Haitian foreign minister wants bilateral talks on immigration policy
Haiti's Minister of Foreign Affairs Duly Brutus said bilateral meetings with the Bahamas government over its new immigration policy is a top priority as Haiti does not have the capacity to meet regularisation demands.
On Monday, Brutus called for the Bahamas government to meet the International Organisation for Migration and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees over the new regulations, adding that the primary concern was the treatment of children born in The Bahamas to Haitian parents.
He said he expects to send a delegation to the country this week after he was unable to meet with Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell on the sidelines of the Japan-CARICOM ministerial meetings in Tokyo.
He also underscored Haiti's respect for the Bahamas government's sovereign right to enforce immigration policy, and cautioned detractors against using excessive language that may create difficulties for persons of Haitian descent living in the country.
"We do not have the service now for The Bahamas," he said, responding to questions about the government's readiness to process the increased demand for Haitian passports.
Several new immigration policies were implemented on November 1. However, the mandate that everyone living in The Bahamas must have a passport of their nationality has proved to be the most contentious. The measures were announced in the House of Assembly on September 17. Certificates of identity issued to people born to foreign parents legally residing in The Bahamas will not be renewed; instead a passport of their nationality with a resident stamp will be required.