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Senator Fred Mitchell with Senators Michael Darville and Clay Sweeting at the press conference at the House of Assembly 2 March on Immigration and the Oban Energy. The following statement was issued by Senator Fred Mitchell, the Opposition Spokesman on Immigration, at a press conference on Friday 2 March at the House of Assembly. The audio of the press conference follows:

Statement From Senator Fred Mitchell
Opposition Spokesman On Immigration
On the Enforcement Of Immigration Rules
For Immediate Release
2 March 2018

As a result of legal decisions, we have the spectre of people who have no legal status free on the streets of The Bahamas with the Department of Immigration having no effective means to police their status. This has knock on effects on the prison and the administration generally of the Department of Immigration.

This requires urgent action on the part of the Government to have this matter clarified at the Privy Council level and at the same time the law needs to be amended to ensure that Immigration has the tools to do the job of protecting the country from incursions of those who would seek to breach our borders.

The rule on costs in the Supreme Court in these matters must be amended to prevent unscrupulous lawyers from obtaining a windfall through these actions.

At the same time, we wish to call for the strict enforcement of the law. We support the immigration officers in their work. Both the reports of corruption and excesses in the lawful exercise of their responsibilities are exaggerated for effect. The attacks on them are condemned.

The Government must stand up for the Immigration Department and its officers.

It appears that the Government is unable to successfully defend itself in court. It is important that the sovereignty of our country is defended and the right, the absolute right – subject to law – of the Immigration Director to exclude non-nationals from this country must to be confirmed.