| Feb 20, 2023

Bahamian PM holds firm to decision to prevent illegal migration

/ Our Today

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Prime Minister of Bahamas, Phllip Davis.

Bahamian Prime Minister Philip Davis is holding firm to his decision to prevent illegal migrants from entering the country due to a lack of resources to host those migrants.

“Our country has been through a lot. We have very serious challenges and limited resources with which to face these challenges. We are a compassionate people, but we cannot take on new burdens,” he said.

This comes after Davis decided not to sign a pledge at the Summit of Americas last year which included a commitment to take on refugees.

He says he’s standing by his decision to prevent illegal migration despite pressure from the United Nations for countries to stop the deportation of Haitians due to ongoing security issue that is occurring in the country.

“We are standing strong on this position. Despite pressure, earlier this year, when the United Nations called for countries in our region to halt deportations to Haiti, once again, I decided to continue repatriations. This is a decision I made for the benefit of all Bahamians and future generations of Bahamians. The Bahamas is for Bahamians, and for those who are prepared to follow the laws of our country. We simply cannot afford open borders,” said Davis.

Davis, who is also the chairman of CARICOM, said that he was “very clear with our international friends that assistance to Haiti must be carried out carefully and strategically, and with an acknowledgement of the burden The Bahamas is already carrying, and has been carrying for decades”.

He said stabilising the situation in Haiti, where efforts are being made to hold long overdue presidential and legislative elections, is the most effective way to decrease the amount of potential economic migrants coming to The Bahamas daily.

He also announced the launch of ‘Operation Secure’ on Sunday (February 19), which is a collaborative security operation between the Royal Bahamas Police Force, the Defence Force, and the Department of Immigration, to address security and migration-related issues in unregulated and unlawful communities.

FILE PHOTO: Armed Haitian National Police officers escort the convoy of the three officers killed by armed gangs after the funeral ceremony at the National Police Academy, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti January 31,2023. REUTERS/Ricardo Arduengo

Davis said while 21 other countries including Caribbean nations like Barbados and Jamaica, signed on to this agreement, he declined because “our small nation cannot possibly shoulder any more of a burden.

CARICOM leaders at the end of their summit last Friday issued a statement on Haiti reiterating that the 15-member regional integration grouping must play a leadership role in addressing the deteriorating situation in the country.


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