“Argue until the cows come home,” said former immigration minister, Fred Mitchell, referring to lawyers and QCs, “but you are either Bahamian or you are not.”
Mitchell’s sentiment was clear as he called for a line to be drawn when it comes to the country’s immigration laws to ensure that persons who were born in the Bahamas to illegal parents – who fail to apply for citizenship by age 19, can be deported without the courts interference.
“The point is you either have to be a Bahamian citizen or you have to have some status from the Department of Immigration,” said Mitchell. “If you have none of those things you are subject to exclusion from the Bahamas, no ambiguity, no gray area, nothing it is as simple as that, black or white and you know the advocates.”
The Opposition Senator is also calling for the strict enforcement of current immigration laws and blasted the government for what he called its failure to protect the sovereignty of our country.
Last week, Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hilton ordered that nearly one dozen illegal migrants be freed after they were “unlawfully” held at the Carmichael Road Detention Center. Senator Mitchell said the government should take the matter to the Privy Council.
“We believe the case was wrongly decided, so it needs to go to the Privy Council to be determined,” he said.
“Can a judge substitute his opinion for the Department of Immigration? So here you have a situation where a decision was made and let’s say with other particular cases and Immigration Department has information that the person is a security risk and a court comes along and says, ‘oh no I don’t accept that judgment’. Clearly the law doesn’t say that, clearly that was not meant to be, so that’s a legal principal that must be clarified at the highest levels.”
Attorney General, Carl Bethel, said earlier this week, his office believes the rulings were wrong in law, and a review is underway to determine which individual rulings can be appealed.