Categorized | National News


Supreme Court Justice Mr. Gregory Hilton yesterday granted application for a writ of Habeas Corpus in a case brought by Queen’s Counsel Fred Smith against The Carmichael Detention Center and the Immigration Department.


Mr. Smith was escorted off the property of The Carmichael Detention Center on Monday after attempting to see his client, Jean Rony Jean Charles.


He says there is controversy as to whether his client Mr. Jean Charles is still in The Bahamas or was he deported to Haiti; a nation he has never visited.



“The government must now provide evidence in writing about where this body is. If the body isn’t with them, they have to justify the holding of the body and what they’ve done with Mr. Jean Rony.


“Is Mr. Rony alive or is Mr. Rony dead? Is he in the Bahamas, is he in Haiti? Nobody has heard from him in weeks now,” the lawyer said.


According to the Immigration Act; Chapter 191, any person that is detained by Immigration Officers shall be deemed to seek counsel.


“If he had been deported, there has to be a written deportation order signed by Immigration Minister Brent Symonette.


“Whenever you are served with a deportation order, everybody has a right, according to law, to appeal to the Governor General and the courts have repeatedly stated that you cannot be held pending deportation,” Mr. Smith stated.


Mr. Smith told the Court that his client Jean Rony Jean Charles has been in custody since September. He was born in the Bahamas and has never travelled out of the Bahamas. His parents are Haitian and came here legally; they had papers.


According to the Queen’s Counsel, Jean Rony Jean Charles also has five sisters, all of whom are Bahamian citizens.


Once becoming aware his client was detained, Mr. Smith has attempted to see his client on three different occasions including Monday, but to no avail.


“Mr. Jean Rony Jean Charles under the constitution is entitled to apply and or to be registered as a citizen.


“Immigration does not have the right to simply pick up and hold people for a week, a month, a year or two years. This case is about getting Jean Rony Jean Charles released,” Mr. Smith stated.



“The department of Immigration thinks they can just grab a hold of people; people born in The Bahamas and just hold them.


“Immigration has created this perception in the country that they are entitled to be above the law. Immigration is not above the law; they are subject to the law just like every other citizen,” he said.


Moreover, Mr. Smith agrees with Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis’ declarations of deporting illegal migrants, but he is not keen on the date of December 31st.


“Continue to investigate and arrest those who come here illegally; those who are working without a work permit; those who have over stayed illegally; those who are trafficking people; Bahamians and foreigners who are employing people illegally; arrest, take them before the court, prosecute them; that is the rule of law,” Mr. Smith affirmed.


Attorney Crispin Hall, junior counsel working with Smith said, “It’s unfortunate that the immigration officers and the immigration department are acting above the law; they are not acting in consistency with the immigration act.


“As long as they continue to do that, we will continue to bring these habeas corpus actions; until the immigration officers follow the proper procedure. Today was a step in the right direction.”





Written by Jones Bahamas

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