Bahamas Christian Council (BCC) President Delton Fernander said yesterday that he is concerned over recent anti-immigrant rhetoric from Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis.
Fernander, who said he could not speak on behalf of the BCC on the matter, said the rhetoric could rile people up unnecessarily.
“As a pastor, I believe that whenever we are talking about immigration matters, we can deal with it in systematic ways that are humane and bring our country to stability without a rise in a
conversation that lends itself to riling up people to a place that might be uncontrollable,” he said when called for comment.
“And so [I] am always concerned with the language use.
“I might be in agreement with the need to streamline the process of those that might be illegal in our country and bringing the numbers to a controllable amount, but we must be careful with the language we use that might lend others to do things that we cannot control.
“So, when it is that we might be in agreement in what needs to be done, the how is important and the method and the language from the head of state is important.”
Illegal migration, particularly from neighboring Haiti, has been a longstanding challenge for The Bahamas.
In the House of Assembly on Monday, Minnis announced that a strike force will be established to aggressively pursue illegal migrants in The Bahamas, as he declared it is time to “take our country back”.
Minnis said Bahamians are second class citizens in their own country, and used Turks and Caicos as a warning of what The Bahamas could be, claiming that in the British Overseas Territory, illegal immigrants outnumber residents.
“Residents in Turks are so fed up that they themselves are capturing the illegals, tying them up and taking them to the authorities and requesting that they be deported,” he said.
Minnis also claimed that in his time as a doctor, it was “not unusual” for nine out of 10 babies in the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) to be born to illegal immigrants.