Categorized | National News

Bahamas Set to Discuss Migration At Bilateral Meeting

Government officials will again tackle the highly emotive issue of illegal migration during a bilateral meeting in Port Au Prince, Haiti next week.

The decision to pursue such talks comes after The Bahamas raised its own migration issues during the 25th Inter-Sessional Meetings of CARICOM Heads of Government and political heads in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

According to Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchel, during the two-day meeting, The Bahamas took the position that CARICOM must engage as an observer to the process of mediation between Haiti and the Dominican Republic as initiated by the president of Venezuela.

The Bahamas has long wrestled with the whole issue of illegal migration.

In fact, each year the government allocates a substantial amount of money to repatriating hundreds of illegal immigrants, the majority of whom are Haitian nationals.

Some 3,033 Haitians were sent home last year.

Minister Mitchell recently revealed that from January to February 18, immigration officers apprehended and repatriated 410 migrants. Of this figure, 357 were Haitians.

Migration aside, CARICOM leaders this week also discussed the equally thorny issue of medical marijuana.

Activists in Jamaica, St Lucia and other islands, have pushed to legalise marijuana use. However others throughout the region still consider it a dangerous drug.

Minister Mitchell had no comment save to say that The Bahamas continues to have a “watching brief on the matter.”

“(We) will await the commission’s report,” he said. “The status quo on this drug remains – marijuana is a dangerous and illicit drug in The Bahamas.

Next turning his attention to the budget for the Regional Commission on Reparations for African Slavery and Native Genocide, the minister confirmed that “there was a general decision on this, including note taken of the budget allocations.

However, in the case of The Bahamas, he said a decision will be made once “our own local commission advise us on a way forward.”

Serving on that commission are former parliamentarians Alfred Sears and Philip Smith.

A full commission is expected to be appointed.

Minister Mitchell said that a full committee will be appointed now that the government delegation has returned home.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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