The Government of The Bahamas has spent approximately $2.2 million thus far this year conducting repatriation exercises. This according to Director of Immigration, Ketura Ferguson, who spoke at a press conference updating reporters on the efforts of the Department of Immigration on illegal migration.
She said, “for this period, the Department repatriated approximately 2,804 persons to their homeland. Of this number, 1,992 were Haitians, 519 were Cubans.”
The Immigration officials also spoke about ‘Operation Expedition’ which took place on the island of Abaco. Specifically, they mentioned the staggering expansion of a shanty town called, The Farm. Assistant Director of Immigration, Stephen Laroda said, “the shanty town known as The Mud and Pigeon Peas has been totally demolished. The migrants had to go somewhere. And so a number of them have made their way to places like The Farm and also constructed new places within Marsh Harbour, particularly. The Department of Immigration in Marsh Harbour continues to process our legal lawful applications but we also continue to go after those persons we suspect are illegal migrants.”
Director Ferguson says that Operation Expedition yielded fifty two arrests. These persons were brought to New Providence where based on their investigative findings persons will be placed before the courts. Some of the migrants have already been arraigned.
Minister of Labour and Immigration, the Hon. Keith Belle indicated that the Minister of Public Works and Utilities has established a committee to deal with shanty towns across the country.
An appeal was made to Bahamians to contact the Immigration Department with tips of illegal migrants in their area.