Former Minister with responsibility for immigration, Brent Symonette called for the resignation of the current Minister of Labour and Immigration, the Hon. Keith Bell after it was made public that Bell conferred citizenship at a funeral service. Symonette called Bell’s actions improper.
Minister Bell responded to Symonette’s call when speaking with members of the media outside of Cabinet on Tuesday. He said, “I would invite Brent Symonette to examine his own record before he could point fingers. Here it is we’re talking about someone who introduced a commercial enterprises act to allow person’s in this country to bypass every process to obtain status in this country. We are talking about someone who have had to resign on two occasions from the Cabinet of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. And so his own record ought to be examined before he can point fingers at anyone. In my view he have no moral authority to speak to me on this matter.”
Bell also explained his action of conferring citizenship at a funeral. “The fact of the matter is that can be done any place and as I indicated before and you would have seen in a note that I would have sent. He would have called me while he was in the hospital, I was in Switzerland at the time. When I returned he was being buried within the week on that Saturday and so in those circumstances, he called me on this death bed and said that if I would, he would wanted his wife sworn in as a citizen in his presence. Unfortunately, he died before I got back from Switzerland.”
A recording that went viral was released on social media of Minister Bell conferring citizenship to the wife and two children of Franck Racine at the Metropolitan Church of the Nazarene over the weekend. According to Bell the Cabinet had approved citizenship for the Racine family.