Immigration Minister Brent Symonette declared Thursday night that the long wait for a response on citizenship applications from the Department of Immigration is over.
His declaration came at the 24th annual International Crusade of the League of Haitian Pastors held last evening at the Church of God Auditorium on Joe Farrington Road.
“I appreciate that many of you know Immigration may cause you difficulty,” Symonette said.
“We lose files. We ask for many documents and we know it has not been easy.”
Symonette acknowledged the inefficiencies within the department and told the hundreds gathered that change is in progress.
“The Free National Movement (FNM) government has made its pledge, through the Immigration Department, to do its utmost best to ensure that everyone entitled is registered and welcomed in The Bahamas,” he said.
“An immigration commission has been established, which finally takes out of the hands of politicians, the right for each of you born here who apply before their 18-19 birthday, to be registered as citizens of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.”
The Immigration minister revealed that since that commission was formed earlier this year, it has met every two weeks and has approved 160 persons to be registered as citizens.
“Every two weeks, when I am in the country, I do a swearing in of at least 35 people,” he said.
Symonette also told attendees that he recently met with the Haitian immigration minister and a commitment was made to ensure that both parties work together
“A pledge was made to work with each and every one of you to make sure that the days of long waits are over,” he noted.
Symonette instructed those who have been waiting for years for a response to submit their contact information to the president of the league.