NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The government will be calling on employers with immigration bonds to repatriate workers who no longer have jobs in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, Minister of Immigration Elsworth Johnson said yesterday.
“Anybody who gets a work permit, the employer signs a bond, that bond says that when it’s time for these persons to go back, you will provide the funding,” said Johnson, in an interview with Eyewitness News Online.
“We are now calling on those bonds and so the public purse is not burdened with that experience…with that bond you undertake to facilitate the safe passage of that person back.
He said: “And so all of those persons who have those bonds we are gong to be calling on them.”
Johnson said employers who have applied for permits should be fully aware of this agreement, but warned “for those who may suffer from selective amnesia, there is a systematic way to advise them of the bond”.
Dorian pounded the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama in early September, claiming the lives of at least 70 people — and displacing thousands, many of whom resided in Haitian shantytown communities in Abaco.
The Category 5 storm destroyed the two largest of the six shantytowns on the island – The Mudd and the Peas.
As of last week, 497 shelterees still reside on two designated sites in New Providence: 380 at the Kendal GL Isaacs Gymnasium and three tents, and 117 at the Bahamas Academy Gymnasium.
Last week, Director of Immigration Clarence Russell told Eyewitness News Online the public should have no misconception that the Department of Immigration is unaware of the status of individuals in those facilities.
Yesterday, Johnson maintained registered shelters were under the remit of the Ministry of Social Services.
However, he confirmed the immigration bonds will be utilized as a part of the government’s efforts to repatriate shelterees with work permits but no jobs.