LABOUR and Immigration Minister Keith Bell.
As of Wednesday, August 10, 2022
By EARYEL BOWLEG
Tribune Staff Reporter
LABOUR and Immigration Minister Keith Bell believes it was “irresponsible” and “callous” for a Haitian official to claim that more than 150,000 Haitians currently live in The Bahamas.
In the wake of the boating tragedy that left 17 Haitian migrants, including a pregnant woman dead last month, Haitian Chargé de Affairs Anthony Pierre Brutus gave the figure.
He noted Haitians legally in the country and some who were here for about 20 years made up the number.
Mr Brutus added that the people that were in The Bahamas legally could have a better relationship with others that once they come here, they will be able apply for a visa to be in the country legally.
Mr Bell told reporters yesterday that Mr Brutus’ claim was unfounded.
“I would say the number is certainly unscientific and certainly erroneous,” he told reporters yesterday. “I was quite surprised and shocked that he would’ve made such a statement in all of the circumstances.
“I do not agree with him, but in any event I know that isn’t the case, but again this is something for us to really review. We have to do more in depth scientific analysis to ensure that we get the right numbers and when we talk about documented migrants again there is so many categories that you have to look at and we as a country have to review, not just the fact that he made such a statement, but who are these persons he is talking to.
“I suspect that these are persons, he is referring to persons who may have been born in The Bahamas to non-Bahamian parents. He may have been talking about persons who entered The Bahamas through illegal means and some may have acquired some form of status. And, of course, he’s talking to persons who have no status in the country and so I don’t know what category or what categories he has incorporated in that number, but I certainly know its erroneous to say it’s 150,000.”
Pressed on whether he thought it was irresponsible to give those figures publicly at the time, the minister replied: “Most certainly I thought it was irresponsible and I thought it was callous.”
Asked if the government has reached out to him to have a conversation, Mr Bell answered: “Well we’ve reached out to the Haitian community and we’ve certainly been in discussions with him. I certainly have not spoken to him in respect to that particular (comment), but as it relates to the matter at hand I think that all of us in positions of authority and certainly in The Bahamas we have to remain focused.”
He also said it is good to know that the Royal Bahamas Defence Force continues interceptions.
He added: “Secondly, those that are here we are ensuring we endeavour to deal with them fairly and humanely, but swiftly and expeditiously. We have not stopped our repatriation process and that does not necessarily only apply to irregular migrants from Haiti, but it also goes to Cuba. You know we’ve had a significant increase in Cuban irregular migrants. We’ve had them from Dominica. We’ve had them from Jamaica. And so certainly we’ve had several exercises just this week past where we would’ve repatriated persons from all of those countries.”
Mr. Bell must be living somewhere else. The figure is much higher than 150,000! Everywhere I go, all I hear is Creole. In fact, it’s hard to FIND blue-collar Bahamians working anywhere.
A Google search of language in the Bahamas says “The biggest languages present in Bahamas include: English. Bahamian Creole. Haitian Creole”.
So regardless of Mr. Bell’s nonsense, Creole seems to be recognized by Google as the dominate language in the Bahamas, which can only translate to more Haitians in the Bahamas than Bahamians!!
Thank you PLP and FNM.
Minister Keith Bell believes it was “irresponsible” and “callous” for a Haitian official to claim that more than 150,000 Haitians currently live in The Bahamas. – why? Is it closer to 250,000?
More Hayshuns than Bahamians at this point. Game over.😒
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