(Nassau, Bahamas) – The Tribune published a letter to the editor on the 3rd February signed under a cognomen which mischaracterized the actions of the Department in relation to the case of Bruno Rufa.
The Department wishes again to place in the public domain the following statement issued by the Department of Immigration on 29 January 2016:
“The Tribune reported the following this morning with regard to the matter of Bruno Rufa, a matter that concerns the refusal of status of a non-Bahamian in Freeport:
“He [Fred Smith QC] said that Mr. Rufa and his partner, Sandra Georgiou, have both submitted applications for their annual homeowners resident card last May, along with required payment, to Bahamas Immigration, but their applications are still pending and have not been approved.”
“In the public interest the Department wishes to say the following:
The statement quoted in materially incorrect. The applications are not pending. Both applications have been refused.
“The matter is before the Courts and public demonstrations by non–nationals designed to put political pressure on the Government, the Department or the Courts are incompatible with the status of non-Bahamians in our country.
“Governance issues, public policy matters in the public domain are consistent with rights of citizens of The Bahamas.
“Minster for Immigration Fred Mitchell said today that he fully supports the work of the Department in this and other matters.” (End of original statement)
Each day scores of Bahamians complain to the Department of Immigration and the Department of Labour that people who have come here as guests to our country on the basis of resident homeowners cards, work permits or so called economic permanent residence permits, use that as a license to abuse Bahamians and think that it gives them a licence to interfere in the internal affairs of the country to the point where some have boasted that they have Immigration in their back pockets, and that they will be able to delay actions against them using the Courts and thereby hoping for and working for a change of the political administrations. That is on the face of it and without more – a naked interference in the internal affairs of our country. It is unacceptable and incompatible with their status in this country.
We believe that the vast majority of our guests do not conducte themselves in that manner but where there is a complaint, the Department is bound in law to investigate. In a small number of cases, legal actions have to be taken.
Often we act following recommendations from the Department of Labour.
The Immigration Department acts according to law and whatever actions are being taken in the public domain, including matters before the courts have been taken in strict compliance with the Immigration Act. Unfortunately, some misguided legal counsel for their own purposes seek to mischaracterize the Department’s action as something other than it is.
Letters have been written by the Department to the individuals in Freeport who have expressed concerns in the press about their specific circumstances to assure them that once they are in compliance with the law, the Bruno Rufa matter has no bearing on their situations. Each case turns on its own facts. The Department’s assures the public that the Rufa matter is not some capricious act and any attempt to portray it as other than an act permissible in law is pure propaganda.
In our country, matters are reviewable in the courts. People can take advantage of such rights if they wish.
However, the Department’s job is to ensure that those who are welcomed into this country conform with the law and do not abuse their status in The Bahamas.