The burden of illegal immigration 

Dear Editor,

I believe the Haitian diplomat who said there are 150,000 Haitians living in The Bahamas is on to something. Personally, I believe the figure is much higher.

A dear friend of mine, now in his 80s, is convinced that The Bahamas has a population of more than double official figures when considering illegal immigrants. The current estimate of the Bahamian population is 410,000.

I love my Haitian brothers but it’s time for our politicians and public officials to come clean on this matter.

We’ve had census conducted where I’m certain the entire illegal population was not counted.

The numbers have been multiplying for years and if we wish to know the truth with regards to illegal immigration, this can be easily established. Additionally, other nationalities appear to have doubled over the years, namely, Chinese, Cubans, Jamaicans, Filipinos and citizens from some African nations.

About eight years ago, I submitted a strategic plan of action, which would ensure that 100 percent of immigrants in The Bahamas, legal and illegal, be accounted for. Of course, it fell on deaf ears as usual. I will pull it up and share it on social media platforms for review.

I’m advised that there’s no such thing as illegal immigrants nowadays. The world is becoming borderless. Illegal immigrants are now referred to as being irregular or undocumented.

Government officials are quick to deny these extremely high immigrant figures but have not satisfied “thinking” Bahamians to the contrary.

I must say that the majority of Haitians in The Bahamas have played a role in our nation building.

The Bahamas government and the people of our country have opened our arms wide in accommodating them with compassion in a very humane manner.

I have many very fine Haitian friends and will stand up for them in the same way I will stand up for Bahamians. Justice is blind.

I can truthfully say that Haitians tend to work harder than Bahamians and in general, are more focused and dedicated.

The problem I have is that after the majority of them receive Bahamian citizenship, they tend not to be nationalistic or participate in our culture. I’m happy that many Haitians and other immigrants have prospered in our nation.

The question is, how can The Bahamas, a very small nation, absorb citizens from multiple countries that have hundreds of millions of people combined?

Haiti has a population of over 11 million people. Jamaica has around three million. Cuba also has over 11 million. The Philippines has a population of almost 113 million and China, the most populated country on the planet, has a whopping 1.5 billion citizens.

My point is, our little Bahamas, cannot absorb and accommodate all these people as much as we would like to. It’s simply an impossibility.

Our leaders must give attention to the Bahamian people during this time when inflation continues to rise daily in a country where the cost of living has been too high for the past 20 plus years.

Poverty, crime, unemployment and homelessness, plus disasters and a global pandemic, have left our people reeling, suffering and in despair.

Our prayer is for a brighter future for a better Bahamas, by the grace of the Most High.

We live in a dark pain-filled world. With hope, we’re able to see light in spite of all the darkness around us.

— Bishop W.S. Hanchell

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