Categorized | Editorials, Featured

Immigration Comprehensive Review Commission Revealed

Hon. Alfred Sears, Minister of Immigration

By Keile Campbell

The Bahamas Department of Immigration’s Comprehensive Review Commission
has been selected, as revealed in Parliament on Wednesday by Minister of
Immigration Alfred Sears.
Prime Minister Philip Davis, back in June revealed that there would be a
comprehensive review of the immigration department in wake of former Minister
of Immigration Keith Bell allegedly interfering with the work of immigration staff
according to emails between the Director of Immigration at the time Keturah
Ferguson and Permanent Secretary of Immigration and Labour Cecilia Strachan.
Minister Sears listed the names of the individual members of the commission as
well as a general synopsis of the commission’s purpose and aim.
“This commission, led by Ms. Alexandria Hall and supported by the expertise of
former Director of Education and now a member of the Public Policy Institute of
the University of the Bahamas, Dr. Marcellus Taylor, and the former Commodore
of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Sir Clifford Scavella is set to make pivotal
strides in improving the way immigration decisions are made in the Bahamas.” The
immigration minister said.
“The Commission will review the checks and balances relative to how immigration
decisions are made and make recommendations to strengthen the decision-making
process. This very heavy mandate, I look forward to working with the Commission
and to having the benefit of its report and recommendation.”
As it relates to the matter reported in a local daily concerning a mother of three
children who resided in the Kool Acres shanty town until she was taken by
immigration authorities while her children were in school, the Minister of
Immigration provided an update on that situation.
“The Ministry of Immigration and NIB has been working with the Unregulated
Communities Action Task Force which is led by the Minister of Works and
Member Parliament for South Eleuthera. Recently, there was a report that during
an exercise a mother had been separated from her children. We investigated that
report and I’m happy to report that the mother and children had been united.” The
minister of immigration explained
Minister Sears noted his desire to change the public perception of the immigration

department adding that the sector is gearing up to go through a transitional phase
which he will regularly keep the members of parliament up-to-date with.
“We are committed to improving the image of the Department of Immigration and
I wish to send a strong message to the public and to the immigration officers that as
of this day, the 25th of October, we will be transformational. We will use all
available tools and resources to invest in training and retraining to build the
capacity of the staff to serve the public as efficiently as possible and at all times.
“Establish and implement – and this is very important, a succession plan to
facilitate a path for the professional mobility through the ranks ultimately to the
director of immigration.” Minister Sears said.
“In this session, Mr. Deputy, there will be a number of bills I will bring to amend
the Immigration Act and the Bahamas Nationality Act to ensure fairness,
efficiency, and accountability in this important aspect area of national security” he
During the period when Parliament was prorogued, a cabinet shuffle occurred,
resulting in the Minister of Immigration at the time Keith Bell having his
ministerial portfolio changed to becoming Minister of Housing and Urban Renewal
while Minister Alfred Sears switch his ministerial responsibilities from Works and
Utilities to Immigration and National Insurance Board.
The Official Opposition levied the claim that the government prorogued the
previous session of Parliament to prevent the opposition from questioning the
government on several high-profile matters and changed ministers’ roles during the
cabinet shuffle in order to avoid accountability to the Bahamian people.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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