Call for 'Papa Doc' to legalize ALL illegal Haitian living in The Bahamas

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Haiti fleeing copy

Published On:Monday, January 25, 2010

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Staff Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

A GROUP of Bahamian activists and artists have launched a letter writing campaign seeking temporary status for all Haitian migrants and the implementation of a long-term immigration policy with respect to Haitians and their children.

Angelique Nixon, one of the creators of the campaign titled “Haitian-Bahamian Solidarity”, said that the government should provide temporary status to all Haitians in the Bahamas.

“I applaud the Prime Minister’s decision to release detainees and give them temporary status, but what about other undocumented Haitian migrants and those who may be seeking refuge from the devastation after the earthquake?” The Prime Minister has indicated that they will be detained and perhaps locked up until they can be deported. “This is unacceptable. Our Haitian brothers and sisters need our help, they need our compassion, and they need our support,” Nixon said.Spiritual Adviser

“Our immigration policy towards Haitians has long been deplorable and it’s time for us to make serious change. It’s time for us to create and implement a sensible immigration policy for Haitians and Haitian Bahamians.

“We need to remember that Haitians have long migrated into the Bahamas and have for a long time been a part of the Bahamas and Bahamian culture,” Ms Nixon said.

She added, “If one supports migration rights and human rights, then we cannot support our government’s policy towards Haitians, and we cannot support the statelessness of Haitian Bahamians.”

“During this time of crisis and into the future, we must continue to call on our government to offer more assistance to Haiti and Haitian people. We need to recognise the crisis in Haiti is happening to us too – people are suffering and dying. We should not discuss the ‘return’ of Haitian migrants until Port-au-Prince is rebuilt and serious efforts are made to truly support and help free Haiti from the chains of debt and poverty,” Ms Nixon said.

hubert-jpgLocal activist Erin Greene, who is also a part of the effort, said that the group is also calling on the government to grant a period of immunity for all Haitian refugees seeking asylum while Haiti rebuilds Port-au-Prince. According to Ms Greene the campaign was initiated before the government’s decision to release the Haitian detainees from the detention centre.

“We wanted to be an example and create a way for Bahamians to participate, to tell our government what it is we want and what it is we expect of them,” Ms Greene said.

“The letter writing campaign entails a number of ways of action. ‘The first wave of action is that we have drafted a letter and we are asking Bahamians living abroad to write a letter to the Prime Minster, to the Minister of State for Immigration and the Minister of National Security and your MP,” Ms Greene said.

“It is hoped that the campaign will exist outside the immediate Haiti relief effort,” Ms Greene said.

Craig Kemp, who has done mission work in Haiti for several years, said that he too agrees with the initiative. According to Kemp, the government is now in a very crucial position.

“This is the time to regularise all the Haitians who have been living in this country for years. It would be the greatest humanitarian gesture the Bahamas will ever do,” Mr Kemp said. According to Mr Kemp, the government should not only give permanent status to Haitians who have been residing in the Bahamas, but also institute a special court process to deal with Haitian migrants.

Two weeks ago, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said that 102 Haitian detainees would be released from the Detention Centre and repatriations to Haiti suspended in view of the devastation sustained following the catastrophic magnitude 7.1 earthquake that struck earlier this month.

Hundreds of thousands are now estimated to have died as a result of the natural disaster and despite a vigorous international relief effort, thousands of people in affected areas are still without water, food, medical assistance and shelter.

21 COMMENTS

  1. After seeing the influx of these haitians i am now taken a back by wanting to help them. so i WILL NOT BE donating one friggin cent to the haiti aid. i think we should now go ahead and collect money to help our treasurey repatriate these people out of our country. and yawl stupid oogly prime minister says he is gonna  arrest and CHARGE anyone entering our country illegally. WELL MR PRIME MINISTER HOW DO YOU CHARGE THE INFANT AND THE KIDS THATS IN THIS BUNCH OF HAITIANS??? My other concern is where the hell are the defense force that has been SUPPOSEDLY put on alert? why arent they intercepting these boats? If they dont get a grip on this situation a big war is gonna break out in this country. and it will be the bahamians agaist the haitians. an i dont know about you guys but im not the best at wielding a cuttlass. nor am i a cold blooded killer like they are.

  2. B Real,the reason we were talking about the telethon is because we know this issue of giving Haitians legal status in the Bahamas is not credible. Did you even bother to read the first several responses before you posted your comments?So in case you didnt read the first several post, let me repeat what was basically said, illegal Haitian immigrants living in the Bahamas will never be given legal status simply because of the earthquake in Haiti. It will never happen, there is no chance of it happening!

  3. This is funny. Here we have people asking for all Haitians to be given tempory status in our country and you guys are talking about a telethon… WOW! Let’s wake up. These people are pushing the envelope. We need to be serious about this. The PM is making this country a mockery. Doing what he did gives the impression that there is a chance that they can get status. We need to make sure Bahamians are straight before we do anything for others. Let Bahamians eat first. I love them. They are human beigns, but, it’s Bahamians first. We have kids here going to bed hungry every night. People losing jobs and homes. Crime out of control. But we want to give status to foreigners in our time of need. When will we tell the leaders “enuff is enuff”

  4. Not only that but, many people have already given what they could at other venues. Like i said if this telethon was held 3-4 days earlier, they may have doubled or trippled what they got tonight.They say the telethon will continue tomorrow so i hope that at the very least they match what they got tonight!.

  5. Kim, i have already donated through my church (money, clothes and food). I am tapped out.

    i dont think the telethon will be as successful because most Bahamians have probably done the same thing i did.

    Last week most churches and the Bahamas Red Cross was flooded with money and aid. This telethon is probably several days too late, but every bit of aid counts!

    • Altec, that is very good you have been doing your part, I have been doing my part as well. This

      telethon should be a success considering how generous some Bahamians are, plus all the Haitians that is residing in the Bahamas most likely they would want to help their people and if all the number houses owners, business owners and politicians and other wealth persons in the country do their part, I can’t see why they can’t raise at least a Million Dollars.

  6. Bahamas Press will tell you just why the people ain’t calling, but we ga let them make the money first.

    Hint: “Help us to help Haiti and ourselves!”

    Bahamas Press/Editor

  7. I am watching the telethon on ZNS and i see some big wigs.  Its almost 20 past 8pm and the phones ARENT RINGING!

    The US Ambasador is there as well and the phones ARENT RINGING!

    THEY ARE ALL JUST SITTING THERE, OMG!

    EMBARRASSING!

    I have to call just out of embarrassment!

    I so shame! this telethon has disaster all over it! I hope to God i am speaking too soon!

    • Yeah Altec, why you don’t call and donate one of those millions you have laying around? I am sure you are good for it…lol….  Putting fun and jokes aside, I am here noticing the same thing and I hope those phone soon start ringing off the hooks.

  8. altec. u crazy silly.lol.no but fer real u right.i love all people and everyone was created by god in his image, but if we helpin the  ones there now. let a next island help. come on jamaica, cuba, turks and cacios, all the island close to haiti. step up. give them help. you might be in that same situation one day. god forbid.

  9. these people gettin carried away due to the tragedy this is time for debate and consensus not knee-jerk reaction and greene seem to be in every cause in town how do they propose to fund this meal ticket….. I too feel the pain of the current tragedy but how is this strategy to help either country????

  10. BP, read my remarks carefully:

    THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN!

    Hell will freeze over before HAI or any PM allows this to happen. This is almost comical. The people who are calling for this cant be taken serious.

    I guess the next hurricane that comes this way the government should release the prison inmates as well so they can help their families affected by the storm!

    JOKES!!!!

  11. Oh Sh*T no!….. MMMMMMM Nope!…… enn no space in d inn. Canada is accepting though but not The Small islands of The Bahamas

Comments are closed.