Dept. of Immigration issues clarification on COVID cases

Dept. of Immigration issues clarification on COVID cases
Director of Immigration Clarence Russell (file photo)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Immigration Director Clarence Russell clarified today that only six Immigration officers have tested positive for COVID-19 to date.

Minister of Financial Services, Trade & Industry and Immigration Elsworth Johnson reported there were 30 confirmed cases; however, Russell explained the minister was referring to officers who had been quarantined.

Russell said the department has retained a clinical psychologist to provide support for all officers and their respective families.

“Sessions have been held with affected officers and families, both in group and in individual sessions at the Departmentʼs expense,” he said.

“The Department of Immigration has implemented COVID-19 prevention measures and supplied personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure the safety of Immigration Officers.

“In March, the Department developed a business continuity plan following safety and social distancing protocols. The Department has also acquired standing sanitizing stations and customer friendly protective shields at all high traffic enrollment stations and cashier cages.”

Russell continued: “Infrared thermometers have been installed for staff temperature checks and sanitizing sterile fogging measures have been conducted, which will continue weekly. The Department maintains an inventory of PPE gowns, disposable masks, face shields, hand sanitizer and disinfectant cleaners for customer and staff protection in the work environment.”

“As it relates to the approval of work permits, members of the public are advised that those who are making an application for the first time should be in their country of origin when the work permit application is made.

“Those who are resident in The Bahamas by way of a work permit where the employment agreement has been terminated should make every effort to return to their country of origin.”

Russell said: “Those who wish to be gainfully employed in The Bahamas should make an application to the Immigration Department pursuant to the Immigration Act.

“It is a criminal offense to employ a non-Bahamian in contravention of the Immigration Act. Similarly, it is an offense to knowingly or recklessly or without reasonable cause to provide or to conspire to provide housing, board, or shelter of any kind in contravention of the Immigration Act.”