BAR ASSOCIATION TRASHES THE FNM ON IMMIGRATION

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Kahlil Parker is the son of the former FNM candidate Cedric Parker. So presumably, he is like many of the professionals in his generation FNM inclined and also inclined to give the FNM government a free pass. It was apparently so bad this new amendment to the immigration act that the FNM government passed in the House of Assembly on Wednesday 24th April, even the FNM inclined had to point out that it was wrong.  The statement below decries the new amendment as a source of concern for lawyers.  So it should be.  Under the new act, a lawyer, an accountant, a doctor or a consultant can simply walk into The Bahamas, saying he is coming for a director’s meeting and without a work permit  march in on the premises that while here will not be gainfully employed.  We have hell on our hands now trying to police the regular work permit situation, imagine the abuse that will come with this.

Kahlil D. Parker

President

The Bahamas Bar Association

Email: President@bahamasbarassociation.com  ​​​​            DATED 25th April 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Statement on the Immigration (Amendment) Bill, 2019

Sovereignty, ofttimes a hard-fought privilege, is the solemn responsibility of a Nation and its Government. Contemplating sovereignty is both sobering and useful as it focuses the mind when considering the proper aims and objectives of any immigration regime. Although The Bahamas Bar Association was not consulted with respect to the proposed Immigration (Amendment) Bill 2019, we are nevertheless mandated to promote positive law reform, and to decry reforms which potentially threaten not only our profession but those of our fellow Bahamians and our way of life.

By this Amendment, the Government proposes to divest itself of responsibility for the regulation of the engagement of visitors to our shores in a myriad of professional and commercial activities, ostensibly on the basis that they would only be permitted to do so in “fourteen day” intervals. While the administrative unworkability and undesirability of this aspect of the Amendment is manifest, what also causes concern is that the Government has yet to articulate how the Amendment, merely the latest deconstructive immigration proposal, is to add substantive long-term value to the professions and day to day lives of working and middle-class Bahamians. Had there been proper consultation, for example, we would have been able to explore the fact that effectively depriving Immigration Officers on the front line of any meaningful discretion is not practical and does not appear to be in our national interest.

As a professional regulatory body, we consider the Amendment part of a broader effort to arbitrarily undermine our ability to discharge our functions and the ability of our members to develop their businesses in order to take advantage of the often touted and fabled foreign direct investment.

It is clear that the Government’s spin on its immigration reform agenda is aimed at promoting The Bahamas as being “open for business”. However, as Bahamians and professionals, we must necessarily, and repeatedly, remind our Government that their first priority ought to be ensuring that Bahamians are able to remain open for business.

We oppose the Amendment as presented and reject the pernicious ‘trickle down’ thinking upon which it appears to be based.

Our goals ought to be loftier.

Kahlil D. Parker

President

The Bahamas Bar Association