Despite a pending court appeal on the recent ruling for Bahamian-born Jean Rony Jean Charles, Immigration Minister Symonnette said that, to date, no application has been made by Jean Charles.
“There is no application before immigration for him as of yesterday for anything to do with him so let’s put some balance to this,” said Symonette. “He has lost his automatic right. He lost it full stop. There is discretionary right but it’s not an automatic constitutional right.”
Symonette reiterated what the constitution prescribes as it relates to Bahamian citizenship.
He said, “The mere fact that you were born in The Bahamas does not make you a Bahamian.”
This comes on the heels of the conditional release of Jean Charles. There has been a mounting concern that thousands of individuals repatriated to Haiti would be seeking to return to The Bahamas.
Jean Charles was ordered back to The Bahamas and allowed to remain with the right to apply for legal status. Symonette however revealed that despite overwhelming public fears, no formal request has been made.
“I saw in the not daily paper, it was some large volume of people but we are seeing no application in Haiti. At some point, we have to look at the merit of each case, whether they applied in time, etc.”
Meanwhile, the committee appointed to approve citizenship, removing this responsibility out of the hands of Cabinet, have already begun processing applications for others awaiting citizenship approval.
The Jean Charles matter is expected to be turned over to the Appeals Court. In the meantime, the minister said he looks forward to those amendments currently being drafted by the Attorney General’s office.