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June 07, 2006

Comments

if only we listened to Roker

I emailed the IOM rep in Nassau and he has yet to report to me his findings, now I "get it" Shouldn't this report be public information by now, what is so scary about the report that the government choose to keep it a secret? Any word on what MOFA stipulates in the revisited Haitian accord says?How do you feel about giving the stateless people Bahamian citizenship?

larry smith

Of course it should be public. How else are we to understand what is going on in our own country? Why not keep the census secret too?

They just don't want to deal with the hard issues - so they will become harder down the road.

We have to deal with realities.

Rick Lowe

Very good as usual Larry.
I don't think building a wall or other 'dramatic' responses will solve the issue the American's or The Bahamas face with illegal immigration.
On a recent trip to the US I had a discussion with a Mexican lady who had been in the US for 35 years and had legal documentation. She indicated she had experienced racism for the very first time in recent months.
Last night while at the instant teller three very young Bahamian kids were verbally abusing an older man walking on the other side of the street because he appeared to be a Haitian.
There has to be a more rational approach from politicians to the immigration issue rather than creating monsters to raise fears which causes citizens to react in the ways described above.

bahamianworldcitizen

Comment concerning IOM. This organisation, although it has helped with repatriation efforts and funding for workshops, has a serious credibility problem. I think migration management issues should be handled by a Bahamian consultant.

Bahamian politicans should be ashamed of themselves for using the Haitian issues to gain political favour. If you ask me why the IOM report is not public yet, I would say that anything at 'Cabinet' level is perpetually stalled because of competing political agendas. What ever happened to the Haitian migration meetings between Directors and Permanent Secretaries?

Comment on immigration reform.
A so-called 'rational' approach to migration and guest workers has been taken by many Gulf countries since the 1970s. Ask any 3rd generation Kashmiri, Indonesian, Malaysian, Sri Lankan, Indian or Pakistani how he/she feels having to walk around with an identity card and having no right to vote, own property, own a business, secondary education, religious worship, etc., etc.

The US model is suited for a country that has over 10 million illegal immigrants. The Bahamas needs to grant amnesty, increase border patrols, hire a new set of immigration officials, weed out the corrupt ones and actively engage with the Haitian Government on economic, social and cultural issues. Forget the politics already! There is one idea from the US that I like. The 'tax id' card. How about a NI id card for illegal migrants so they pay for services?

bahamianworldcitizen

Thank you for your email. Please find my responses below:

1. (What is the credibility problem with IOM?)
Regarding IOM concerns, excerpt from a study by Human Rights Watch 2003:
"IOM has no formal mandate to monitor human rights abuses or to protect the rights of migrants and other persons, even though literally millions of people worldwide participate in IOM-sponsored programs and projects. Human Rights Watch began to monitor and document IOM operations in the field in the early 1990s. In 1993, we documented IOM's role in the asylum determination system imposed on Haitian asylum seekers by the United States and concluded that the determination procedure violated the right to seek asylum.5 Ten years later, we continue to find IOM complicit in situations that threaten people’s human rights in many countries ..."
IOM receives much of its funding from the United States. It is a political organisation, despite it's use of seemingly 'rights-based' discourse. Many of the persons employed by IOM are former US State Department officials that retain strong ties to the US Government, including the present expert stationed in the Bahamas. IOM does a lot of good in migration management, but it does not have the sort of accountability that a UN organisation like UN High Commissioner for Refugees has.

2. New migrants v regularisation of current illegal migrants. This is a cyclical issue. In order to solve one issue, you must address the other. Failure to address one issues will eventually affect the other issue and leave the system open to exploitation.

3. I was really only joking about illegal migrants paying NI, however your article raised the issue of illegals draining social services. The only way to get illegals out of the healthcare and education system is to have them forcibly removed or regularise them, collect NI and find a way to pay for services. 5 hours in the public maternity ward at PMH can demonstrate the need for reform of our social services.

Payment of NIB happens with a contribution from the employer and from the employee. In many cases, persons employed in service industry jobs making less than 15,000 BSD per year choose to not make contributions to NIB. In the family islands many employers encourage this by explaining that the employee will loose money to the government, etc. There are currently several family island development projects who have taken this approach with their day labourers. Many wealthy Bahamians also find ways of avoiding paying NI contributions as well as customs duties and various stamp taxes(until we have a proper taxation system, these are our only ways of creating revenue for social services).

4. (As for secrecy, I would say that this government is conditioned to withhold information from the public as a matter of course.)
Bahamas Government + secrecy = lack of democracy and accountability. I still feel that stalled agendas and incompetence are major factors in the reason why the Bahamas has no clear migration policy.

bahamasinmyheart

Excellent and well said.

krysten parsons

i think that the bahamain and the alegal imagrints thats in the U.S
are pretty much the same. but what about if the bahamain imagration peoples have family in the bahamas [that is aloud to be there] there trieng to see them and live with them and spend every minute with them before they die. so im aganst the imagration thing. because i mean police officers pulling citizens out of their beds just because their not aloud in the U.S or the bahamas . i mean come on its a free country and we should be able to do whatever we want . if were not able to do anything we want to do then whats the point of having our troops go over to iraq risking their lives for nothing??? did u ever think about that ?

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