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Immigration Policy to Reflect All Nationalities; Independent Commission to Approve Applications for Citizenship

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#Bahamas, October 25, 2017 – Nassau – The Government of The Bahamas’ immigration policy is not based on any one individual group of persons residing locally, but about individuals from “all countries” who are here illegally, Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert A. Minnis said Sunday.

Prime Minister Minnis also announced that Administration officials will create an Independent Commission to approve applications for citizenship in accordance with the Constitution “and our laws” to avoid any potential political interference.  Responsibility for the approval of applications for citizenship will be removed from the Cabinet, except for cases of national security.

“It is not a policy solely about individuals from the Republic of Haiti. People of Haitian descent will not be especially targeted,” Prime Minister Minnis said.   “The policy is about individuals from any country who are not legally in The Bahamas.

“This includes individuals from the Caribbean, South America, Central America and North America.   The policy is also concerned with Bahamians who illegally employ individuals from anywhere in the world,” Prime Minister Minnis added.

Addressing worshipers attending the Sunday, October 22, 2017 morning service at the Metropolitan Church of the Nazarene, Prime Minister Minnis said The Bahamas must be a country that upholds its laws.   The Prime Minister said the Government will be just, and humane, in upholding all of the country’s laws when it comes to immigration matters.

Administration officials, Dr. Minnis said, will act in accordance with the Constitution of The Bahamas and the demands of human dignity and social justice to grant residency and citizenship to those eligible individuals who qualify for such status.

“To the press ‘No I am not opening flood gates, but I will, and all of The Bahamas will, respect and enforce the laws of our country.   We must uphold the law in terms of the grant of permanent residency and citizenship.   We must uphold the law in terms of illegal migration and those who illegally employ individuals not in The Bahamas legally.   Those Bahamians or otherwise who hire illegals are breaking our laws and will be prosecuted,” the Prime Minister added.

DSC_9471(2)Prime Minister Minnis said while The Bahamas has a legal responsibility to enforce its immigration policies to the full extent of the law, the country must also be fair in terms of its immigration policies and practices as it is comprised of persons “who have their roots” from throughout the Caribbean and the world.

“We are made up of people from Africa, Europe and the Americas.   We are made up of people from Dominica, Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and from throughout the Caribbean.   We are also made up of people from Haiti.   The ties between The Bahamas and Haiti go back for much more than a century.   Haiti and The Bahamas are bound together by history, by geography and by family ties.

“We must be fair and just towards those who have contributed in so many ways to The Bahamas.   This means we must be fair in terms of our immigration practices and policies.   It is not fair, nor just, for so many of our young people to be marginalized, isolated or placed in no man’s land (stateless). Many cannot open bank accounts, attend universities, or travel, in spite of finishing our High Schools and in some instances, performing at the top of the class.

“My Government will act in accordance with our Constitution and the demands of human dignity and social justice to grant residency and citizenship for eligible individuals who qualify for such status.

“Too many people have been waiting a long time to be granted permanent residency.   Some people have to go year-to-year for a Work Permit when they should have been granted permanent residency some time ago.   We must vigorously address this issue,” Prime Minister Minnis said.

By: Matt Maura (BIS)

Photo caption: Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Hubert Minnis, centre right, shakes hands as he enters Metropolitan Church of the Nazarene, and behind is Minister of Transport and Local Government the Hon. Frankie Campbell.  They both take the podium to address the church audience, with the Minister of Transport assisting in Creole for the benefit of the audience.

(Photos/Yontalay Bowe/OPM Media Services)

 

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PM Davis: Loftus Roker embodied the ideals of a statesman

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By ERIC ROSE
Bahamas Information Services

Hon. Philip Davis


NASSAU, The Bahamas
– During his remarks at the state funeral for the Hon. A. Loftus Roker, on May 31, 2024, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Philip Davis raised the question as to what was a statesman, as all in attendance reflected on the life and legacy of “one of The Bahamas’ most distinguished public servants.”

“A statesman is not merely a politician; rather, he is one who, with vision and courage, shapes the destiny of his nation for generations to come,” Prime Minister Davis said, during the event held at Christ Church Cathedral.  “Loftus Roker embodied these ideals through every chapter of his remarkable life.”

“Born in the humble surroundings of Delectable Bay, Acklins, Loftus’s journey was one marked by resilience, determination, and a profound commitment to justice and national progress,” he added.  “His parents, farmers who also engaged in fishing, instilled in him the value of education and hard work – an ethos that defined his entire career.”

Prime Minister said that Mr. Roker’s tenure as Minister of National Security and Immigration was characterized by his “bold and transformative” policies.

“His leadership during this pivotal time was not only about enforcing laws but about defending the sovereignty and welfare of our nation,” he noted.  “He was an unapologetic ambassador for our sovereignty, a voice of moral clarity in the cacophony of political discourse. When he spoke, we listened, we paused, and we often re-evaluated our approaches.”

Prime Minister Davis added:  “Beyond his public roles, Mr. Roker was a guardian of our historical integrity and a protector of many insightful political secrets – some of which he took to the grave. His candor was legendary; it was his trademark and his gift to us. He never shied away from telling the truth, however uncomfortable it might be, choosing integrity over convenience every time. I, too, was a recipient of his forthright critiques – a testament to his commitment to the party he loved and the ideals he upheld.”

Presentation of National Flag to family by PM Davis

Prime Minister Davis noted that, reflecting on his “incredible” journey and contributions, they recalled his early foray into politics – “a daring run for office before he was legally old enough to do so.”

“This bold move was not just a youthful transgression, but a declaration of his readiness to serve and lead, setting the stage for his lifelong dedication to our nation’s governance,” he said.

Prime Minister Davis pointed out that it was his profound privilege to stand with Mr. Roker in Pompey Bay, Acklins, in August of 2023, where his Government recognized his lifelong service to The Bahamas by renaming the Acklins Central High School in his honour.

“This act not only commemorated his legacy, but also reconnected it with the soil of his birthplace – tying the past with the present in celebration of a life well-lived,” he stated.

Prime Minister Davis added: “Today, as we honor Loftus Roker, we ask again: What is a statesman? He was a statesman because he was unafraid in his honesty, and unyielding in his principles. He navigated the complexities of leadership with a rare blend of toughness and grace, ensuring his voice was heard, his presence felt, and his vision realized.

“So, what can we learn from Loftus Roker’s approach to politics and life? His life teaches us about the courage to speak the truth, the duty to protect our sovereignty, and the integrity to maintain our moral clarity.  He was a true gentleman, a wise counselor, and a fearless leader.”

Prime Minister Davis said that, as they said farewell to “this stalwart of Bahamian history”, they should remember his indomitable spirit and his profound contributions to their beloved nation.  Mr. Roker’s legacy, he added, will continue to inspire and guide us, reminding us of the impact one dedicated individual can have on the destiny of a nation.

“Again, I ask, who is a statesman? He is Loftus Roker – a man whose life answered that question resoundingly,” Prime Minister Davis said.  “May his story continue to inspire us, and may his wisdom light our paths forward.”

Governor General, HE the Most Hon. Dame Cynthia Pratt

“He was not just a part of our history; he helped to write it,” Prime Minister added.  “As we mourn his passing, we also celebrate the indelible mark he has left on our hearts and our nation.”

He stated that Mr. Roker’s memory will continue to inspire, his deeds will guide future generations, and his vision will always “illuminate the path forward.”

“Farewell, my friend. You have taught us much, and your story will continue to teach future Bahamians about the essence of true leadership,” Prime Minister Davis said.  “Rest assured, the pages of history will remember you; you have written your story well.”

“May the angels lead you into paradise; may the martyrs receive you at your arrival, and lead you to the Holy City Jerusalem,” he added.  “May you rest in peace.”

Prime Minister Davis continued: “On behalf of a grateful nation, my wife Ann-Marie; Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. I. Chester Cooper and his wife ; my cabinet and parliamentary colleagues, and on my own behalf, I express heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Roker, the Roker family and all those who loved him on the passing of this great patriarch.

“May he rest in peace.”

 

(BIS Photos/Patrick Hanna)

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Tourism Minister commends 153 newly certified Lifeguards

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From: Bahamas Information Services

 

NASSAU, The Bahamas —  “The breathtaking beaches and pristine waters are among the top reasons travellers visit our country. As a leading tourism destination that places the highest priority on the safety and security of its guests, lifeguards play a crucial role in the tourism industry of The Bahamas,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation the Hon. Chester Cooper as keynote speaker at the Lifeguard Certification Graduation Ceremony, May 29, 2024 at Fox Hill Community Centre.

“I am delighted to join you this evening to celebrate the outstanding accomplishment of our newly certified lifeguards.

“Tonight marks the successful completion of lifeguard training of 153 candidates total: 134 from New Providence and 19 from Eleuthera. My understanding is that 64 of the graduates are present with us this evening. The others could not come because they have already secured employment on islands outside of New Providence. That is great news!”

He noted that the graduates have all made a substantial investment of time and effort to fully equip themselves to take on the critical role of lifeguard.

They each undertook 30 hours of training led by American Lifeguard Association certified trainer and examiner Lisa Nixon. From this training, they took away the knowledge and skills required to effectively execute their duties as first class lifeguards. In addition to training in lifeguard skills, they completed 40 hours of BahamaHost training which schooled them in the science of gold standard customer service.

In welcoming them aboard ‘Team Tourism,’ he said: “Graduates, you are coming aboard Team Tourism in the best of times, at a time when our tourism industry is experiencing phenomenal growth. Last year, The Bahamas broke all pre-existing records, reaching an historic high of 9.65 million in visitor arrivals.

“You are joining Team Tourism at a time when our tourism industry is in full expansion in resort development and cruise line investments.  Lifeguards are in great demand at the numerous resorts across The Islands of The Bahamas, on the private islands of our cruise line partners, and our major public beaches.”

Deputy Prime Minister Cooper left the graduates with these messages:

“You will be playing a critical role in our nation’s number one industry. We, collectively, have the deepest appreciation and respect for your contribution to the tourism sector, the sector that powers our country’s economy, providing 60 percent of the employment and 50% of the GDP. Your job as lifeguards is in service to our nation, ensuring the highly valued sense of safety among our guests and residents.

“You each already possess deep deposits of the five key characteristics required to be outstanding lifeguards. I humbly ask that you make a commitment to continually cultivate the quality of reliability, sharpen your communication skills, enhance your leadership skills, update your lifeguard skills and be professional at all times.”

He thanked family and friends for their support of the graduates, and those who played a role in assisting the graduates attain certification.

 

(BIS Photos/Kemuel Stubbs)

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CIBC Caribbean Announces Walk for the Cure 2024 with $66,000 Donation

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Nassau, Bahamas – On the other side of the thousands of supporters who participate in CIBC Caribbean’s fun-filled Walk for the Cure (WFTC) event every October are the cancer care organizations that use the funds raised to provide essential services all year long.

During the bank’s launch of Walk for the Cure 2024, the $66,000 generated during last year’s walk was presented to the Sister Sister Breast Cancer Support Groups of New Providence and Grand Bahama, Cancer Society of The Bahamas, the Cancer Societies of Abaco, Eleuthera, and Grand Bahama, Cancer Association of Grand Bahama and GD Sharing and Caring.

CIBC Caribbean’s Managing Director, Dr. Jacqui Bend, highlighted that the event is “more than just a fundraiser because for many, it is a lifeline of hope.”

“Walk for the Cure provides essential care ranging from scans and exams to support for everyday necessities. Over the past 12 years, we have been privileged to support countless courageous survivors, enhancing the lives and well-being of those battling cancer, their families, and the dedicated organizations that serve them,” said Dr. Bend.

Since its inception, Walk for the Cure has raised nearly four million dollars regionwide, significantly aiding the fight against cancer. In less than five months, WFTC will again span New Providence, Grand Bahama, Abaco, and Eleuthera, the four islands where CIBC Caribbean has a presence in The Bahamas.

GD Sharing and Caring Executive Board Member, Anita Rolle, said, “We express our heartfelt gratitude to CIBC Caribbean for its extraordinary support and commitment to the fight against cancer. It is because of partners like CIBC Caribbean that we continue to make strides in our mission.”

She added, “This donation serves as a testament to the power of collaboration and the impact we can achieve when we come together for a common purpose.”

CIBC Caribbean encourages individuals, families, and corporate teams to join in the meaningful cause. Individuals and groups can register by visiting any CIBC Caribbean branch or by emailing WalkForTheCureBAH@cibcfcib.com. Donations can be made at any CIBC Caribbean branch or through the CIBC Caribbean app.

 

Photo Caption

Standing from left to right are Anita Rolle, GD Sharing and Caring Executive Board Member; Shantell Cox-Hutchinson, Sister Sister Breast Cancer Support Group President; Dr. Jacqui Bend, CIBC Caribbean Managing Director; Susan Roberts, Cancer Society of The Bahamas founder; Glenda Whylly, CIBC Caribbean Senior Manager in the Managing Director’s Office and Dr. Williamson Chea, Cancer Society of The Bahamas President.

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