Published On: Mon, Nov 17th, 2014

Citizenship can be revoked, warns Bahamas minister

Fred_MitchellNASSAU, Bahamas -- After a state representative from Florida called on tourists and businesses to boycott The Bahamas, foreign affairs and immigration minister Fred Mitchell said on Friday that the ministry is determining what measures to put in place to protect the “sovereign integrity” of The Bahamas.

Mitchell was responding to Florida State Representative Daphne Campbell.

He said several complaints have been made to the ministry from Bahamian citizens about Campbell’s remarks, as well as those of “a purported citizen of The Bahamas who now lives in the US.”

“The Bahamas Nationality Act says… that the minister for nationality may by order deprive someone who is a naturalized citizen of his or her citizenship if that person has shown himself by act or speech to be disloyal or disaffected towards The Bahamas,” he said.

“The ministry reminds the public that the constitution requires all citizens to act in a manner which does not prejudice the sovereignty of the state or jeopardizes their citizenship,” he said.

“Any visitor to our country must comport themselves in accordance with the law.”

He said the constitution gives the governor general the power to “deprive a Bahamian of citizenship”.

“The point here is that citizenship of The Bahamas is precious and important and worthy.

“It is not to be enterprised or treated lightly. I urge all citizens therefore to be mindful that we have in all things to be sure of our conduct. The world marks the manner of our bearing.”

He warned foreign nationals in The Bahamas to ensure that their documents are in order as immigration checks will continue to occur daily.

Campbell was responding to The Bahamas government’s new immigration policy, which took effect November 1.

Several children were picked up during a November 1 raid.

President of the Haitian Bahamian community in The Bahamas, Jetta Baptist, told The Tribune that she fully supports Campbell’s comments.

The new policies require all non-Bahamians to have passports of their nationalities and evidence that they have permission to live and work in the country.

It also states that the Department of Immigration will not accept first-time applications for residence or work permits from those who have no legal status in The Bahamas.

By Travis Cartwright-Carroll
Nassau Guardian Staff Reporter 

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