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THE PRISONERS GET TO COME BACK HOME BUT NO STUDENTS

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The following statement was issued by Senator Fred Mitchell, Chairman of the PLP and the Opposition’s spokesman on Foreign Affairs, following a statement made by the Attorney General Carl Bethel to the press on 15 April 2020.  The link to the story with Mr. Bethel is provided here:

16 April 2020

I note the announcement by the Attorney General confirming the government’s decision to accept Bahamian citizens, including convicted criminals, deported by the United States government back in The Bahamas even during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is an exception to the policy which they announced that Bahamians cannot return home.

I find it ironic that criminal deportees who are likely being returned home against their will are being accepted into our country and possibly quarantined at taxpayer’s expense but lawful citizens of the Bahamas like students and those temporarily visiting abroad who want to return home are being refused entry by the Government for fear of the spread COVID-19. Why couldn’t the same provisions and conditions be put in place for them?

I suggest also to the Attorney General that he should not under any circumstances accept under this deportee programme of the United States people who are not citizens of The Bahamas and therefore have no right to repatriation here. The laws of The Bahamas do not confer citizenship at birth to someone born in The Bahamas unless their parents are Bahamian. In law, those who have only a birth certificate but no other ties, especially parental ties to The Bahamas are not Bahamian citizens.

We have no obligation to accept them. Bahamians and lawful residents have a right to return home and should be allowed to return home and have equal treatment as these deportees or else the Government should stick to one rule for all.

End