#Peru, April 18, 2018 – LIMA – The Commonwealth of the Bahamas seeks assistance from the United States of America in stemming the tide of illegal migration into the island nation. This, among other issues were further discussed in a meeting between The Bahamas’ Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon Hubert Minnis and US Vice-President Mike Pence on the margins of the Eighth Summit of the Americas held in Lima, Peru, April 13-14, 2018.
The US Government announced that President Trump would not attend the 8th Summit of the Americas, as originally scheduled. At the President’s request, the Vice-President traveled in his stead. The President remained in the United States to oversee the American response to Syria and to monitor developments around the world.
“I’ve had a one-one-meeting with Vice-President Pence: we are more concerned about the problems we face with illegal migration and I pointed out that we need assistance in this matter,” Dr. Minnis said. He said he was very satisfied with Mr. Pence’s response to those matters, who also acknowledged he recognized the issues facing The Bahamas.
The Bahamas is “not looking for money, per se,” the Prime Minister said. But seeking assistance in improving its technology, skills, and its access to more supplies and equipment.
The Prime Minister said The Bahamas has also had this discussion with President Jovenel Moïse of Haiti, whom he said is aware of the problem and is willing to work with the Bahamian Government.
“They would allow us to take a ship ride into their waters so as to deal with this issue. But it would also help us with the problems we face with illegal fishing. Once our technology and manpower resources increase then we can deal not only with the migratory problem but also illegal fishing,” the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister stated that he also asked for assistance in dealing with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s blacklisting of The Bahamas as a ‘tax haven.’
“We are a transparent nation. We do all to stem corruption. We do all to ensure transparency, honesty and good governance… and if they think we are off track, to let us know so that we can correct that problem and maintain world standards.
“But I pointed out that I don’t think it is fair to us or other small nations because every time the bar is moved it affects us. So at least fix it for everybody so that we can have fairness,” the Prime Minister said.
Prior to this meeting, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon. Darren Henfield and Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Senator the Hon. Carl Bethel met with US Vice-President Pence and Acting US Secretary of State John Sullivan to discuss security cooperation, disaster risk preparedness and economic and trade cooperation.
And, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Attorney General and the Minister of Education the Hon. Jeff Lloyd attended a CARICOM Meeting with a nine-member US Congressional delegation, headed by House Chair of the Western Hemisphere Sub-Committee, the Hon. Paul Cook, to discuss CARICOM issues related to climate change, disaster risk preparedness, security cooperation, and trade arrangements.
By Lindsay Thompson (BIS)