Immigration minister warns JPs over fraudulent documents

Immigration minister warns JPs over fraudulent documents
Minister of Legal Affairs, Yamacraw MP Elsworth Johnson speaks with Eyewitness News outside the House of Assembly. (file photo)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Immigration minister Elsworth Johnson yesterday sent a warning to justices of the peace over fraudulent documents, telling Parliament he wants a review of the civil public post.

Johnson underscored the Department of Immigration will “keep” migrants who attempt to commit fraud as he contributed to debate on a bill to allow a fee exemption for storm victims who need to replace government-issued documents.

The immigration minister said there have been no complaints concerning the replacement process from applicants with legitimate claim.

“I can tell you that we have kept some persons,” Johnson said.

“There have been no complaints that those who have applied for birth certificates and death certificates that they have not been issued, but we have to keep some persons and get some persons.

Johnson said: “I want to issue a warning to some of those justices of the peace, and I am of the view and will suggest to my prime minister that we should review this whole thing about justice of the peace.

“But ya’ll be careful, ya’ll are doing some documents.

He added: “A word to the wise is sufficient.”

Johnson reiterated his ministry’s mandate to maintain border control in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.

He said the efforts of immigration officers protect the country’s integrity, but also provide support to migrants who may be in exploitative situations.

“We have persons coming here to work, going into agreements in foreign countries. There are persons who are giving us horrific stories about how they are treated,” Johnson continued.

“Young women who go into homes sometimes and the last thing that is on the persons mind is cleaning.”

Johnson said: “We have had to follow the law without fear, favor, affection, or ill-will and just tell some persons you’re not going to leave this department because they’ve attempted to commit a fraud on this department.

“Not everybody who comes ahead and says they’ve lost a document, lost them.”