Categorized | National News

Chipman Says Immigration Bill Needs Revision—“Belonger’s Permit Will Create Backlog”

To ensure that the Immigration Bill is fair, Member of Parliament for St. Anne’s Hubert Chipman suggested that revisions should be made to the bill, especially as it relates to the belonger’s permit.

During his contribution to the debate on the Immigration Bill in the House of Assembly on Wednesday, Chipman said even though he supports the government’s efforts to implement the new immigration policy, some parts of the bill should be revised.

“Mr. Speaker the real crux of this bill is how we deal with resident belonger’s permit,” Chipman said.

The belonger’s permit will be granted for three years to non-Bahamians, but Chipman questioned this because he believes it may create a backlog in the immigration system.

“Mr. Speaker, the government haven’t dealt with all the belongers that were here prior to July 9, 1973. Mr. Speaker, I believe it would be simpler if these group of persons be issued permanent residence. Mr. Speaker, issuing belonger’s permit only creates another level of bureaucracy and backlog,” he said.

He pointed out that some individuals have applied for belonger’s permits prior to the new policy and he questioned whether such individuals would have to reapply.

The St. Anne’s member of parliament also expressed his concern for the children who were born in The Bahamas but were repatriated with their parents because they have rights according to the constitution.

“Do we know who they are? What would happen if they return to The Bahamas at age 17 or 18? Do they have the right to apply to be registered as a citizen or entitle to apply for a belonger’s permit?” he asked.

However, Chipman suggested that such children should be properly documented for example, finger printed, before repatriation.

“Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of questions that needs to be answered prior to the passage of this bill concerning belonger’s permits,” Chipman added.

He explained that he disagrees with the section of the bill that gives the minister of immigration the discretionary powers to formulate and implement a sector policy without consultation.

“Mr. Speaker, I believe this is dangerous. I firmly believe this should be dealt with through the Cabinet and then Parliament if necessary,” Chipman said.

“Mr. Speaker when we consider the new immigration policy it appears to me that this was not well thought out.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Watch JCN Channel 14 Shows

Jcn Channel 14

Sign in now to see your channels and recommendations!

Join Us on Facebook