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Sak Pase?: Illegal Haitian Migration Crisis

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Let’s face it, we live in an extremely xenophobic society where most would wish all immigrants, legal or illegal, to be removed from this country forthwith.



As I See It

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Just recently the Hon. Philip Brave Davis, Prime Minister of The Bahamas, made a national address on the way forward in regard to illegal migration which has burdened our systems for decades. 

In his speech, the prime minister announced his administration’s plan to tackle the problem and many wished it to be named, “Operation Radication” like the song entertainer, “Yellow Man” made in the 1980s, but instead it was humanely called, “Operation Secure”. 

“Operation Secure”, he said, is a collaborative security operation between the Royal Bahamas Police Force, the Defense Force and the Department of Immigration to address security and migration related issues in unregulated and unlawful communities. This operation is said to be focused on identifying irregular migrants, documented migrants and Bahamians living in these communities and addressing their status in a comprehensive and coordinated manner. 

Let’s face it, we live in an extremely xenophobic society where most would wish all immigrants, legal or illegal, to be removed from this country forthwith. That’s never going to happen so the idea is to regularize those that can be regularized and deport those who should be deported. 

Ever since I was a child, the primary offenders of illegal migration to this country were, and still are, Haitian nationals. This is a fact! Bahamians who condemn this so much are the greatest offenders because they hire illegal immigrants as maids, construction workers etc etc. Let us not forget the Bahamians who lease Crown Land and rent plots of it to illegal Haitian immigrants, thus the formation of shanty towns. These people contribute to the problem. 

Toussaint L'ouverture Rose Haiti revolution
Toussaint L’ouverture Rose leading the Haitian revolution

When I was growing up, Haitian nationals who came to this country were peaceful and humble. Unfortunately, many Bahamians took advantage of this. Condescending remarks and physical abuse were common in Bahamian/Haitian relations those days. Today we have regular citizens trying to revert to that sort of treatment, by stopping Haitian migrants and demanding that they show them documentation. 

Prime Minister Davis said “Operation Secure” will prevent the exploitation and abuse of migrants by unscrupulous land owners and businesses holding accountable those with a reckless disregard for our laws. And, “Operation Secure” targets those entering our borders illegally as well as any Bahamian citizens who are crown land holders who are unlawfully leasing land. He said these people will be prosecuted.

repatriation exercise
A repatriation exercise.

I went out of my way to get comments from a cross section of viewers of that national address and believe it or not, the general consensus is that Prime Minister Davis had a lot to say about nothing and that “they said this already”. 

Whereas there were some who were optimistic about “Operation Secure”, the majority were not. This disappointed me terribly. Is this to say we are no longer a society trusting of our governments?

There is also a general fear that Haitians will somehow find every cutlass and gun in the country and “take over” by force. The idea is that Haitians are no longer the humble, subservient people they used to be. And, there is the reminder of the Haitian revolt which began on 22 August 1791, and ended in 1804 with Independence and Toussaint Louverture emerging as Haiti’s most prominent general. Yes, the fear is that this can happen here.


That is neither here or there with me, but I would like to commend the Department of Immigration and the Ministry responsible for the quick repatriation exercises done when illegals are found entering our borders. No one is looking at this, but it is quick and humane work and work that alleviates pressure from our system. 

On another note, if we say we are a Christian nation, we must remember that Haitians are human beings and our Caribbean brothers and sisters. They flee their country because of the horrific conditions they live in. I am not saying illegal entry to our country is right, but I am saying we should treat them humanely while they are on our shores.

I feel the New Day government is on the right path with “Operation Secure” and I believe the public should give this administration an opportunity to execute this exercise before running to criticize. Well, that’s how I see it anyway.

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