The Minister of Labour and Immigration comments on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi’s call for countries not to depart Haitian refugees back to Haiti as unrest continues there.

The Hon. Keith Bell told members of the media, “it is the long held position of the Government of The Bahamas that the international community most assemble the resources needed to provide Haiti with an economic package of debt forgiveness and aid to assist in improving its economic outlook. While a strong international response led by the world’s great economies is required to help improve the conditions in Haiti and reduce the number of economic migrants seeking to enter countries throughout the hemisphere, fundamentally, the stabilization of Haiti will only happen if Haitians remain in their country and work to find a solution.”

According to the Minister, the government has issued a clear mandate to the Department of Immigration that immigration laws must be enforced. “Persons entering or remaining in The Bahamas outside immigration regulations will therefore be apprehended and departed immediately. The Bahamas maintains an organized system for the lawful entry and orderly processing of applications for lawful entrants into The Bahamas. This is the only process by which persons will be allowed to enter and stay in this country,” he said.

Within the first three months of 2023, The Bahamas repatriated 2,030 Haitians back to Haiti.