NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell said there is no prejudice involved in the visa application process for entering the country.
He was responding to comments Haiti’s Chargé d’Affaires to The Bahamas Anthony Brutus made during an Office of the Prime Minister press conference on Friday.
Mitchell said in a statement yesterday: “It has come to the ministry’s attention that there was a statement in the news implying that there is prejudice against a specific nationality when it comes to properly entering The Bahamas.
“The Minister of Foreign Affairs wishes to emphasize that there is no legal obstacle to any nationality applying for a visa to enter The Bahamas or obtaining legitimately.
“Any foreign individual intending to enter The Bahamas legitimately may apply for a visa through the Consular Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where that visa is required by the regulations, all our embassies, in person or online.
Brutus was asked what efforts the Haitian Embassy is making to discourage illegal migration. This comes after a vessel capsized off Blackbeard’s cay last week, killing 17 people.
Brutus, according to a translator, said the tragedy provides an opportunity.
“That’s why I said when those things happen there’s a reason,” he said.
“Speaking about immigration, Canada, the United States, there’s a way that they deal with it. At the embassy, we cannot discourage anyone but we can ask them to apply for a visa just like the United States is doing and Canada is doing.
“At that time the Bahamas government can select who can come in. That happens in every country around the world.
“The only way that we can discourage the Haitian nationals from traveling illegally is to open up a visa system for the public.
“The Haitians then can apply, the ones that get it, get it, the ones that are refused, are refused. That would be a better way for the Bahamas and Haiti to have a better relationship.
“There are a lot of Haitians that are traveling the goes to Cuba. They go to the US, They go to Santa Domingo. There are 150,000 Haitians here in the Bahamas. Around that number, there are persons that are here legally and about 20 plus years in this country. The persons that are here legally can have a better relationship with others that want to come here, they will be able to flow and apply for a visa and come into the country legally.”
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