Monday, Sep 23, 2019
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Govt drops the ball 

Dear Editor,

If we consider the immigration woes this country is faced with, it becomes clear that the government was handed a golden opportunity to definitively address the illegal immigrant problem in Abaco, but again, they have dropped the ball.

It must be clear that governance does not stop because there is a crisis, but enforcement of the law will help to maintain order in these turbulent times.

At the time of this writing, many thousands have been evacuated from Abaco to Nassau; this is not unexpected.

What is surprising is the manner in which it has been done. It appears no triaging of evacuees was done. People have been picked up or put on planes or mailboats and dropped off without any processing.

Clearly, no coherent plan was in place to address this problem.

It seems to me that those with pressing medical problems should have been evacuated first. Next, it would have been a simple matter to first ask Bahamians with relatives in New Providence to identify themselves, since this group of evacuees would have a place to stay while in New Providence.

This serves the added purpose of reducing the strain on social services in the short term.

Next, should have been other Bahamian citizens or residents and those with work permits.

A designated place should have been created so that upon arrival at the airport or the dock in Nassau, immigration and RBDF or police officers could aid in processing persons who should have some records with the Department of Immigration before being released into the community at large.

All others without any evidence of having entered the country legally should be further processed in a tent city in Abaco, while their immediate needs are taken care of.

After all, the country has a crisis, but the prime minister has a constitutional duty to uphold the rule of law.

As it stands, people were picked up and dropped off without any processing and to some extent, the government has relocated many residents of shantytowns to become a part of another community; or worse.

We now potentially have people who were recently looting in Abaco walking our streets.

This is vexing when one considers the high levels of unemployment in New Providence.

Adding thousands of unemployed to these numbers can only result in an increase in crime, as high unemployment is always associated with higher crime; this is the last thing New Providence needs.

Additionally, by failing to have checkpoints to search evacuees, we have no idea whether or not additional weapons or contraband have found their way onto the streets of New Providence.

Doesn’t the government owe Nassuvians a duty of care or is our safety of no concern?

But as the former government often said when they made predictable errors in judgment, “This is another teachable moment”.

– JB

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