The Prime Minister of Bahamas, Phillip Davis has averred that even though Bahamians are “a compassionate people,” they cannot afford to “shoulder any more burdens” as he reiterated Nassau’s position regarding illegal migration as well as the ongoing situation in neighboring Haiti.
Speaking in a nationwide broadcast, the PM announced the launch of “Operation Secure,” a collaborative security operation between the Royal Bahamas Police Force, the Defence Force, and the Department of Immigration, to address security and migration-related issues in unregulated and unlawful communities.
Davis assured the nation that stabilizing the situation in Haiti, where efforts are being made to hold long overdue presidential and legislative elections, is the most effective way to decrease the amount of potential economic migrants coming to The Bahamas daily.
In a statement on Haiti, CARICOM leaders reiterated that the 15-member regional integration grouping must play a leadership role in addressing the deteriorating situation in the country.
The statement said “Heads affirmed that decisive action is needed at the earliest opportunity by CARICOM in view of the mounting insecurity and its widespread impact on all facets of Haitian life”.
The PM, who is also the CARICOM chairman, told Bahamians that he has been “very clear with our international friends that assistance to Haiti must be carried out carefully and strategically, and with an acknowledgement of the burden The Bahamas is already carrying, and has been carrying for decades.
Defending his decision not to sign a pledge at the Summit of Americas last year that included a commitment to take on refugees, he said “Our country has been through a lot. We have very serious challenges and limited resources with which to face these challenges. We are a compassionate people, but we cannot take on new burdens”.
Davis said while 21 other countries including Caribbean nations like Barbados and Jamaica, signed on to this agreement, he declined because “our small nation cannot possibly shoulder any more of a burden.
He added that “We are standing strong on this position. Despite pressure, earlier this year, when the United Nations called for countries in our region to halt deportations to Haiti, once again, I decided to continue repatriations.
“This is a decision I made for the benefit of all Bahamians and future generations of Bahamians. The Bahamas is for Bahamians, and for those who are prepared to follow the laws of our country. We simply cannot afford open borders.”
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