Bell rounds on critics over immigration

Labour and Immigration Minister Keith Bell.

Labour and Immigration Minister Keith Bell.


Tribune Staff Reporter


IMMIGRATION Minister Keith Bell yesterday branded comments from critics that the government is not doing enough to address the illegal immigration problem in the country as completely “disingenuous”.

Mr Bell spoke to the press as a group of people, led by Coalition of Independents leader Lincoln Bain, protested outside the Prime Minister’s office yesterday, demanding that the Davis administration take action to address what they call an “immigration crisis”.

Responding to yesterday’s demonstration, Mr Bell said he was satisfied that this administration was doing “as much as it possibly can” at this point and called upon Mr Bain and his supporters to be mindful of what they say in public as it could create a false narrative.

“I would say to Mr Bain and to all Bahamians that all of us, as Bahamians we ought to speak with one accord and when we act, we ought to act with sincerity and we ought to be genuine in what we do, and we ought to ensure that we act for and in the best interest of the Bahamas and for Bahamians,” Mr Bell told reporters before attending yesterday’s Cabinet meeting.

“I am satisfied that in The Bahamas the government is doing as much as it possibly can at this stage. There are a number of matters which are under active investigation, or are being actioned, not just by the Ministry and the Department of Immigration, but by the Ministry of Works and by the Ministry of National Security.

“And I think it does those officers a disservice and I think it’s really disingenuous of Mr Bain and his cohorts to indicate that nothing much has been done on and to represent matters that I have discovered are in fact, not the case.”

The minister pointed to recent “nonsense” claims made by Mr Bain on social media about there being a shanty town situated on Paradise Island.

Mr Bain went live on Paradise Island earlier this week, knocked on a woman’s door at night and questioned her, alleging that she was squatting in the home.

However, Mr Bell called the claims completely false.

“The individuals were born in The Bahamas and they have made an application,” he continued. “I will say a whole lot more about it, but as Bahamians, we have to ensure that when we speak about matters related to immigration, there is a domino effect. It cuts across other areas.

“So, for instance, you’ll recall a number of years we would’ve had several other challenges on Paradise Island for which The Bahamas have had. It took us a number of years to recover and so, now you’re talking about this ‘shanty town’ on Paradise Island, which as we all would appreciate, could impact our country economically.

“And so again, I want to caution Bahamians that don’t just simply grab up everything you see on social media, but it is absolutely rubbish, nonsense that a shanty town exists on Paradise Island.”

Asked if he believed the country was facing an immigration crisis, Mr Bell said there’s no doubt that it’s a major problem, but noted the country needs to be more focused on its response to the vexing issue.

“The focus here is not whether or not we are in a crisis, whether we have a challenge, whether we have a problem, the issue with illegal migration, irregular migration coming from Haiti is an age-old problem,” he said.

“It’s a major challenge in the country, there’s no doubt about it, but the focus in my view ought to be and must remain what it is we are doing about it. That is the focus and that is where we intend to keep that focus.”


TalRussell 2 months, 1 week ago

Highly recommended the Crown's Substantive Immigration Minister Keith Bell can begin by looking inward at his own ministry's culture being the root cause behind the colony's mess of undocumentedness - where it's estimated that some 60%+ of all those persons are incorrectly classified and includes those unfortunate persons are regularly deported for being illegal immigrants, — Yes?


themessenger 2 months, 1 week ago

While I consider Minister Bell to be one of Mr Davises talking suits, there is absolutely no question that Lincoln is a dangerous fringe lunatic who should be sedated regularly.


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