Bahamas to take part in CARICOM mission to Haiti

The Bahamas will be part of a CARICOM fact finding mission to Haiti in a move to come up with a solution to the ongoing social and political unrest in the Caribbean nation, Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis told the media on Thursday.

The Prime Minister was speaking at a press conference at the Lynden Pindling International Airport to update the press on his attendance at the 31st CARICOM Inter-Sessional Heads of Government Meeting in Barbados.

CARICOM leaders believe that stabilizing the situation in Haiti will also help to stem the tide of undocumented migrants and address the challenges it poses to countries like The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos.

Prime Minister Minnis said that at the two-day CARICOM meeting that ended on Wednesday, Turks and Caicos reported that its residents had resorted to capturing undocumented migrants and turning them over to authorities.

The Bahamas is expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Turks and Caicos in a bid to work together to protect the island nations’ borders, said the Prime Minister.

“We welcome individuals to our shores, once they enter the proper way,” said Prime Minister Minnis. “But we will not tolerate illegal immigrants.”

The Prime Minister also warned employers who engage or hire undocumented migrants that immigration and law enforcement authorities have been given the mandate to enforce the laws.

The CARICOM mission will be led by Secretary General of the Caribbean Community, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque and will also include representatives from Jamaica and Barbados.

At the July 2019 last summit in St. Lucia, CARICOM had agreed on a prime ministerial delegation to visit the French-speaking country but it never materialized.

Opposition political parties in Haiti are calling for the removal of the country’s President, Jovenel Moise. They are accusing the president of corruption and have been staging street demonstrations to push for their demands for him to step down.

Moise has denied the allegations and has been spearheading efforts for the establishment of a government of national unity.

Regional leaders are due to meet in three weeks for the CARICOM Mexico summit, and expect to have the results of the fact-finding mission by then.

At Thursday’s press conference, Prime Minister Minnis updated the media on major topics addressed at the Inter-Sessional meeting, a reception for Bahamians living and studying in Barbados and his tour of a sustainable housing development in Christ Church.