NASSAU, The Bahamas — The individual designated by Jamaica to look after its citizens’ affairs in The Bahamas has issued a warning to those displaced by Hurricane Dorian who might be in the 700-island archipelago illegally.
The honorary consul for Jamaica in the country on the north-western edge of the West Indies, Terrel A Butler, said illegal migrants should get their affairs in order or prepare to return to their homeland.
With an estimated 8,000 Jamaicans in The Bahamas, some are among the thousands of people who have been left homeless after the category five monster storm wiped out sections of the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama two weeks ago.
More than 5,000 of those affected have been evacuated from the devastating northern Bahamian islands — Jamaicans among them.
“If they’re able to provide for themselves, and they have status in the country, naturally they can remain,” Butler said in an interview with the Jamaica Observer at her Shirley Street and Victoria Avenue office in Nassau, last Thursday.
“However, for those persons who do not have employment and do not have status, it is best that they return home because we don’t want a situation where they have overstayed and they’re brought before the court to face criminal charges,” the attorney-at-law added.
The honorary consul could not definitively say how many Jamaicans are living in The Bahamas, explaining that the number is “fluid”. However, she said if any are in fact in the country illegally, this is not something they would disclose.