‘WE CAN’T ABSORB THEM’: PM Davis outlines border security measures as illegal migration from Haiti increases

‘WE CAN’T ABSORB THEM’: PM Davis outlines border security measures as illegal migration from Haiti increases

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Prime Minister Philip Davis provided an update on the steps the government is taking to protect The Bahamas’ borders and national security in light of the volatile situation in Haiti.

In a statement, Davis said that there are no simple or easy solutions for Haiti, and the country’s disorder and instability pose a security challenge for the entire region.

“In The Bahamas, we must patrol thousands of square miles of water in order to protect our nation’s borders. Since we came to office two and a half years ago, our government has made significant investments in the Royal Bahamas Defence Force,” he said.

“We have recruited and trained hundreds of new officers, we have expanded our fleet, we have added new technology and equipment, and we built a new facility in Inagua to facilitate faster processing and repatriation of migrants found in our waters.”

The nation’s leader added that the government is now deploying significant RBDF assets, including surface vessels, aircraft, and 120 highly trained RBDF personnel, to establish a southern Bahamas blockade operation. Operations will focus on the northern coast of Haiti, the Old Bahama Channel, and the Windward Passage.

“As we expand our patrols in our southern waters, the United States and the United Kingdom are also working to position assets in the region. We are working with the US Coast Guard, with Turks and Caicos, and with the Cuban Border Patrol, to share critical intelligence and align our efforts.
Through these collaborative efforts, we have successfully intercepted a number of vessels originating from Haiti.”

He explained that the repatriation of individuals aboard those vessels will be conducted in a manner that prioritizes the safety of Bahamian officers and respects the human rights and dignity of the passengers.

At the Summit of Americas in June of 2022, which took place in the United States, twenty-one countries in our hemisphere signed an agreement that included a commitment to receive refugees. Davis did not sign this pledge, and said he continues to believe this is the right decision for our country.

“We Bahamians are a compassionate people, but we simply cannot absorb additional burdens or security risks at home,” he said. “However, we are committed to continuing diplomatic support for Haitian efforts to create a path forward out of their crisis. Progress is urgently needed — for the people of Haiti, and for the security of The Bahamas and the region.”

About Genea Noel

Genea Noel is the news director and weeknight TV news anchor at Eyewitness News. She began working at Eyewitness News in 2018 as the newsroom editor and was subsequently promoted during her tenure. As a household name who graces the screens of thousands of Bahamian homes each night, Genea has racked up an impressive five Bahamas Press Club awards, including “The Cyril Stevenson Award for Outstanding Political Journalism” (2020), “Best Studio Live Producer” (2020) and “Best Newscast” (2018).