discount cialis treatment times;”>REMARKS BY THE HON. PHILIP “BRAVE” DAVIS, buy viagra rx MP
DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER
MINISTER OF WORKS AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
PASSING OUT CEREMONY (GRADUATION) FOR IMMIGRATION OFFICERS
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2014
I am pleased and honoured to be with you this afternoon. This is a special day for you and it is a special day for me. It is also another sign of the commitment of my government to the national security of our country and the well-being of our state and sovereignty.
Just last Friday at this same locale, the country witnessed the passing out parade of new police recruits and, today, we have come to witness the passing out of this Squad of Immigration Officers. It is the first such class since the year 2009.
Today 58 men and women, and I add young men and women, have joined the Department of Immigration as Immigration Officers.
You are part of the best trained generation that our country has ever produced. This is in every sense of the word your first public commitment to give back to the country that nurtured you from childhood and now calls upon you to give back to it. I have no doubt that this is what you will do.
The people of The Bahamas call upon its law enforcement officials to protect its borders and ensure their general well-being. In doing so there is the expectation that you will be honest and humane in all your dealings; that you will enforce the law without fear or favour; true to your oath of office and the training which has been given to you.
You are travelling a well-worn path to public service. Your trainers, your director, and your assistant directors have all started out from where you now stand. They have made it to the top of their chosen profession and they expect you to have the same affinity to this department which will cause you to commit to immigration as a career and in which you too will rise to the top. You should all be aspiring one day to be the Director.
Mr. Director, I wish to thank you for all that you have done in assembling this fine group of men and women. I am told that you have already had them in the field and so they have been battled tested. This was a wise decision on your part and I am sure that it will benefit them as they begin their work in earnest.
I wish to add my thanks to their trainers as well.
I also add a word of thanks to the Enforcement Unit of the Department headed by Mr. Kirk Neilly. I want them to know that they have the full support of the government. I know that they know that we must always act within the law and that we must always act humanely in whatever we do. It is not only The Bahamas that is watching but as the late Timothy Gibson wrote in our national anthem: “the world marks the manner of our bearing.”
Similarly, thanks and appreciation is due to the men and women who meet the visitors at our borders. You know that they will be amongst the first to meet visitors in a world that now faces a health emergency with the threat of Ebola. Even though that threat is remote, we are doing everything to ensure that immigration officers are safe and that our country will be safe. For this, I thank them.
The government is committed to the Department of Immigration. The Ministry of Finance will supply the resources needed for you to do your work. This includes a new border control system which is in the final stages of its acquisition and the acquisition of items like computers and transportation which you have been seeking for some time. You know that our country is resource challenged but this government is committed to finding the resources so that you can do your work effectively and efficiently.
In this regard it is crucial for all to understand the constraints within which we operate. All of us have had to do more with less. We want to help you to do more.
By any record, this year has been a challenging one. We have continued our programme of repatriation within the budget available to us. The statistics bear out what I have just said.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
If we consider the Bahamas Immigration statistics between January and November 1st of this year, our Government has repatriated a total of 3,419 foreign nationals, the majority being Haitian nationals (2,852). This year to date, we have interdicted 1660 Haitian nationals at sea. These figures are meaningless without counting the true cost to all of us. This year alone (to September 12th, we have spent more than $1.2 million on repatriations. Remember that the entire budget for the year is now $1.5 million. So you see how we are challenged. Nevertheless, we do what we must.
You are all aware of the reform measures announced by Government with respect to immigration. Apart from this being the right thing to do, it is also one of the planks in my party’s Charter for Governance on which we fought the 2012 general election.
We announced that as of 1st November, applicants for work permits who have no legal status in The Bahamas must be certified as seen in their home countries by an officer of a Bahamian embassy or consulate. This is to cut down on the instances of fraud in the application process.
Secondly, we have implemented a new resident permit for those who were born here to non-Bahamian parents, who are here legally
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. This requires that all such persons must have a passport of their nationality. The certificates of identity that were issued to those persons will no longer be issued.
We are also committed to regularizing those who have applied for status and have been long standing.
It is extremely important to foreshadow that changes will be coming in the immigration laws that will toughen the penalties for smuggling and for employing people without a work permit.
While all of these initiatives will strengthen our security, new regulations are proposed to bring transparency to the Detention Centre and to make it more accessible. When Parliament resumes on 19th November, these initiatives will be tabled before Members and Senators for their approval.
With that said and done, you can see that you have much work therefore to do in immigration. I congratulate you again. I commit you to service with integrity and wisdom. Do not allow yourselves to be compromised or corrupted in anyway in the service of our country. This is your country and the country is only as strong as we ourselves.
Today, The Bahamas is proud of you. I am sure your family and friends are equally proud and impressed. It is left then only for me to add my best wishes for your future careers. Pledge to excel! Pledge to excel! May God continue to bless you and your families; and God bless the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.