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AG says immigration bill was cleared for release

Following contradictory comments by Immigration Minister Brent Symonette regarding the publication of the Draft Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill, 2018, Attorney General Carl Bethel has advised that the bill was, in fact, authorized to be released for public consultation.

“For avoidance of any doubt, the public is advised that the Cabinet of The Bahamas did, in fact, authorize Dame Anita Allen to launch and to conduct public consultations on the Draft Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill,” Bethel said in a statement Thursday.

The clarification came just days after Symonette told reporters at Cabinet that the new immigration bill is not out for consultation yet and was released prematurely.

Symonette said he had not finished his review of the bill with Dame Anita, the law reform commissioner, and until that is completed there will be no more forward movement on the matter.

However, when reached for comment on the matter, Dame Anita said she was authorized by a Cabinet conclusion to put the bill out for consultation and has since been directed to continue consultation in accordance with that authority.

The bill was posted on the government’s website on February 21.

It proposes sweeping changes to the country’s immigration laws in an attempt to fix the long-standing problem of statelessness and the rights of Bahamians to pass on their citizenship.

The bill would repeal the Bahamas Nationality Act and the Immigration Act and would also establish provisions for those seeking asylum in The Bahamas.

It remains unclear how long the consultation period will last.

Sloan Smith

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Sloan covers national news for The Nassau Guardian. Sloan officially joined the news team in September 2016 but interned at The Nassau Guardian while studying journalism at the University of The Bahamas.
Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications
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