7 months ago

When England took over Hong Kong on a 99 years lease from China many thought that was long and far away but it wasn't, in 100 yrs the Bahamas would be no longer, but will be little Haiti, Bahamians having on average two - three children, Haitians seven - eight do the maths

sheeprunner12 6 years, 7 months ago

If the parent is illegally in the country ....... and a toddler is born to the unwed illegal mother ....... How can the child be legal?????? ........... These "human rights" groups are a nuisance ..... The child takes the citizenship of the unwed illegal mother ....... See Article 14 of the Bahamian Constitution ....... and for further information on Haitian citizenship laws see below ........

sheeprunner12 6 years, 7 months ago


CITIZENSHIP: Citizenship laws are based upon the Constitution of Haiti.

BY BIRTH: Birth within the Republic of Haiti does not automatically confer citizenship.

BY DESCENT: Child, at least one of whose parents is a native-born citizen of Haiti, regardless of the child's country of birth. Child born abroad must be registered at the nearest Haitian consulate or embassy for the citizenship to be recognized.

BY NATURALIZATION: Haitian citizenship may be acquired upon fulfillment of the following condition: Person has resided within Haiti for a continuous period of five years.

DUAL CITIZENSHIP: NOT RECOGNIZED. Exception: Child, born abroad to Haitian parents, who acquires the citizenship of the country of birth. This dual citizenship is allowed until the child reaches the age of majority (18). Upon reaching 18, one of the nationalities must be renounced.

LOSS OF CITIZENSHIP: Citizenship involuntarily lost may not be regained.

VOLUNTARY: Voluntary renunciation of citizenship must take place in the country, before the Justice Department, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

INVOLUNTARY: The following are grounds for involuntary loss of Haitian citizenship: Person voluntarily acquires foreign citizenship. Person holds a political post in the service of a foreign government. Naturalized Haitian citizen maintains continuous residence abroad without authorization by Haitian authority.

ANY QUESTIONS concerning citizenship, or requests for renunciation of citizenship, should be directed to the address below:

Embassy of the Republic of Haiti Consular Section 2311 Massachusetts Ave., NW Washington, DC 20008

Embassy/Consular Telephone: 202-332-4090/91/92 Fax: 202-745-7215


DDK 6 years, 7 months ago

Very straight forward.

"BY DESCENT: Child, at least one of whose parents is a native-born citizen of Haiti, regardless of the child's country of birth. Child born abroad must be registered at the nearest Haitian consulate or embassy for the citizenship to be recognized." I wonder whether this is EVER done?

Emac 6 years, 7 months ago

Why are we still having this argument about who has constitutional rights to be registered or why is there not a clear policy on this matter in 2017. Amend the fucking law already or bring the referendum to the people so that this issue can be resolved once and for all. Both the PLP and FNM have been pussyfooting on this matter for decades. What are they waiting on??? A civil war between Haitians and Bahamians?? But whatever. think it is quite funny that we never hear any arguments from other foreigners regarding deportation.

OldFort2012 6 years, 7 months ago

As always, look for who benefits financially. Who does the gardening? Haitians. Who digs up the roads? Haitians. Who picks up the garbage? Haitians. Etc, etc, etc. Who owns all those businesses? Bahamians. And they have a name and surname and you know them all well and they could all fit around one table in the PM's office. Enough said.

DDK 6 years, 7 months ago

Totally right on Emac!

bogart 6 years, 7 months ago

School permit policy has been recinded by the new govt which mrans all children are entitled to a free education. This is why illegals are encouraged to bring kids or have anchor kids and hide for years into a system for yeats as we the vat taxpayers pay. And we elect whosever is talking about doing something only to get goosied. They have mobility, churches, human rights activists, lawyers, church pastor advocayes, no building permit shanty towns, have my Bahamas listed as the second language being Creole, squatting on private land in huge Colonies in Abaco, Haitian language on Bahamian public services - call complaints BTC, and now again free education, 200 millon new boats etc We now have more taxes on the horizon to pay for salary increases and we the prople still gettin goosied and the DNA silent on how they used to say the power of the people is greater than the people in power. Emac you need to start a political party.

Emac 6 years, 7 months ago

bogart,DDK, we Bahamians are in grave problems. No one is fighting for us. As you mentioned in your post above, the illegals have a cadre of people fighting for them. The Bahamas government is obviously not in tuned with what the people want. This government only seems to be interested in meeting the needs of their own special interest groups. The Bahamas elitists are accusing those of us who complain of being bigots or xenophobic. The one good thing that was on the horizon was the Wee March, but that has been abandoned because the founder is now in bed with the very same people that he had promise to stand up against!

I am flabbergasted that this government can move speedily ahead with the amendment that will allow children born of a Bahamian mother, in a foreign country, to have the rights to citizenship, but on the other hand turns a blind eye to the illegal Haitian dilemma that has allowed thousands of Haitian women to spawn children by the dozen and then demand that that these same children have access to free education and health care, while the rest us hardworking Bahamians foot the bill. For the record, I have nothing against the amendment that is being put forth by the government. I just think that it is strange for the government to make it a priority in their first six months to propose amendments to one of the most important laws of our Constitution, without first making sure that there are no loopholes for people like Fred Smith to exploit while in his quest to defend the Republic of Haiti. The only thing left to do is for Bahamians to put their differences aside and become a formidable force to save the lil piece of culture we have left. We must face the reality that the people we hired to lead this country are NOT for the Bahamian people.

DEDDIE 6 years, 7 months ago

The Haitians may be a threat to many things but not Bahamian culture. The booty-showing, pants without a belt rap stars are not Haitians. The recent video making the rounds on wasapp showing our school kids "carrying on bad" was not to Haitian music.

Emac 6 years, 7 months ago

Ok you gat me on dat one!

DDK 6 years, 7 months ago

Seldom mentioned in print, although often brought up in conversation, is the growing fear of some sort of violent up-rising, if immigration, police and politicians do not continue to look the other way..............

TalRussell 6 years, 7 months ago

Comrades! Be careful what you wish for?
If any Bahamaland government were carryout a mass deportation undocumented nationals it could result in sending the economy into a downward tailspin. The Bahamaland Dollar could be devalued to 75 Cents to the USD. It might just be a case of damn if you don't make a immigration correction, and damn if you do?

sheeprunner12 6 years, 7 months ago

Solving citizenship matters is a challenge in every country ...... and it requires politicians and senior officers to be forthright and fair when applying the policy of the LAW.

TalRussell 6 years, 7 months ago

Comrade Sheeprunner12, we've accidentally turned the Bahamaland into a nation of immigrants. Our immigration is different being that the majority are either here illegally or with questionable supporting documents. Minnis, KP and Brent, don't possess the bullocks to draw a line in the sand to halt further processing until we can come up with a immigration policy that best benefits the Bahamaland - and not the illegals. Minnis, KP and Brent are acting likes they knows nothing about the unhealthy, shameful and deplorable 20 plus shantytowns that exist in Nassau alone? They are a fuckin# disgrace and we never seem to attach them to the increase in serious and petty crimes and why a large percentage of our tourist have no intentions of returning back to Nassau - much less recommending it to their family members, fiends and business colleagues. We have maybe 36 months to reverse the destructive course we're on as a tourism county.... or build lots more KFC's McDonald's and Burger Kings cheapo to cater to the CHEAPO tourists we mainly attract on cruise ships.

birdiestrachan 6 years, 7 months ago

There will be no surprise if the FNM Government gets rid of the immigration Director William Pratt, He will go the way of commissioner Greenslade very soon . He will not be able to do his job. They should just close down immigration and allow small things Symonette and the out spoken QC to do what ever they please. This is what the peoples time voters voted for so it has to be all right . They are already running the immigration department .

baldbeardedbahamian 6 years, 7 months ago

Only two countries ever successfully beat the war machine created by Bonaparte; England, with massive help from the Prussians, and the other one was Haiti. As well as being courageous, Haitians are mostly hard working by nature. They are one of the countries that, unlike the Bahamas, does not have a majority of it's citizens suffering from preventable diseases caused by obesity. Haiti, unlike the Bahamas, is not amongst the countries with the highest incidence of murder per capita, or the highest incidence of rape per capita in the world. But despite this, some of the posters on this site still seem to think that Bahamians are somehow superior to Haitians. Haiti is an economic mess due to the lousy dictatorial leaders that have governed the country and the almost insurmountable reparations the country was forced to pay the Europeans upon the founding of the republic. The economic success of the Bahamas is due to its physical location, in close proximity to America, combined with the foresight of Sir Stafford Sands in developing a mass market tourism business, and Sir Harold Christie using his business acumen to establish this country as a desirable location for the rich and famous to purchase a second home. It was not due to some innate superiority of the local genome. The country will assimilate all immigrants and be stronger for it.

bogart 6 years, 7 months ago

Our Prime Minister of our beloved Bahamaland needs to have a conversation with his Ministries in that one rescinded previous govt policy to now open free education to all in schools and the other where illegal migrants are arrested with their Bahamian born children 5 years old and 2 years old not yet 18 years old, and on the other ministry of Health whrre children of different nationalities are born by illegals and registered by govt with follow up checks into immunizations by illigal migrant parent etc , and also the ministry where an illegal can be here undetected for at 5 years, and the other ministry where the employer is likely to have employed the illegal migrant, and the ministry where the illegal migrant is living sheltered, aided, abbetted by whom in an illegal shanty town ??, and another ministry if they have a drivers licence, and another ministry if they have an ATM card operating an illegal bank account and the ministry which liases with the Haitian Ambassador on their citizens. Phew lots of ministries involved here. Plus the Bahamian or Haitian Church ministry, did they baptise children and have the illegal migrant patent signing national govt papers for church records?? Conversations must start in the govt and then after have the conversation on pay raise.

sheeprunner12 6 years, 7 months ago

This government must aim to clear out ALL files in Immigration pertaining to citizenship issues ...... The Director of Immigration says that it is several hundred files ...... the Minister says that it is more ......... The ordinary Bahamian truly believes that it is tens of thousands ......... Just take a cue from what the PLP did just before the 2017 Election and it may be the latter.

SP 6 years, 7 months ago

Child Haitians eventually become adult Haitians like mulatto Fred Smith and little Haitian Louby Georges, with no allegiance to the Bahamas!

Deport these children. When Illegal Haitians show up to clinics and hospital, deport them immediately after medical care.

We don't need any more damn Haitians!

killemwitdakno 6 years, 7 months ago

Minors go with the parents absolutely. 18 is 18.

Sign in to comment