467 Haitians repatriated so far in 2011
In the first 49 days of 2011 the Immigration Department repatriated almost five hundred Haitian nationals after conducting several apprehension exercises and road blocks.
Statistics released by the Department of Immigration revealed that three Jamaicans, one Guyanese and one Filipino were also apprehended following a road block check.
In an apprehension exercise conducted in Fox Hill by the department on February 4, several Haitians claimed they were abused by immigration officers. They claimed those officers allegedly broke into their homes using hammers and crowbars and beat them.
Director of Immigration Jack Thompson said the department investigated the claims and recorded the concerns of those complainants. However, he added that none of the complainants came forward to file an official report.
“The department invited persons who claimed aggressive and physical abuse by immigration officers to write and sign depositions in support of their claim,”he said.”However, they refused to do so. Their concerns were nonetheless noted.”
Thompson said he also met with Haitian Ambassador Antonio Rodrigue to discuss matters of mutual interest to both countries.
Thompson once again warned all individuals living in The Bahamas illegally to leave now or face deportation.”The department wishes to remind those persons residing and working in The Bahamas(illegally)to desist forthwith,”he said.
To date the Department of Immigration has repatriated a total of four hundred and sixty-seven Haitian nationals to Haiti, almost 12 Haitians per day, in the first month-and-a-half of 2011.
Thompson was unsure about how much the department had spent on recent repatriation exercises, but noted that each repatriation on one of Bahamasair’s jets carries 144 individuals at a cost of$25,000 per flight.
He added that his department, despite claims of abuse, prides itself on its record of good conduct.
“The department wishes to assure the public of its commitment to professionalism and ideals of the highest when apprehending persons,”he said.