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House Statement by Immigration Minister and Member for Fox Hill, Hon. Fred Mitchell

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Communication
By Fred Mitchell MP
Minister for Immigration
House of Assembly
Nassau
9th February 2015

Mr. Speaker,

The press in The Bahamas have published two articles, one by Fred Smith Q C and the other by the Nassau Institute. Both statements published information which should not go unanswered lest the public accept the information therein as true and correct. They purport to describe the law and policies in The Bahamas as it relates to immigration. They go on to make assertions based on their statements of law which are incorrect.

The statements published by Fred Smith Q C on 3rd February in The Tribune and by the Nassau Institute in the Nassau Guardian on 6th February are replete with errors and untruths.

The Nassau Institute claims that the Immigration Department is implementing a revised policy to grant permits and charge fees for children born here to go to school.

That is false. No new fees are being introduced for immigration fees and there is no new policy as it relates to permission for non-nationals to go to school in The Bahamas. The fee remains the 100 dollars processing fee and 25 dollars for the issuance of the permit. The fee and the requirement for such a permit has not changed since the PLP took office in 2012.

The Institute also said: “The Department of Immigration recently raised work permit taxes for expatriate workers ( mainly professionals) to work in the private sector…”

That too is false. No news fees have been introduced for work permits since the PLP came to office in 2012.

The Nassau Institute also said: “ Work permits for foreigners to work for the government are issued without hesitation at the stroke of a pen…”

That too is false. There is no requirement in law for the employees of the government who are non-nationals to have a work permit.

The article also keeps speaking about people born in The Bahamas who they claim are left stateless. Stateless means that the children have no citizenship. With regard to the children of Haitians, the Haitian government has indicated that all children of Haitian citizens wherever born are Haitian at birth. So if that claim is being made with regard to those children, that too is false.

The Nassau Institute says that “ the inherent danger is when Immigration laws are subject to the whim of the minister, Fred Mitchell in this instance, instead of impartial law. The unintended consequences might be many as they are varied.”

Mr. Speaker, all laws are administered by some authority. They do not exist and apply themselves without human hands. The decisions of the Minster for Immigration are quasi- judicial and are not exercised according to whim but in accordance with known and established polices. The principle is that work permits are issued only in circumstances where Bahamians are not available for the jobs and the question of whether a Bahamian is or is not available for a job is certified and monitored by the Department of Labour. There is no whim of the Minister exercised in this matter.

Fred Smith Q C wrote the following:

“ [ The Minister] failed to identify any section of the Immigration or Education Act which makes the “ new Visa Rules” under the “ New Immigration Education Policy” lawful.

“The New Rules require children born in The Bahamas of foreign parents to get a student visa. In addition, the new November documentation policy is not sanctioned by any law either.”

With regard to children born to non-Bahamian parents, Mr. Smith wrote: “At 18, they are entitled to receive a Certificate of Registration as a citizen. Before then, they are “Citizens in Waiting”. They are not “stateless” as Fred Mitchell suggests…

Mr. Smith also says of the requirement for a permit to reside for children who are non-national: “The new immigration student visa policy conflicts with the Education Act… Minister Mitchell is acting ultra vires the Immigration Act, the Education Act and the Constitution.”

Mr. Speaker let me first repeat what I said at the Business Outlook Seminar on 29th January:

New rules are going to be introduced. For example, all schools will be asked to be sure that any foreign national in a Bahamian school has a student permit to be in The Bahamas as of the opening of the fall term. The annual permit costs 25 dollars with a 100 dollar processing fee and every non-national should have one, including those born here to non-national parents.

I said nothing about a student visa.

Secondly, I have never ever said or suggested that children born to non- Bahamian parents in The Bahamas are stateless. If Mr. Smith is referring to the children of Haitians born in The Bahamas, the government of Haiti has affirmed that the children of Haitians born anywhere are Haitian at birth so they are not stateless.

There is no such thing in law as a “citizen in waiting”. You are either a citizen or not.

The allegation that the new policies are ultra vires the constitution and the Immigration and Education Acts is false.

The Immigration Act requires all non- nationals in the country to have a landed status. While the constitution does provide a right to apply to be registered as a citizen at age 18 and before the19th birthday to non-nationals born here, it confers no immigration status on them. Because they are not citizens of The Bahamas, they must have an immigration status.

That means their parents should apply for them to get a permit to reside. Permits to reside cost 25 dollars with a processing fee of 100 dollars.

Thousands of children hold them in this country today. This is not a new requirement. That is the existing law and all non-nationals in the country are expected to comply with the law. Most are complying.

The Department has obtained an opinion from the Attorney General’s office on this matter. We have been advised that the policies of the Department are in compliance with the constitution and all applicable laws of The Bahamas.

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Caribbean News

Rich Nations told to pay for Climate Change, Mia Mottley bring another charged speech to World Leaders

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By Shanieka Smith

Features Writer

 

#Barbados, June 25, 2022 – Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, unapologetically laid the blame for the climate crisis on wealthy nations.  She said it is long past time for them to compensate countries undergoing the effects of climate change.  Motley expressed her thoughts and made the request in New York, where she joined a panel on sustainable development at the Global Citizen NOW summit with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Bill Nye.

“We’ve been carrying the costs on our balance sheet of your behaviour…”We’re not asking for the world.  We’re saying:  Look, put some money down and help us,” she said.

Barbados is battling rising sea levels, which threaten the water supply and encroach on coastal communities.  The World Health Organization has also warned that sea-level rise and changing weather could put immense pressure on freshwater resources.  However, this has not been a result of Barbados, which accounted for less than 0.01 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions in 2020.

Mottley expressed that the reason for the issues of climate change is the G20 nations, including the US, UK, China, Russia and the EU.  The countries that have released the vast majority of the emissions heating the planet.

“That’s what”s put us in this position,” she said.

To emphasize the effects of climate change on the island, she added, “Can you imagine going to a restaurant next to a place full of sargassum seaweed smelling?”  “You’re not gonna go!”

Meanwhile, the heavy polluters are better equipped to deal with the consequences of climate change, and smaller developing nations in the Caribbean are forced to battle climate extremes with very few resources.

“It would be not so bad if we had 25, 30 years to adapt.  Instead, we’ve got 12-13 years, according to everyone,” she said.  This is approximately 144 months.

Motley said that mitigating the issue is not simple and that it comes with obstacles like Covid-19 and Russia-Ukraine. She said, however, that we have to “push past the pain.”

She added, “the issue is, will we get there fast enough to save those of us on the front line?”

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Why Jonquel & WNBA Ladies get LESS PAY than Klay & NBA Guys; its forcing ladies into risks abroad

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#USA, June 25, 2022 – Being a player in the NBA is probably one of the most lucrative jobs that one can imagine.  Though better players get better salaries those salaries range between 900 thousand dollars for the lowest-paid players to up to 45 million for the highest-paid players but it is the NBA that ultimately decides how high salaries can go.

The total amount of money any team can spend on their players’ combined salaries is set by the NBA.  The teams then decide what to pay their lowest and highest-ranked players.  For the 22-23 season the cap is $122 million.

For example in the 2021-2022 Champions the Golden State Warrior’s lowest salary will go to Shaun Livingston, a guaranteed $1,333,332.  Their highest salary will go to Stephen Curry, a guaranteed $45,780,966.  This is in addition to sponsorship deals that can rake in millions of dollars for in-demand players.

In the WNBA 2021-2022 season, Brittney Griner earned a base maximum salary (without sponsorships) of $221,450.  That is the highest salary in the WNBA.  One of the best players in the league, Griner is paid four times lower than an NBA rookie.

This is true for women across the board, including the Bahamas’ Jonquel Jones.  Jones is one of the highest-paid players in the WNBA and is regarded as one of the most prolific.  Her salary is 208,000 per year.

Recently Griner was arrested in Russia for a small quantity of marijuana; she was there because she outsourced herself to the Russian team UMMC Ekaterinburg to have a chance at earning more money.

Grand Bahama’s Jonquel plays for the same team and says she can’t turn her back on the international leagues because the salary is just not comparable.  Two months ago she expressed the stress of traveling through Russia on Twitter.

“Just landed in Turkey and all I want to do is cry.  That situation was way more stressful than I realized.  Thank you God for always watching over and protecting me.”

Despite playing in China and Korea she said she never felt unsafe until the war describing it as “unprecedented.”

Despite the stress and danger, she told ESPN she was just going to have to deal with it.

“While the [WNBA] is making the right and necessary strides to pay us more and ensure that if we don’t want to go overseas, we don’t have to, I just feel like in my situation, the money is not comparable. I have to think about the financial status of my family and everybody else, and also the opportunities that I’m leaving if I don’t go.”

Remembering Griner Jones said “I’ve been looking at these pictures that I have on my phone, the last set of pictures I took with her we were going to Valencia or wherever. We were all just joking and laughing around and stuff, and it’s just crazy how fast things can change.” While she has hope things will change she says it probably won’t be in her playing years. For context, Jones and Curry are both power forwards.

In 63 appearances in 2020-21. Stephen Curry averaged 32.0 points, 5.8 assists, and 5.5 rebounds.  In 17 appearances in the same year, Jones has averaged 15.1 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 1.9 assists.  The men’s league plays over 1000 matches per year.  The women play under 300 WNBA and NBA players are comparable in talent so why is the pay so low?

Viewership plays a major role. More people watch the men’s games than women’s games, millions more which means a lot more money for the NBA. But this is not the only reason.

“The president of the WNBA thinks that one of the reasons men are paid more than women is that 50 percent of the NBA’s revenue is shared between the league and the players; however, there is about an 80-20 split for the WNBA. This means that the players only receive about 20% of the WNBA’s total revenue” says one academic paper done on the wage disparities in 2020. The study also referenced the 1,230 games men play each season compared to the women’s 204.

The WNBA has quality players with star value just like the NBA. The issue of lower revenues can be solved in great part, by better publicity, more games on the roster and lower age ranges for players.

Drumming up excitement, seeking out sponsorship deals, greater publicity, and all-star face-offs between the NBA and WNBA are all genuine possibilities that could prove instrumental indrawing tv viewership and courtside attention.

Until then stars like Griner and Jones will continue to relentlessly outsource themselves and play all year round for a piece of the pie their male counterparts take home in a single season.

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TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS POST CABINET MEETING STATEMENT

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#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – Her Excellency the Acting Governor, Anya Williams, chaired the 19th meeting of Cabinet on Wednesday 22 June 2022 in Grand Turk. All other members were present.

At this meeting Cabinet:

  • Approved the terms and conditions for an application from a land surveyor for a licence.
  • Approved the making of the Revised Edition of the Laws 2021 (Commencement Order) 2022 subject to the approval of the House of Assembly; laws will be now be made available free of charge to members of the public on the Attorney General’s website. Physical reproductions will continue to be sold.
  • Discussed proposed amendments to the Insurance Ordinance as drafting instructions to the Attorney General’s Chambers and consultation with the industry.
  • Approved for the Insurance (Amendment) Bill 2022 to be introduced to the House of Assembly as soon as possible.
  • Approved the revision of the Anti-Money Laundering Committee Budget for the Financial Year 2022/2023 for office furniture and supplies; confirmed annual payments for the annual membership costs to the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Agencies (FIA) and annual costs of the FIA’s travel costs for the Egmont annual meeting.
  • Approved a three year rental lease agreement for the relocation of the Ministry of Tourism, Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Culture and Heritage, Agriculture, religious Affairs and Gaming, and the Tourist Board and Department of Culture in Providenciales.
  • Approved a lease agreement for a temporary HQ for the Turks & Caicos Islands Regiment in Providenciales.
  • Was updated on the proposed merger of NIB/NHIP Compliance and Collections. Further consideration was requested before Cabinet can take a decision.
  • Noted the award of the following contracts in line with the provisions of the Public Procurement Ordinance:
  1. PN 005600, TR 21/48, Furniture and equipment for Mental Health Facility – Grand Turk
  2. PN 005611, TR 21/30, Ballistic Vests for the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force

III. PN 005614, TR 21/37, Bellefield Landing Civilian Safety Project – Safe Boat Slips

  1. PN 005627, TR 21/53, Furniture and Equipment for Public Works Programme Management
  2. PN 005630, TR 21/08, Vehicles for Government (resubmission)
  • Approved for a request from American Airlines to waive the import customs duties and customs processing fees for replacement parts for an aircraft that had an emergency landing on Providenciales to be forwarded to the House of Assembly for consideration and approval.
  • Noted a paper from the Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority (TCIAA) for legislative amendments to be made to the TCIAA Ordinance to regulate industrial action by employees of the TCIAA. Cabinet requested further consideration. Proposed amendments will be considered by the House of Assembly for approval in due course.
  • Approved the grant of a long lease to an applicant for a funeral home and cemetery on 60003/231 PT (2.5 ACRES)

 

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