UNHCR issues incredible charge and moves to reclassify Haitians fleeing home
By Dana Malcolm
The Caribbean, June 6, 2022 – The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has officially called on all nations in the region to do their part in rescuing Haitian migrants and allowing them “unobstructed and prompt access” to access asylum procedures.
The UNHCR says the call was prompted after a vessel carrying over 800 Haitians, trying to get to the US turned up in Cuba instead because the its captain abandoned the boat and left it and its passengers adrift at sea.
While many Caribbean nations have nationals who brave the journey across the ocean for a better life as the situation in Haiti grows more unstable, Haitians are taking the journey more than ever. The number of Haitians now interdicted at sea between October 2021 and May 2022 is 5,003 Haitians.
Triple the 1,527 interdicted in 2020-2021.
The UNHCR says a “Search and rescue at sea is a legal and humanitarian imperative, and those rescued include refugees and others in need of protection. Coordination, solidarity, and responsibility-sharing are crucial in responding effectively and ensuring that people in need of international protection are not returned to their country of origin, and the dangers they have fled.”
But the situation is not always so cut and dried: hundreds of Haitian migrants trying to escape hardship set out on the seas, many of them for the closest land masses they can find, usually The Bahamas, The Turks and Caicos and the Florida Keys.
The entire state of Florida is 170,312 kilometres squared about 12 times the size of the Bahamas which sits at 13,880 km². The Bahamas in turn is just about 14 times larger than the Turks and Caicos.
Because of their location all three are prime locations for Haitian refugees but the size factor between the three greatly affects the ability to facilitate asylum seekers. One of the most recent migrant interdictions by the US Coast Guard on May 9, 2022 revealed 212 migrants likely headed for the TCI according to the Coast Guard.
Another recent boat reported by the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force which made landfall on the island of Providenciales held 110 migrants; that was May 19th.
Seven days prior to that on May 12th a boat with 129 migrants was stopped as it made its way into Turks and Caicos waters.
Over the Queen’s Jubilee Holiday weekend, this past four days, there were reports of as many as three interceptions; one count got up to 170; the remaining two were just over 100 souls aboard. All taken into custody, all repatriated at the cost of the TCI public purse.
The UNHCR says it will work with governments in the region to support the response and reception of arrivals at their borders but noted that, “Receiving states have the first line of responsibility in protecting those who may have well-founded fears of persecution in their country of origin. It is vital to ensure that arrangements for disembarkation of those rescued do not result in summary return, and that they have access to procedures to have their claims assessed before being expelled or deported.”
The reality goes without saying, the Turks and Caicos’ land area will not allow it to facilitate the large numbers of migrants who need asylum and who make the perilous journey weekly. The situation is similar in The Bahamas.
The UNHCR for its part has promised that it will “support international human rights and refugee law, while respecting national security concerns and state sovereignty.”
This is a promise that absolutely must be upheld as without active concern for the welfare of receiving islands what is already a bad situation may swiftly become worse.
The size, economic capacity, social welfare systems and other areas must be addressed before any concrete decisions are made. It must be that migrants’ health and safety are balanced with the disproportionate impact on the sustainable growth of countries which would become compelled to follow the treaty.
Work of NAECOB critical in ensuring high standards in education, says Minister Hanna-Martin
Bahamas Golden Jubilee Events Announced, Celebrations Across 33 Islands & Cays
#TheBahamas, March 27, 2023 – As the 50th anniversary of our nation’s independence approaches, Bahamians everywhere are teeming with excitement and expectancy around the year-long celebrations set by The National Independence Secretariat.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister joined H.E Leslia Miller Brice, Chair of The National Independence Secretariat to unveil the Calendar of Events for the 50th Independence celebrations.
The calendar comprises a host of events, initiatives and recommendations for celebrations throughout all 33 islands of The Bahamas.
At this jubilant occasion the PM stated, “Celebrating independence is about acknowledging the greatness around us, the greatness within us, and the greatness ahead of us.
We are Bahamians. That identity is special.”
View the newly released calendar of events here:
Soca Warriors crush Bahamas at home
By Rashaed Esson
#TheBahamas, March 27, 2023 – Trinidad and Tobago’s Soca Warriors dominated the Bahamas at home, at the Thomas Robinson Stadium in Nassau, for the 2022/2023 Concacaf Nations League on Friday, with a 3-0 victory.
The Soca Warriors struck their first blow within the first 5 minutes of the game, with Kareem Moses making the first shot in the top left corner of the net giving T&T one to the Bahamas’ zero (1-0).
Soon after, in about 26 minutes, they made another shot giving them 2-0 away from home; the scorer Joevin Jones. By the 34th minute mark, the winning goal was made by Ryan Telfer, T&T now at three.
Neither team scored any additional goals as the match progressed despite attempts made by various players.
Trinidad’s win gives them 12 points through five matches. Next match for the Soca Warriors is against Nicaragua; that clash is set for Monday March 27 (at home in Tobago at the Dwight Yorke Stadium), in a tussle of winner-take-all on the final match day. The victor takes home a promotion to League A and a spot in the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup.
Angus Eve, T&T’s head coach expressed that the job is only half done, keeping aware that more challenges are coming their way, one of which is the nearing match against Nicaragua who is one point ahead of the Warriors.
Meanwhile, The Bahamas will journey to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines with hopes of emerging victorious there.
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