On Wednesday 4th February, The Bahamas Immigration Department, in a joint exercise with the Royal Bahamas Police and Defence Forces, conducted investigation exercises on the Island of Eleuthera.  The exercises were as a result of information gathered and numerous complaints from the residents on that Island regarding persons who were claimed to be without proper/legitimate immigration status on that Island. 


The concerns prompted the Immigration Officials to coordinate and strategize plans to tackle what many persons termed as a vexing problem on the Island. The main objective of the exercise was to identify illegal migrants (of all nationalities) residing and working in the North & Central Eleuthera Districts.  In addition, the team sought to identify persons working without valid work permits as well as those engaged in illegal activities.  The team of over sixty (60) Law Enforcement Officers executed its planned operations following its initial briefings. 


This resulted in total of two hundred & twenty-five (225) persons who were interviewed and assessed with a view of determining their status on the Island.

In some instances documents were presented and checked.  Once officers were satisfied as to the validity and authenticity of documents, persons were released.

A total of thirty (30) persons were released after producing proper documentation and another thirty-three (33) families produced documents or paid outstanding fees for the work permits. The department collected some ten thousand (10,000.00) dollars in outstanding fees.  The remaining one hundred & sixty-two (162) persons were transported to New Providence for further assessment and processing.


The department completed its review exercise on Monday 9th February, instant with the following results.


10        Males were found to have legal status

3          Females were found to have legal status

6          Children were found to have legal status

113      Males without status {112 Haitians, 1 Jamaican}

23        Females without status

8          Children without status


All persons without legal status will be repatriated within this week.

The department further wishes to advise that prior to commencement of the exercise, Officers were briefed as to the acceptable standards in such operations.  Persons were given the opportunity to satisfy officials by producing proper documents.  All persons deemed to be of interest to officials were afforded the opportunity to collect personal  effects/items,  prior to being transported to New Providence.  The department wishes to categorically deny any suggestions that suspected illegal migrants were treated inhumanly or less than respected.  The department is fully aware of its obligations and commitments during such apprehension exercises and will at all times adhere to the strictest code of conduct and best practices. 

The department is committed to doing everything in its power to ensure that The Bahamas Immigration Laws are adhered to.

The department is ever cognizant of its responsibilities and the expectations of the Public, and toward this end pledges to redouble its efforts so as to ensure a better Bahamas for all its citizens and residents.