Categorized | Featured, National News

New Repatriation Agreement Between Bahamas And Cuba

Cuban Agreement 2 (1)

A new agreement between Cuba and The Bahamas is expected to expedite the repatriations of illegal Cuban migrants.

The agreement came after officials noticed increased levels of Cubans migrating to The Bahamas in hopes of receiving asylum from a third country.

During a news conference in the Majority Room at the House of Assembly Wednesday, Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell said bureaucracy issues between both countries have long bogged down the process; but through this new agreement, this should all be a thing of the past.

“The central objective of this agreement is to reduce the time of regular Cuban immigrants arriving to The Bahamas. Through strengthening the communication between both our countries, our maritime interdiction entities and placing concrete time bound commitments in both countries, we expect to reduce the current repatriation time for regular Cuban migrants from the current situation where migrants might remain in the detention centre for months to repatriation in several weeks at most,” he said.

“These procedures achieve this result by also maintaining space for respecting our obligation to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), which is to ensure the proper procedure for political asylum. While these solutions are a tangible solution to repatriation challenges facing governments, discussions will be ongoing between the two governments to further the work on migratory issues. ”

Cuban Ambassador to The Bahamas Ernesto Guzman said The Bahamas and Cuba have long had a cordial relationship as the countries signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on migration issues in 1996 and again in 1998.

He said this latest agreement strengthens the bond between the two countries.

“It doesn’t mean that we agree 100 per cent on every issue,” Mr. Guzman said.

“But it means that we have the political will, the political vision to speak about everything between our governments based on mutual respect and friendship. That is why we had this first round of technical agreements in Cuba this month.”

He continued, “We agree that Cuban migrants should not stay at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre for a long time. We as neighbours have good relations and we now have all of the conditions from the technical and political points of view to authorise the repatriations as soon as possible.”

According to Minister Mitchell, about 70 Cuban migrants travel to The Bahamas each year.

Currently, there are 19 illegal Cuban migrants at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre.
Thirteen of them are expected to be repatriated next week.

Minister Mitchell also explained the red tape involved in repatriating the remaining five.

“There are some issues because when the US deports people here they may not be from The Bahamas. In the same way, some people may not be from Cuba and the Cuban Government may say ‘they don’t belong to us.’ But those would be rare occasions,” he said.

Recently, Cuban-Americans protested in Miami, Florida saying that a number of Cuban migrants were mistreated and beaten at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre.

There is now an ongoing inquiry involving two defence force officers to investigate those claims.

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