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COMMUNICATION BY FRED MITCHELL MP On The Case Of Bruno Rafa

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cialis usa decease times;”>COMMUNICATION BY FRED MITCHELL MP

MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION

21 December 2015

House of Assembly Nassau

On The Case Of Bruno Rafa

Mr. Speaker in keeping with my promise to keep the House informed on matters relating to Immigration, I wish to repeat the following statement and then explain:

This statement is excerpted from a speech given by the Minister of Foreign Affairs at the Honorary Consular Corps Luncheon on Tuesday 15 December. It is in response to the ruling of Justice Petra Hanna-Weeks in the case of Bruno Rafa in Freeport:

I am now studying a judgment recently issued in Freeport on a challenge to the authority of immigration. I await formal advice. However, my preliminary view is that in the face of such a wide ranging judgment (with which I respectfully disagree) and if it applies beyond the instant case, we are forced to consider our options where the country and the public interest demands the immediate removal of someone from the country where in the opinion of the Department of Immigration, the continued presence in the country of that individual may be inconsistent with the peace and good order of the country. You may hear more developing on this policy shortly. However, the basic premise seems to me must be upheld that the Department of Immigration has in the first instance an unfettered right to determine who is landed and is excluded from The Bahamas, subject to law.

Mr. Speaker,

The Judgment in this case is the second time in as many months that Judges of the Supreme Court in this country have given rulings which suggest that every case of a landed or “non-landed” migrant to this country requires the rules of natural justice to apply.

If this situation were to stand as binding law this would effectively cripple the immigration laws as they have been applied in this country. It would mean that every case of a migrant to this country would be justiciable and possibly challenged in the courts on the basis that there is a legitimate expectation of natural justice.

This particular ruling appears to go further in that it suggests that this even applies to people who seek to enter the country as tourists.

The public is asked to consider the following scenario where a tourist is landed by an immigration officer and then shortly after he passes the gate, the immigration officer discovers information which would cause him to cancel the leave. The ruling suggests that even though that might arise within the airport’s precincts there is a legitimate expectation of natural justice and the individual has to be given a right to be heard rather than withdrawing the leave summarily and putting that individual on the plane and out again.

One can imagine the chaos this would cause with regard to the tens of thousands who make no attempt to come here legitimately but breach the borders and pursuant to these interpretations of the law would now require a court hearing before they can be removed from the country.

For the moment, these rulings are interpreted as peculiar to their own facts. However, the rulings are given in such sweeping and all-encompassing language that a careful study has to be made of them to see whether the law needs to be amended to provide the Immigration Department with the necessary authority to deal with matters summarily with regard to those seeking to land in our country and who though not criminal are adjudged not to be in the general public interest and not good to be landed in The Bahamas or to continue to stay here.

The instant case in Freeport is particularly egregious in that the complaints are numerous and consistent about the individual and the individual was put out The Bahamas before because of his behavior.

The present ruling will be examined to see how to deal with his particular case going forward. The matter is not at an end but one must examine whether an appeal is necessary given the declared position of his counsel that encourages people to fill the courts with legal actions in order to bankrupt the government.

Here is the larger concern that all Bahamians of good will must consider and I put them in the form of suppositions or questions which are not to be taken as applying to any particular case:

What is the Department of Immigration to do where the following obtains?

Someone is landed as a tourist and

has no work permit;

That someone violates continually the immigration laws on the basis that he or she owns property here;

That someone boasts that he or she has immigration in their back pockets up to the highest level and will he or she go nowhere no matter what is done by officials and will use the court system to outstay the present political administration in power;

That someone continually verbally abuses and threatens Bahamians and makes racist remarks about them and politically charged remarks about the country and its officials.

In these circumstances when complaints are made to the Department what should the response of the Department of Immigration do?

Under the existing way of operation, an individual can be given a choice to be formally deported or to be invited to leave the country voluntarily. The latter choice is often preferred because it at least preserves the possibility of a return to The Bahamas. In the former scenario, the individual is automatically restricted from returning to The Bahamas.

Mr. Speaker, I say no more at this stage and I leave the Bahamian public to consider this further and particularly the people of Grand Bahama.

We will continue to act according to law.

I also wish to say that the following as reported to me:

Around 3:00 a. m. 19 December morning two Cuban nationals, Jordani Gonzales, DOB 11 December, 1980 and Luis Alberto Parraoo Ramirez, DOB 27 November, 1994 escaped from the Detention Centre.

This morning there are presently at the Detention Centre:

105 persons:

21 Haitian nationals

59 Cuban nationals

25 various other nationals

Also 142 Haitian nationals were repatriated to Port-au-Prince, Haiti on Wednesday 16 December, 2015. Three Haitian nationals (female) and one Dominican national (male) were sent out 19 December.

I am advised this morning that six additional Cuban nationals were found at Gun Cay in Bimini and are being brought to Nassau.

This appears to mark an uptick in numbers from Cuba. It is believed that this is driven by a belief amongst Cubans that the United States their preferred destination is about to change its policy which gives Cubans an automatic right to some form of residence once they reach the U S. mainland.

I shall keep the public informed.

Mr. Speaker, finally I wish to take issue with an editorial that appeared in the Nassau Guardian of 18 December under the headline The Hypocrisy of the Bahamian Delegation at the Paris Climate Change Talks

The editorial is riddled with self-serving propaganda and non-sequiturs. It is embarrassing and a discredit to whoever taught them the English language.

Imagine describing the Prime Minister’s lobbying on the issue of GDP per capita as “whining” and then suggesting that the issue of the country’s credit rating may extinguish that complaint. Economics 101 of will tell you that the credit rating of a country has nothing to do with GDP per capita and the issue that we must address if we are to get the money for adaption and mitigation on the climate change matter.

Be that as it may however, the one issue amongst others I wish to address is the assertion that illegal immigration has yet to be addressed by the Government.

That is patently, obviously and entirely false, ill-conceived and misdirected.

These folk must be blind as bats.

What concerns us all on this side is the “dumbing” down of language by a newspaper of record which belittles the very label “newspaper of record”.

For the record then, I register my profound disagreement with all that is said in that editorial.

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