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  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller urged members of the Jamaican diaspora in the Bahamas to ensure that they are legitimately working and living in that country.
  • The call comes within the context of the introduction of new immigration regulations by the Bahamian Government, which took effect in November, 2014.
  • The Prime Minister advised that the Government of Jamaica is monitoring the changes in Bahamian immigration law and reminded the grouping to ensure that their passports and other documents are in order.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller urged members of the Jamaican diaspora in the Bahamas to ensure that they are legitimately working and living in that country. The call comes within the context of the introduction of new immigration regulations by the Bahamian Government, which took effect in November, 2014.

Speaking at a Reception hosted by the Jamaican Diaspora in the Bahamas on Friday, February 27 at the Breezes Hotel in Nassau, Bahamas, the Prime Minister advised that the Government of Jamaica is monitoring the changes in Bahamian immigration law and reminded the grouping to ensure that their passports and other documents are in order.

“I want to assure you that the Government of Jamaica, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has been monitoring the implementation of the new immigration policies and is moving to ensure that all the members of the Jamaican community, including persons of Jamaican descent, will be afforded a Jamaican passport once their citizenship application has been approved,” Mrs. Simpson Miller outlined. The Prime Minister also assured the gathering that she raised several immigration related matters and concerns in a bilateral meeting with the Prime Minister of the Bahamas Perry Christie.

The Bahamian government enacted the new laws as part of efforts to reduce the number of illegal (or undocumented) persons in that country. A significant number of undocumented and documented foreigners from all over the Caribbean and the world live and work in the Bahamas.  Prime Minister Simpson Miller noted that of that number “only a very small number of the undocumented cases are Jamaicans.”

She added that for the most part members of the Jamaican Diaspora have contributed significantly to the development of both Jamaica and the Bahamas. “You have chosen to make new lives in a sister CARICOM island.  You have continued to contribute to the national development of Jamaica and the Bahamas over the years,” she said.

Ahead of the upcoming Diaspora Conference in Montego Bay, the Prime Minister also used the opportunity to encourage the Jamaicans in the Bahamas to attend and participate in a range of beneficial activities. “The emphasis of the Conference was broadened in 2013 to focus not only on social issues pertaining to the development of the education and health sectors in Jamaica, but a deliberate effort was made to focus on trade and investment opportunities,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said. The Sixth Biennial Diaspora Conference will be held June 13 to 18 in Montego Bay under the theme “Jamaica and the Diaspora: Linking for Growth and Prosperity”.

The Prime Minister’s address to the Jamaican Diaspora in the Bahamas was preceded by the 26th Inter-Sessional Meeting of Heads of the Caribbean Community in Nassau, Bahamas on February 26 and 27. The meeting addressed several matters including the creative industries, reparations and genocide, the marijuana commission, regional security among other issues.