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Disturbing News Reports

February 23, 2010

Monday news reports indicate that 9 Haitians have been rescued from a burning sloop off Eleuthera, but it is not clear how they will be treated and “processed” by Immigration. And this article does not give a lot of information. It’s time to send in our letters! We must demand that the government establish a better & more just policy!

“Nine Haitians rescued from burning sloop”
By Keva Lightbourne, Guardian Senior Reporter

Nine Haitian nationals narrowly escaped death on Saturday when their wooden sloop caught on fire on the high seas near Eleuthera.

According to police press liaison officer Sergeant Chrislyn Skippings, the incident occurred sometime around 3 p.m.

Skippings reported that the vessel was en route to Haiti when it caught afire.

Skippings had no further information on the matter up to press time last night, and The Nassau Guardian was unable to reach immigration officials in Nassau and Eleuthera for comment.

See full article in The Nassau Guardian

And meanwhile on the ground, there are reports of a scam by a Bahamian portrait place making “ID’s” for Haitians who are being led to believe this Identification will spare them from deportation. This is completely outrageous…  And the police are saying that this is technically not illegal… and they can’t stop the place from “providing a service” – even thought immigration has said these cards mean nothing. There must be something we can do to stop this – we need to spread the word about this business – and let people know this is a scam. AND here is just one more example of how Haitian Bahamians remain vulnerable and subject to injustice through statelessness. What happened to our Prime Minister’s pledge of support? What happened to our promises to help?

“Haitians crowd studio seeking personal ID card”
by ALISON LOWE, Tribune Staff Reporter

ABOUT 10 police officers descended on a Carmichael Road business place last week after reports that Haitian migrants were being told they could obtain a personal identification card there that would protect them from apprehension by Immigration authorities.

A crowd of Haitians were found outside Latoya Portraits, a Carmichael Road photography studio on Thursday when The Tribune arrived.

Haitian migrants waiting their turn to get into the store said they had received word that they would need the ID to avoid being detained by Immigration officials.

According to several Haitians, the cards, which included their name, date of birth, Haitian passport number and place of residence, were being sold by Latoya Portraits for $15 a piece, created after they handed over their personal details and the fee to the store.

Some said they had heard rumours from many people that the Latoya Portrait studio was the only place they could go to get the ID.

Mr Sawyer, owner of the photography studio denied any involvement in encouraging the Haitians to come to his place of business, claiming he was simply “providing a service.”

See full article in The Tribune

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