Minnis says Dominican fishermen marrying Bahamians for status
There is a pattern of foreign nationals, particularly people from the Dominican Republic, who marry Bahamians for residency status to work on fishing boats and leave the country once the fishing season closes, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said.
Minnis, who was speaking to residents in Spanish Wells, said the government will address this.
“I want to say that one of the other aspects of poaching that we know of is that we find many individuals from different territories receive resident status and work on our boats,” he said.
“They may marry Bahamians and subsequently get resident status with permission to work on our boats, individuals from the Dominican Republic.
“Then they spend only the fishing season with their so-called wife, after which they return home.
“These are matters that we must look into and address our immigration status so that this can be corrected.”
Poaching has been a major issue for many fishermen in The Bahamas.
Last month, authorities caught and arrested 120 suspected Dominican poachers who were caught on three poaching motherships that were stuffed with crawfish and fisheries products.
Authorities believe the poachers had well over 120,000 pounds of seafood.
The men were later charged.
It was the second major arrest of poachers for the year.
In July, authorities caught and arrested 46 suspected Dominican poachers who had 60,000 pounds of seafood onboard their boat.
Minister of Agriculture Michael Pintard has said that poachers are “raping and pillaging” the waters of The Bahamas.