Categorized | National News

Rights Bahamas Says Fire Immigration Minister and Director

Rights Bahamas is calling on Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis to fire his Minister of Immigration, Brent Symonette and the Director of Immigration Williiam Pratt.

The Human Rights group says both men “must be recognized as the purveyors of human misery and injustice.”

Rights Bahamas says that Jean Rony Jean-Charles, a client of our president, attorney Fred Smith, QC, may have been illegally expelled to Haiti by the Immigration Department. During his several months of what the organization called “ unlawful detention”,, he was never charged with a crime, never allowed to apply for bail, never afforded the right to see an attorney, nor was he granted his day in court.

“Had he been given due process as mandated by the Bahamas Constitution, the authorities would have realized that Jean Rony was actually born in The Bahamas, had a constitutional right to be here, and was entitled to be registered as a citizen upon his 18th birthday.


“Instead, he was summarily detained and apparently arbitrarily expelled (immigration call it “repatriation“) from the country without so much as a deportation order signed by the Minister of Immigration; and deprived him of his right of appeal to the Governor General, as is required by law.

“Virtually every single one of this individual’s fundamental legal rights – freedom of movement,  freedom from arbitrary detention, freedom from discrimination, the right to an attorney, the right to a jury trial, the presumption of innocence – has been violated in the most flagrant manner by the Bahamas Immigration Department. On Director William Pratt’s watch, this rogue department continues to operate as if it is above the law.

“Jean Rony did not break any law. He did not enter the country illegally, he did not overstay, he did not work without a permit. This man did nothing wrong”, said Rights Bahamas.

A release from the organization said “He was born in The Bahamas and went to school here all his life. All of his friends, relatives and loved ones are here. He has never been to Haiti before and knows no one there.

“The government of the Bahamas may have cruelly expelled Jean Rony from his home and sent to an alien and dangerous land, alone. His loved ones are beside themselves with grief, panic and frustration. They have a very realistic fear that they will never see him again.

“What has happened to Jean Rony Jean-Charles? Why will the government refuse to say? Why do Immigration officers continue to cower and hide when they see his attorneys?

“If he has really been expelled, it is nothing less than a human rights tragedy, outrage and disgrace – an indelible black mark and shameful stain on the reputation of The Bahamas, and the blame for it lays squarely at the feet of Immigration Minister Brent Symonette and Director Pratt.

“How many more Jean Ronys are there abandoned in Haiti or in some other country right now? How many more innocent people has this lawless, cutthroat Immigration Department of The Bahamas illegally expelled and sent to a foreign land, friendless and penniless, to fend for themselves?

“Enough is enough. Brent Symonette and William Pratt must be recognized as the purveyors of human misery and injustice that they are. Rights Bahamas calls on Prime Minister Minnis to step in and relieve both men of their duties immediately.

“We remind the prime minister of his pledge at a Haitian church several weeks to be “fair and just” in immigration matters. He promised to expeditiously grant status to those like Jean Rony who were born in The Bahamas and therefore qualify. Tell us, prime minister, how is Jean Rony and the untold number of others like him, supposed to access this right when they have been arbitrarily and vindictively expelled from the country, probably never to return?

“Rights Bahamas will continue to do all it can to locate Jean Rony whether in Haiti or in the Bahamas, and will fight for him to have his day in court as provided for by the constitution. We strongly urge the government to use its diplomatic channels to aid us in finding him if he has indeed been deported. It is the least they can do considering the suffering and anxiety they have caused to this innocent person and his family,” the statement said.




Written by Jones Bahamas

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