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UNHCR issues incredible charge and moves to reclassify Haitians fleeing home – Magnetic Media

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By Dana Malcolm
Staff Writer
 
The Caribbean, June 6, 2022 – The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has officially called on all nations in the region to do their part in rescuing Haitian migrants and allowing them “unobstructed and prompt access” to access asylum procedures.
The UNHCR says the call was prompted after a vessel carrying over 800 Haitians, trying to get to the US turned up in Cuba instead because the its captain abandoned the boat and left it and its passengers adrift at sea.
While many Caribbean nations have nationals who brave the journey across the ocean for a better life as the situation in Haiti grows more unstable, Haitians are taking the journey more than ever.  The number of Haitians now interdicted at sea between October 2021 and May 2022 is 5,003 Haitians.
Triple the 1,527 interdicted in 2020-2021.
The UNHCR says a “Search and rescue at sea is a legal and humanitarian imperative, and those rescued include refugees and others in need of protection. Coordination, solidarity, and responsibility-sharing are crucial in responding effectively and ensuring that people in need of international protection are not returned to their country of origin, and the dangers they have fled.”
But the situation is not always so cut and dried: hundreds of Haitian migrants trying to escape hardship set out on the seas, many of them for the closest land masses they can find, usually  The Bahamas, The Turks and Caicos and the Florida Keys.
The entire state of Florida is 170,312 kilometres squared about 12 times the size of the Bahamas which sits at 13,880 km². The Bahamas in turn is just about 14 times larger than the Turks and Caicos.
Because of their location all three are prime locations for Haitian refugees but the size factor between the three greatly affects the ability to facilitate asylum seekers.  One of the most recent migrant interdictions by the US Coast Guard on May 9, 2022 revealed 212 migrants likely headed for the TCI according to the Coast Guard.
Another recent boat reported by the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force which made landfall on the island of Providenciales held 110 migrants; that was May 19th.
Seven days prior to that on May 12th a boat with 129 migrants was stopped as it made its way into Turks and Caicos waters.
Over the Queen’s Jubilee Holiday weekend, this past four days, there were reports of as many as three interceptions; one count got up to 170; the remaining two were just over 100 souls aboard. All taken into custody, all repatriated at the cost of the TCI public purse.
The UNHCR says it will work with governments in the region to support the response and reception of arrivals at their borders but noted that, “Receiving states have the first line of responsibility in protecting those who may have well-founded fears of persecution in their country of origin. It is vital to ensure that arrangements for disembarkation of those rescued do not result in summary return, and that they have access to procedures to have their claims assessed before being expelled or deported.”
The reality goes without saying, the Turks and Caicos’ land area will not allow it to facilitate the large numbers of migrants who need asylum and who make the perilous journey weekly.  The situation is similar in The Bahamas.
The UNHCR for its part has promised that it will “support international human rights and refugee law, while respecting national security concerns and state sovereignty.”
This is a promise that absolutely must be upheld as without active concern for the welfare of receiving islands what is already a bad situation may swiftly become worse.
The size, economic capacity, social welfare systems and other areas must be addressed before any concrete decisions are made.  It must be that migrants’ health and safety are balanced with the disproportionate impact on the sustainable growth of countries which would become compelled to follow the treaty.

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#TheBahamas, June 6, 2022 – 53rd ANNUAL LONG ISLAND REGATTA RESULTS, SALT POND, LONG ISLAND
JUNE 1 – 4, 2022
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53rd ANNUAL LONG ISLAND REGATTA RESULTS
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JUNE 1 – 4, 2022
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#TheBahamas, June 6, 2022 – Health officials are closely monitoring a potential case of Monkeypox in The Bahamas. The individual under investigation is a male, foreign national who travelled to The Bahamas who presented with symptoms associated with Monkeypox. Minister of Health & Wellness the Honourable Dr. Michael R. Darville confirmed that the Disease Surveillance team has been notified and samples were taken from the patient for further laboratory evaluation.  He also confirmed that the patient is in isolation and receiving treatment. 
The Health & Wellness Minister said cases of Monkeypox are expected to rise across the globe due to ‘human to human’ transmission, but said it is a manageable health event. Symptoms of Monkeypox include skin rash, fever, headache, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and exhaustion. Within one to three days after a fever develops a body rash typically appears. Symptoms can last for two to four weeks. The death rate associated with the disease is low, ranging between three to six per cent of persons infected.
The safety protocols which help to limit the spread of COVID-19 are also the preventative measures that can help to reduce the risk of infection from Monkeypox.  The public is advised to follow the protocols which include: washing your hands properly and often with soap and water, using an alcohol based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces regularly, and maintaining physical distance from others, particularly if you feel ill.
If you suspect that you or someone you know may have Monkeypox call your primary care provider or the nearest public health community clinic to arrange a visit to be evaluated.  Additional information can be obtained by contacting the National Disease Surveillance Unit, Mondays – Fridays, 9:00am – 5:00p.m. at 604-9090 or 604-9091; or after hours at 376-4705, 376-3809, or 376-3970.

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By Shanieka Smith
Features Writer
 
#TheBahamas, June 6, 2022 – “We have been really anxious about the fact that the US government; well, let me put it this way: the US having tracked most of our guns that we (criminals) use in violent crimes here, to specific shops in the United States and manufacturers, and even being able to identify the persons who even bought those guns – ” these are the words from Prime Minister of the Bahamas, Phillip Davis.
He said he will continue to agitate high-ranking United States officials in Washington on the Caribbean’s behalf because of the increase of guns in The Bahamas. These guns have been traced to American citizens with dual nationality who purchased guns under the guise of the right to bear arms.
The Royal Bahamas Police Force has seized over 170 illegal guns and more than 2,600 rounds of ammunition in The Bahamas. Some had even been modified with extended clips to carry up to 200 rounds of ammunition.
On the sidelines of the 36th Annual General Meeting of the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police, Davis expressed that “we are saying to the Americans they need to do more and whereas we don’t want to get involved in the domestic issue about the right to bear arms we are concerned that purchasers of guns are not just buying it to bear, but rather to export and to traffic.”
He called for the US to intervene where there is evidence a person is not just buying it in the exercise of their right to bear it, but instead buying it for trafficking
Davis said he has spoken to several high-ranking US authorities from Washington, which he did not name, but hinted that “it is about as high as the White House.” He added that they have listened to the concerns and promised to look into them.
“This is a concern throughout the region. It’s not just the Bahamas, but when I spoke, I spoke for the region in respect to it, but bringing illustrations as to what’s occurring in our country, to make the point,” said Davis.
He added that his plan is to continue to agitate for them to do something until something is done, as promised.

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