Categorized | National News

Pintard Wants Solution for ‘Stateless Youth’

Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Michael Pintard made an impassioned plea in the House of Assembly yesterday and urged his parliamentary colleagues to recognize the importance of reaching out to marginalized and disenfranchised young persons in the country.

Mr. Pintard’s comments came during his contribution to the 2017/2018 Budget Communication debate in the House of Assembly.


“If young people are to be empowered then we must reach out and include their peers who feel marginalized and disenfranchised.

“For if there is a segment of our society that is locked out from the mainstream, then all of our lives are diminished in some way and for those whose status has not been addressed due to the nationality of their parents we must solve this problem.

“It is important that we engage the country on this frank and candid discussion.  If young people must be empowered, they must have access to resources because notwithstanding the best information they may have in their head, often times their dreams and aspirations will not be realized,” Mr. Pintard said.

Haiti in March joined Jamaica to become the second country in CARICOM to become a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.

The convention sets rules for the conferral and non-withdrawal of citizenship, in an effort to combat statelessness.

The rules include granting nationality to people born in territories who would otherwise be stateless.

Haiti’s decision does not affect The Bahamas, which is not a signatory to the convention.

The Bahamian government has maintained that based on Haitian law, no matter where they are born, children of Haitian descent are Haitian at birth.

According to existing policy, such people would require a Haitian passport and a residence permit to be in The Bahamas.

Nonetheless, activists and scholars have said for years that there are thousands of “de facto” stateless people born to Haitian parents living in The Bahamas, people with no ties to Haiti.

Advocates for constitutional reform of citizenship provisions have argued that the Bahamas’ citizenship laws contravene various international conventions that relate to statelessness.

The minister’s comments came at a time when The Bahamas wrestles with a more than 20 per cent unemployment rate among Bahamian youth.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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