<<< Branville McCartney MP.
Nassau, Bahamas – The Bahamas Immigration Department is “eagerly awaiting” release of a fact-finding committee’s report on the standards and conditions of the Detention Centre, a holding facility where illegal migrants await repatriation.
“I eagerly await the release of the report to the public because it will show a country that has accepted its overwhelming immigration burden, treating those persons in search of a better life, but ineligible for legal entry, with as much grace, diplomacy and humanity as anywhere in the world,” said Minister of State for Immigration the Hon Branville McCartney.
He was responding to reports that a report on the conditions at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre is being deliberately withheld from the public, during a press briefing October 19
Following reports of mistreatment of detainees and other deplorable conditions at the Detention Centre, Mr McCartney appointed a fact-finding committee to investigate and determine the validity of the accusation.
The committee members include psychologist, Dr David Allen; Anglican priest, James Palacious; Director of Immigration, Jack Thompson; representatives from the Department of Social Services and of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force.
The first tour of the centre was conducted on March 3 and the second was on April 7. A third visit is planned for the end of October. A report will then be submitted to Cabinet for review, he said.
“Although I am not at liberty to disclose the particulars of the report,” said Mr McCartney, “I can say unequivocally that I have had the opportunity to review it thoroughly and am satisfied that what will emerge is a picture of extremely humane conditions and a Detention Centre that will satisfy the highest of standards.
At the Detention Centre, international persons without status, who have entered the country illegally, benefit from excellent meals, cable TV, plenty of recreation, hot water, clean beds, laundry facilities, access to medical treatment, and telephone services, he said.
An estimated $300,000 was earmarked for the Department’s operations for the fiscal year that began July 1. More than $20,000 of that has been spent on meals so far, he said.
The goal of the Immigration Department is to repatriate detainees as early as practicable, Mr. McCartney said.
As of October 19, at the Detention Centre there were 89 illegal migrants – 61 males, 21 females and seven children. Of that 37 are from Haiti; 11 from Jamaica; three from Cuba; 31 from China; five from Turkey; 1 from Ghana; and 1 from Nigeria.
There are plans for the rebuilding of the two male dormitories that were damaged by fire earlier this year.