Tough Talk By Bahamas Foreign Affairs Minister; New Policies To Manage Illegal Migrants
Nassau, Bahamas – With immediate effect, we will not accept applications for people who do not have legal status in The Bahamas to work and anyone who comes to do so the application will be refused and the applicant will be arrested and charged and deported.
The Cabinet is considering a permanent prospective ban on all people who have come here illegally and have been deported so that they will not ever be able to qualify for a permanent status in The Bahamas.
We are allowing a period for comment before proceeding with a formal proposal in this regard. The intention is to have new regulations or policies in place on this subject by 1stJanuary 2015, subject to any exigencies.
With effect from 1st November 2014 new procedures are to come into force with regard to work permit procedures, and it is envisaged that the regulations will be amended and the policies accordingly.
The suggestions are out now for comment. Meetings have been held with various stakeholders including the Haitian Ambassador and the leaders of the Haitian community. They are expected to meet again with the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister.
The proposal is that as of the 1st of November 2014:
Employers who wish to apply for first time work permit holders that is persons with no status in The Bahamas who are from the Republic of Haiti will have to do the following:
1. Come to the Department of Immigration and pay the processing fee $100, provide the labour certificate, the cover letter, the stamp tax of $30 and the employee information sheet in Nassau.
2. That information will be forwarded to the Embassy of The Bahamas in Port au Prince where the individual applicant will fill out the application form and provide the supporting documents. The individual applicant must be certified as personally seen by an embassy officer in Port Au Prince.
I also wish to announce that we will as of 1st November require all persons who live in The Bahamas to have a passport of the country of their nationality. Those people who have been born here will get a particular residence permit which will allow them to work and live here until such time as their status pursuant to any application under the terms of the constitution is decided.
This will also allow access of children to school. This will not apply to the children of those who are here illegally.
The Haitian President and the Ambassador have confirmed that they will be able to meet the demand for these passports.
The holding of a foreign passport does not prejudice the right of anyone under the constitution to apply for citizenship of the Bahamas.
In addition it is proposed that as of 1st November, the practice of issuing Certificates of Identity to non nationals born here will cease. These will only be for Bahamians who have a need for an emergency travel document or where in accordance with our international obligations we are to issue them to non nationals.
Again these matters are now in the public domain for comment.
The idea is to ensure that people are properly documented if they are living in The Bahamas.
The situation with immigration in The Bahamas is most vexing. The new class of recruits should graduate at the end of October; I think there will be 60 in that class. A new class has been chosen and will begin shortly thereafter. The RBDF is working actively on the high seas. The level of interdictions on land is ongoing.
There is so much criminality involved in immigration, that these new rules and procedures are necessary in order to get on top of this problem.
This requires the efforts of all Bahamians to guard our borders and protect our country. We are particularly concerned about what is happening in Abaco and special attention is being paid to that island and to Eleuthera where many residents believe that things have gotten totally out of hand. It is important for us to address it before it gets out of hand.
There are reports that there are in some sections of those islands no go areas for public officials. This cannot stand and this will be stopped.
Kamala Harris to meet with Caribbean leaders in The Bahamas
#USA, June 5, 2023 – Kamala Harris, United States Vice President will journey to Nassau Bahamas in June for a top level meeting with Caribbean leaders, marking the first time she will visit the region since occupying office in 2021.
According to the White House in a statement, the meeting will bring attention to a range of regional issues. Harris and the Caribbean leaders will continue talks on the shared efforts to address the climate crisis, such as promoting climate resilience and adaptation in the region and increasing energy security through clean energy.
Additionally, the statement informed that Harris’ trip “delivers on the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advance cooperation with the Caribbean in pursuit of shared prosperity and security, and in recognition of the common bonds and interests between our nations.”
The June 8th meeting builds on and strengthens the U.S.-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis 2030, which was launched by the Vice President and Caribbean leaders in Los Angeles at the Summit of the Americas as further mentioned by White House Statement.
CARPHA Observes World No Tobacco Day
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, June 5, 2023 – Tobacco use remains a major public health concern in the Caribbean Region. There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke. The use of tobacco products in any form harms nearly every organ of the body, irrespective of whether it is smoked, smokeless, or electronic. Of all the forms of tobacco use, most common in the Caribbean region is cigarette smoking. Cigarette smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer. Using other tobacco products such as cigars or pipes also increases the risk for this disease.
Second-hand smoke exposure causes stroke, lung cancer, and coronary heart disease in adults; and acute respiratory infections and severe asthma in children. It is a preventable risk factor for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), which are the leading cause of death, disease and disability among Caribbean people.
This year, World No Tobacco Day focuses on Grow Food, Not Tobacco. This campaign advocates for ending tobacco cultivation and switching to more sustainable crops that improve food security and nutrition. The campaign observed annually on 31 May, also informs the public on the dangers of direct use, and exposure to tobacco.
In the Caribbean Region, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of death and disability – 76.8% of the total deaths (non-Latin Caribbean, excluding Haiti) were due to NCDs in 2016. Cardiovascular diseases 30.8% and cancer 17.2% are the leading causes of death due to NCD, both linked to tobacco use. Many of these persons die in the prime of their lives before the age of 70 years old. The prevalence of smokers for overall tobacco products ranged from 57.2% prevalence (95%CI 48.4 to 65.4%) to 16.2% (95%CI 11.2 to 23.0%). According to the Report on Tobacco Control in the Region of the Americas (2018) Caribbean countries have the highest levels of tobacco experimentation before the age of 10.
Dr. Joy St. John, Executive Director at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) “Smokeless does not mean harmless. Nicotine in e-cigarettes is a highly addictive drug and can damage children’s developing brains. Children and adolescents who use e-cigarettes at least double their chance of smoking cigarettes later in life. Preventing tobacco product use among youth is therefore critical. It is important that we educate children and adolescents about the harms of nicotine and tobacco product use. We must work to prevent future generations from seeing such products as “normal”.”
In 2008, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) endorsed the recommendation to ban smoking in public spaces. Later, in 2012, CARICOM regulated a standard for labelling retail packages of tobacco products with health warnings. Caribbean civil society organisations (CSOs), working in collaboration with local governments and international partners, have led the charge in fighting for significant gains in tobacco control in the Caribbean region.
Dr Heather Armstrong, Head, Chronic Disease and Injury: “At CARPHA, we believe that reducing the harm caused by tobacco use requires a collective approach, where government, civil society, and the individual play a critical role. CARPHA promotes the prevention of tobacco use in all forms and commitment to the WHO FCTC. The focus on tobacco control deals with the youth of the Region. Children and adolescents who use e-cigarettes at least double their chance of smoking cigarettes later in life.”
The Chronic Diseases and Injury Department of CARPHA provides leadership, strategic direction, coordinates and implements technical cooperation activities directed towards the prevention and control of NCDs in CARPHA Member States. CARPHA’s message for prevention of tobacco product use has spread across its Member States.
In 2018, CARPHA in partnership with the University of the West Indies (UWI), Global Health Diplomacy Program at the University of Toronto, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and the Healthy Caribbean Coalition evaluated the Port of Spain Declaration to learn which mandates helped to prevent and control NCDs. Taxation, smoke-free public places mandate, and mandatory labelling of tobacco products are some of the leading policies making the biggest impact on reduction of tobacco use in the Caribbean regions.
CARPHA urges Member States to work together to prevent and reduce the use of all forms of tobacco products, and scale-up efforts to implement their commitments under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). By doing so, the negative impact of smoking and its consequences on the health of our people, especially the younger generation, and the tremendous burden on the economies of the countries in our Region, will greatly be reduced.
Hunger rates rise in Latin America and the Caribbean
June 5, 2023 – It’s an unfortunate reality for Latin America and the Caribbean as the number of people suffering from hunger surged by 30 percent; 56 million people now facing hunger, a large increase from 43 million in 2019.
It was revealed by Mario Lubetkin, Deputy Director General and Regional Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), where he further informed that the war in Ukraine, COVID-19, and the ongoing climate crisis are to blame for the surge.
Regarding the climate crisis, he emphasized that climate related challenges are on the rise as the region experiences combinations of droughts and floods; and to combat this, he expressed that proactive measures should be put in place to prepare farmers for potential severe impacts.
To help mitigate the surge in hunger rate, he put forth a three fold approach.
The first is the importance of effectively managing the current situation by whatever means necessary; for the second, he fingered the need for the creation of sufficient funds to mitigate the impact on farmers, for the third, he highlighted the need for collaboration among Governments, public sectors, and private sectors in order to mollify the burden of rising prices on consumers.
These highlighted efforts are in line with the aspirations and duties of the FAO which is devoted to supporting family farming, which makes up 80 percent of the workforce in the Agriculture sector.
Additionally, Lubetkin spoke of FAO’s commitment to quality products and brought attention to the United Nations Decade of Family Farming, which is geared towards eradicating hunger, ensuring food security, and promoting sustainable development in rural areas.
The organization also aims to enhance food security, a needed element in the regions, through innovation and digitization processes for example “1,000 digital villages,” one of their projects aids countries in using digital tools in agri-food systems and rural territories.
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