Monday, Oct 21, 2019
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A nonsensical proposal

Dear Editor,

I recently noted a post by an opinionated senator that I tried to ignore, but some things do need to be addressed especially coming from persons seated in our Upper House charged with speaking for the people who are clearly speaking out of their misled assumptions.

For a senator to suggest that every adult aged Haitian national in the shelter be given temporary status and a general work permit for a year whether they entered illegally and/or had a job offer or not is utter nonsense.

Can you imagine the consequences of such a policy? Numbers in shelters would swell to 10,000 overnight. And what of all the people who have paid $2,000 for legal workers who entered the country via legitimate means? What type of precedent is a seated senator suggesting here?

He goes on to state that if it were up to him — and thank God it isn’t — if they prove they got a job and were paying rent, they can stay in our Bahamas.

And if not, I guess his bright plan is that we should have to go and start from scratch and find them in the shantytowns they will have built if they couldn’t find a job and a place to live after we allowed them to be here illegally for a year on some ill-conceived temp status with no job yet having a work permit.

What exactly is this senator proposing? And who is he proposing it for? Which people is he the voice for?

We need to get serious:

1. Blockade the southern passage. We all know this can be done using existing equipment. Boats leave from the north shore of Haiti.

2. Aggressive prosecution of captains and financiers under human trafficking laws with maximum 25-year sentences. Offers of plea bargains for captains who give information on the trafficking networks.

3. Prosecute those found employing illegals and hit them with heavy punitive fines.

4. Seize shantytown properties using any one of various legal orders available starting with health and safety orders and issue mandatory eviction notices to legals and illegals.

Displaced legal persons can apply to social services for housing assistance, and if they are unable to afford housing under the terms of their legal employment, which by law can’t be under minimum wage, then they need to go home as they can’t be allowed to live as squatters.

5. Clearing of those properties and simultaneously acquiring them via compulsory acquisition orders with compensation being given to any persons presenting valid legal standing and valid legal title.

6. Government has already given a cutoff point for applications, a deadline which has passed for all those who would have turned 18. There were tens of thousands who applied; not sure how many were approved. But that said, we have a cutoff point.

7. People presently in shelters need to be processed and those not in good standing need to be detained and sent back to Haiti en masse.

8. A system of seasonal and/or temporary work permits needs to be established for seasonal workers with a maximum of three to five years.

There is no easy, painless or overnight one-step fix to this issue.

Anyone who thinks so is a fool who fails to understand the depth of the problem.

– John Bostwick

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