NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Bahamas Immigration Department wishes to respond to an article which appeared in the Tuesday 24th February edition of The Tribune under the caption “Detention Centre Hunger Strike”.
The article raises several issues with respect to the operations and conditions at the Bahamas Detention Centre. The Department is not aware of a planned or organized hunger strike by any detainee or detainees housed at the Detention Centre.
The Bahamas Detention Centre is a holding facility for persons found in breach or violation of the Immigration laws and regulations of The Bahamas.
The Centre is administratively operated by the Bahamas Immigration Department which seeks to ensure that reasonable standards are maintained with regard to housing conditions for the detainees.
The Royal Bahamas Defence Force is responsible for security measures at the Centre. The article also alleges mistreatment of detainees. Investigation into these allegations have proven false. At no time were detainees mistreated or beaten.
The Department further wishes to advise that all detainees are fed three times daily and every care is given so as to ensure that the food is of good quality.
The food menu takes into account the various nationalities housed at the Centre and the quantity of meals is always adequate.
The policy of repatriation within 24 to 48 hours is indicative of the Department’s commitment to ensure that migrants are returned to their respective homes as soon as possible.
The timely and orderly repatriation ensures that detainees are not housed for inordinate periods and that detainees can carry out their affairs unrestricted and as they wish.
It should be noted that a pay telephone booth is within the dormitory reach of all detainees. Further, detainees are allowed to use the office telephone from time to time.
The Department is aware that from time to time detainees become irate and frustrated when apprehended or detained and sometimes attempt to tarnish the name of those working at the facility.
Officers assigned to the Detention Centre fully appreciate the importance of honesty and the rule of law.
All persons attached to the Centre must adhere to best practices and are required at all times to execute their duties with respect and integrity.
The Department fully understands its national and international obligations and will continue to adhere to the relevant principles and values.