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News Article
Born in The Bahamas

An overview of the data collected by the Department of Statistics on births in The Bahamas over the last 40 years shows that women, domestic and foreign-born, are having fewer children.
The data in the births report, collated from 1970 through 2010, shows that with a population of about 170,000 in 1970, there were 4,894 live births recorded.  Juxtapose those numbers against the 5,362 live births recorded among a population of more than 340,000 in 2010, and the downward shift is apparent.
The report also shows that the birth rate fell almost 50 percent, from 28.8 births per 1,000 persons to 15.8 births per 1,000 persons from 1970 through 2010.
The conclusion: Women between the ages of 15 and 49 were having an average of four children during the course of their lives in 1970.  By 2010, women were only having an average of two children.
The data doesn't indicate why birth rates have dropped so dramatically, but a scrutiny of the numbers does uncover some interesting trends among particular groups of women.
Births by foreign women have dropped in the past four decades, from about 30 percent in 1970 to about 18 percent in 2010.
However, an unavoidable fact - as pointed out by The Nassau Guardian several days ago - is that the birth rate among Haitian women in The Bahamas has nearly doubled in the past 40 years.
"The number of births grew from 7.2 percent in 1970, to an average of 13.7 percent by 2010," the report noted.  "In contrast, births to women of Jamaican ethnicity declined by some 50 percent.  For females from countries outside the Caribbean, the numbers of births plunged, especially since 2008 to (nearly zero) from 12.1 in 1970."
The report also points out that births to unwed mothers have practically doubled since 1970, and remain "the largest annual natural increase to the Bahamian population".
"Births to unwed mothers in The Bahamas escalated in the past 40 years, from 29 percent in 1970 to a high of 62 percent in 2009.  For the period 1990 to 2005, the annual birth trend, though high, leveled at 57 percent," the report said.  "Four years later, births to single mothers advanced by five percentage points and declined to 59 percent of the national total in 2010."
Meantime, the birth rate among teenage mothers (ages 10-19) has dropped significantly.
In 1970 the birth rate in this group was 32.4 per 1,000 women. The birth rate in that group now stands at 17.6 per 1,000 women.
"When compared to the annual national totals the proportion of births to teen mothers fluctuated, reaching a high of 21.7 percent in 1980, to a low of 9.7 percent in 2005," said the report.
"During the last two years, the percentage of births to females under the age of 20 dropped to single digits, indicating some degree of stability in terms of the annual number of births to this group of females."
Females ages 15-19 had a birth rate of 40.9 in 2010, compared to 38.9 in 1970.
Women ages 20-24 had the highest birthrate in 1970, with a little over 100 births per 1,000 women.  Now that group has a birth rate of 96.7 per 1,000 women and has been eclipsed by women ages 25-29, with a birth rate of 106.3 per 1,000 women.
Women ages 30-34 had a birth rate of 91.7 in 2010, compared to 54.2 in 1970.
Some women are also having children at an older age.  Women ages 35-39 had a birth rate of 49 in 2010, compared to 40.8 in 1970.
However, women ages 40-44 had a birth rate of 13 in 2010, compared to 16.7 in 1970.
Women ages 45-49 were having two children per 1,000 persons 40 years ago, and that rate has now fallen to one child among that age group.
As was the case 40 years ago, most children are still born in New Providence.
"In 1970, 63.3 percent of the nation's children were born in Nassau.  Between 1970 and 1980, births in New Providence grew by more than seven percentage points, and about 11 percent by 1990.  Thereafter, the proportion of births remained in the low 80 percent range, peaking at 83.9 percent in 2008," the report found.
"Over the past four decades, the proportion of births which occurred in Grand Bahama decreased by more than four percentage points; from 20.5 to 16 in 2010.
"Forty years ago, the Family Islands accounted for 16 percent of births in the country.  By 2010, these island communities experienced a significant loss of birth occurrences, from 794 births during 1970, to a record low of 17 births in 2010."
The number of boys and girls born in The Bahamas has consistently remained almost equal for the past 40 years, with the majority number fluctuating slightly between the genders.
Most babies are still being born in August and September, although many children are also born during the months between October and January.
But for all the babies being born, there are still many who don't make it out of their mothers' wombs alive - though that number is decreasing.
In 1970 there were 105 stillborn children in the country.  By 2010 that number decreased to 61.
Expressed as a rate, it would mean that in 1970, for every 1,000 live births there were 21.5 stillborn children.
In 2010, for every 1,000 babies born alive, 12.1 died in utero.
 
Ed. Note: This information can be viewed on the Department of Statistics website at http://statistics.bahamas.gov.bs

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News Article
Illegitimacy in The Bahamas

The Department of Statistics has released its Births Report for the period 1970 to 2010.  An interesting section of the report relates to illegitimacy - that is, children born to unmarried mothers.
According to the report, births to unwed mothers in The Bahamas escalated during the past 40 years from 29 percent in 1970, to a high of 62 percent in 2009.  Births to unwed mothers dropped slightly in 2010 to 59 percent.
"Births to unwed mothers remained the largest annual natural increase to the Bahamian population," said the Department of Statistics in the report.
The traditional home in which married parents shared the responsibility of child rearing has been eclipsed by a new Bahamas in which mothers primarily carry the burden of bringing up children.  Some men who father children to women they are not married to make an effort.  Many do not, however.
There are several disadvantages to a society growing via this model.  The combined income and attention of two well-intentioned parents in a home far surpass what a well-intentioned mother, burdened by being both a father and mother, can provide to a child.
Beyond resources, children need examples to use to model behavior.  When no father is present in the home a boy is robbed of an example of how to be, or not to be, a man.  Similarly, girls are denied the example of observing masculinity up close when their fathers are missing.
One of the few measures the state can take to influence the reproductive patterns of its citizens is to ensure aggressively that child maintenance laws are tough and enforced.  When men refuse to financially help take care of their children they can be taken to court by mothers and made to pay.  And they should be made to pay.  People are the most important natural resource of any society.  Every investment must be made in the next generation to ensure it is as capable as possible to meet the challenges of the times.
The church has a role to play in this issue too.  The message must again be aggressively and consistently sent to Bahamians that two-parent homes with focused and dedicated parents are more ideal than homes in which mothers struggle to do it all alone.  And when children are born to unwed mothers it must be emphasized from our pulpits that it is morally reprehensible for a man not to take care of his children.
A positive trend in the report is that the number of teenage pregnancy remains significantly under the highs of a few decades ago.  According to the report, in 1980 there were 1,107 births recorded to teenage mothers; 763 in 1990; 580 in 2000; and 533 in 2010.
Girls who have not even finished their secondary education are not well-equipped to be mothers.  The public education initiatives in place in schools and via the media seem to have had some positive effect on this problem.
Additionally, the state must continue to ensure that men who commit statutory rape and impregnate girls are prosecuted.  The aggressive prosecution of these men should help deter others from engaging in this destructive behavior.

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News Article
All-Bahamas Merit Scholar finishes first year at university with honors

Shannon Butler, who was arguably one of the brightest minds to graduate high school in 2013, has completed his one-year university foundation program in the British pre-med system and is now eager to commence his medical school studies in September.
"I'm really excited to start medical school so that I can finally begin what I love," said Shannon, the 2013 All-Bahamas Merit Scholar, who aspires to become a cardiothoracic surgeon.
Shannon, who is at home for summer break, finished his first year at St. Andrew's University in Scotland with grades that he said were satisfactory. Shannon took organic and biological chemistry, human biology, introduction to medicine, statistics, academic English and medical ethics in his second semester and finished the year with a lot of distinctions in individual classes, and the program in its entirety with honors. In the British system, everything is graded on a 20-point scale -- grades of 17 and above are classified as distinction, grades from 14-16.9 are upper second-class honors, 11 to 13 lower second and anything below an 11 a failure.
In September he will enter the six-year medical program that he says is perfect for people who know that they only want to study medicine.
"It avoids all of the extraneous requirements of other systems where you have to get a bachelor's degree and do lots of hours of research and community service, and you always try to have the top grade point average (GPA) and all of that stuff," said Shannon.
Even though the study habits he had adopted held up through his first year at university, he's anticipating that things will now have to change for him as he enters the rigorous program.
"With medical school you don't really have much coursework and many assessments -- it's really all about studying. I was actually reading the student handbook a few days ago and for my first year, in both semesters, I only have two assessments -- a mid-term that is 25 percent and my final exams which are 75 percent -- so basically this upcoming year it's going to be studying every single day."
After his first semester at university he had described the experience and adjustment as tough. He was homesick. His second semester was a different experience. He returned to the campus adjusted and with a solid group of friends. He experienced less homesickness and felt more at home in Scotland that he said resulted in an experience that was more enjoyable for him.
"I knew the ropes so things got a bit easier for me. I started out not liking the place that much, but now I'm actually excited to return to Scotland," said Shannon.
He's not only eager to return to his studies, but to the town he's grown to love which he said has a "charm" that he did not realize it had when he first went there.
"I always wanted to be in a big city, but now I basically realize that I like the small town. I get to see a lot of people -- almost everyone that I know...professors, students, all around the town and it [town] has a lot of history and a lot of beauty to it with the pier and the beach, and even the wilderness and farms outside of it."
During his first year he extended his education beyond the classroom. He made the first of what he expects to be many sojourns over the next six years into Europe by visiting The Netherlands. In the period between the end of his exams and his first-year graduation, he and his friends visited Amsterdam. They took the train to the countryside to look at small towns and to view the famous Dutch windmills.
At home, Shannon is relaxing in preparation for his return to Scotland. After his first week at home, he lent his services to his former high school teacher for two weeks for a chemistry course work preparation class. Shannon helped the tenth grade students with course work, writing lab reports and conducting experiments.
For the remainder of the summer break he plans to relax to prepare himself for the upcoming medical program.
"I just want to hopefully relax and leave the work experience, the research and the internships all for next summer and all the summers after that," he said.
"Actually, the school does not encourage trying to prepare yourself for medical school, because it says all that studying will come in time, and actually as soon as you arrive. I spoke with a teacher of mine who actively encourages taking breaks when breaks are given."
Shannon said his reading this summer will be for his enjoyment. He is currently engrossed in a fantasy book.
Shannon amassed a total of $146,000 in scholarships to help fund his education -- the All-Bahamas Merit Scholar, a four-year $140,000 scholarship. He was also named the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity's 2013 valedictorian and awarded a $6,000 scholarship.
He's also known for his focus. The former Queen's College student in high school distinguished himself with an impressive academic record, having achieved 10 Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) awards with nine A grades and one B grade. The results earned him the award for the best BGCSE results in the country; the best results from an independent school student and the highest award in mathematics.
Shannon's advice to graduates who are preparing to transition into university life is to ensure that they attend a school that they really like, and to ensure that they pick a course of study that they like.
"Just make sure that you're in a healthy environment and be prepared to buckle down and do your work, pull all-nighters and study as much as necessary to get the grades that you need. But also try to genuinely enjoy yourself and have a great time," said the former Q.C. head boy and valedictorian.

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News Article
PM: Thousands of jobs saved in GB

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama - The government would have spent $17 million by the end of the summer to keep the Treasure Bay Casino at Our Lucaya open, and has pumped millions of dollars into the island's struggling economy in direct support, thereby saving thousands of jobs, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said Saturday night.
"Without the support of the government in 2010 after the Great Recession took hold, Grand Bahama's tourism would have collapsed," said Ingraham at the opening of the Free National Movement's (FNM) Marco City constituency office.
"Many of you used to go to Miami or Florida on Discovery Cruise Lines [and] that cost us (government) nearly $8 million," Ingraham told supporters.
"We supported the Norwegian Cruise ship which made 48 calls here [with] 120,000 passengers; we paid half a million dollars for that.
"We gave some of the support to Carnival, to Delta, to U.S. Air, WestJet out of Canada and more recently Vision Airlines. [We gave] more than $4 million for direct marketing support for the Grand Lucaya hotel."
Ingraham said this support gave hundreds of businesses in Grand Bahama the ability to survive.
Unemployment on the island stands at 21.2 percent, according to the Department of Statistics' latest labor force and household income survey released earlier this month.
The survey, which was conducted in November 2011, also showed that jobless people who are no longer looking for work (discouraged workers) jumped 42 percent.
Ingraham said strong economic and financial headwinds worked against the country and the government during this current term.
However, he said things would be worse under the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP).
"Like the rest of the world, our economy faltered, the great economic recession, the worst in more than 80 years, made the bad state the PLP left you in worse," he said.
"I'm not happy about our results, but I did the best I could, and anybody who thinks somebody else could do better - vote for them. But I assure you, if you think this is the frying pan, that's the fire."

New airlift initiative
Ingraham said Bahamasair will acquire another jet and take over the service now being provided by Vision Airlines to Grand Bahama.
This will mean that a 160-seat Boeing 737-400 Jet aircraft will have the capacity to deliver 6,600 seats monthly to Grand Bahama and when combined with the seats Bahamasair now has coming out of Fort Lauderdale, it will be 8,800 seats per month delivered to Grand Bahama - nearly 100,000 seats a year coming to Grand Bahama, he said.
This service will reduce travel time from cities like Baltimore, Maryland; Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina; Richmond, Virginia and Louisville, Kentucky, Ingraham said.
He added, ticket costs will be reduced from $600 round trip to $300 round trip.
"We expect that the Grand Lucaya and Grand Bahama Airport Company will view this initiative as a life saver for both the airport and the hotel," the prime minister said.
"We also expect that this effort could result in the opening of the Reef Resort by next winter, resulting in the creation of hundreds of jobs directly and spinoff jobs indirectly for you here in Grand Bahama.  We are taking steps to take advantage of the continued turnaround in the world economy."

Straight talk
Saying he was talking to Grand Bahamians straight, Ingraham said, "Papa knows that you have been catching hell for almost 10 years now.  The PLP left you catching hell - they didn't meet you catching hell. But when they left, they left you catching hell.   And they spent their five years in office promising, but doing nothing for you in Grand Bahama."
Ingraham also said, "The first challenge we have for Grand Bahama is to get you back to where we left you in 2002, before you dabbled with and touched Perry Christie and the PLP and got your hands burnt.
"We did it before. We are going to do it again. Once bitten, twice shy. You had them - once with them is more than enough. We know exactly who they are. We know what they represent. We know what they will do."

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News Article
Healthcare jobs are the cure for high unemployment

The number of job possibilities in the medical field is easily in the thousands, according to a leading lecturer and physician, and the country must do more to highlight these opportunities for Bahamians.
Dr. Robin Roberts, the director of the University of West Indies School of Clinical Medicine and Research in The Bahamas, made this appeal ahead of the Grand Bahama Business Outlook next week.
Roberts will serve as a speaker to stress the potential of healthcare to cure high unemployment.
The subject is perhaps a timely one.
Herbert Brown, the managing director at the Public Hospitals Authority, told Guardian Business late last year that up to $700 million will be spent on healthcare in the next 15 years. In fact, the $75 million expansion of the critical care block at Princess Margaret Hospital has already begun, as well as other extensions and upgrades to medical facilities in Grand Bahama and the Family Islands.
Meanwhile, according to recent figures from the Department of Statistics, the unemployment rate currently stands at 15.9 percent.
Roberts said this expansion and an aging population means The Bahamas must truly double its efforts to provide employment opportunities in the field.
Because at the moment, he said, Bahamians aren't getting the message.
"I don't know whether it is the schools aren't preparing them, or Bahamians are simply not aware," he said.
"The job opportunities for growth in the industry are phenomenal. We really need to double our efforts. We need to look at what is happening in our schools. That's where our efforts need to be. We need a much more aggressive and visible campaign."
To illustrate his point, Roberts said he is currently a lecturer at the College of the Bahamas. Although there is a "significant shortage" of pharmacists in the country, the class is often under-represented - even when scholarships are available.
Too many jobs in the healthcare field are occupied by foreigners to make up for the lack of skills, he said, and those that do well often end up in North America in the search for higher paying jobs.
He felt the country needs to make a commitment to jobs in the medical field.
Roberts noted that there are misconceptions that healthcare jobs only involve specialized occupations that require a great deal of schooling. He said a wide variety of positions are needed and available in the field.
"The beauty of healthcare jobs, is these are professions where you are working on the job site within two years," he said.
"I can't say offhand exactly how many jobs there are, but we're really into the thousands."
In regards to medical tourism, Roberts told Guardian Business that is "a whole new ball game".
He saw tremendous potential in this area as a means to generate jobs and revenue for the country, particularly for older retirees looking to settle down in a warm climate close to North America.
"When they are migrating and looking for retirement, the first question they ask is healthcare," he said. "If the investment is made in the industry, I think you'll see we can really take advantage of this."

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News Article
Christie: FNM taking low road

Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Perry Christie last night accused the Free National Movement (FNM) of 'attacking' his party's candidates.
Christie said the FNM is in so much trouble as a government it is taking the low road in its campaign.
Speaking at the official opening of the PLP's Golden Isles constituency office, Christie said the FNM is "attacking PLP candidates of such impeccable integrity and character that you almost can't believe they'd be so vicious and so stupid".
He told supporters the country can not afford to have an election based on such attacks.
"The real challenges facing our country are too serious," he said.  "So every time they invent some new charge, or recycle some tired, old already-discredited allegation, every time they do this, we'll show you how baseless and ridiculous they are, and then we'll go right back to telling you about the PLP's innovative plans to fight crime and create jobs."
Christie pledged: "They'll take the low road, and we'll take the high road because the low road doesn't take us where we need to go.  The low road is not the way to a safer and more prosperous nation."
The PLP leader did not specifically name which candidates are being 'attacked', but his comment came on the same day that Fox Hill MP Fred Mitchell accused Leader of Government Business in the Senate Dion Foulkes of 'carrying things too far' on Wednesday when he tabled a 2007 United States Embassy cable in which a senior Ministry of Foreign Affairs official alleges Mitchell was involved in a visa scam while he served as minister.
Mitchell has sued the official - Dorothea Lafleur - and has told Foulkes in a public statement he takes what has been done personally.  He was referring to the tabling of the document.
The former minister also told Foulkes: "This blood libel by you has now set enmity between me and your house."
Christie previously said Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham has attacked another PLP candidate - Dr. Perry Gomez, the AIDS program director who is running in North Andros and the Berry Islands.
Ingraham suggested last weekend that Gomez does not have a true commitment to the people of that constituency, but is only entering politics because he is facing mandatory retirement from the government health services sector.
Christie said last night that Bahamians are focused on fighting crime, creating jobs, and investing in people.
"The PLP is focused on fighting crime, creating jobs, and investing in people," he said.
Christie said the FNM does not want to talk about fighting crime or the economy.
"Why would they, when they made the recession so much worse in The Bahamas, with higher taxes, contracts for foreigners instead of Bahamians, and their failure to control energy costs?" he said.
He said all the FNM government has left is the national stadium and the Lynden Pindling International Airport project, which were initiated under his administration.
Christie claimed that when the PLP left office The Bahamas was a regional leader in employment.  "After the FNM, The Bahamas is at the bottom, among the worst-performing economies in the region," he said.
Last week, the Department of Statistics released the results of a November 2011 labor force survey, which revealed the unemployment rate jumped from 13.7 to 15.9 percent nationally, the highest in more than a decade.
The data painted a grim picture for Grand Bahama which saw unemployment figures rise from 15.4 percent in May 2011 to 21.2 percent in November 2011.
Christie said that with PLP Golden Isles candidate Michael Halkitis on his team, "we will lead the way forward".
"We see the problems, but we also see the potential," he said.  "We know we can create a booming economy here once again, with innovative ideas and a committed team of experts."
Halkitis served as parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Finance during the Christie administration.  He lost in his 2007 re-election bid to the FNM's Charles Maynard.
The PLP's Golden Isles constituency office is located on the corner of Carmichael Road and Bacardi Road.

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News Article
Crime prevention initiative launched

The Bahamas has been listed as a "priority" by the United States government for assistance in the local crime fight, partly because of the local crime rate over the past several years, Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) official Shanna O'Reilly said yesterday.
The U.S. Embassy is funding the anti-violence and crime prevention initiative Resistance and Prevention Program (RAPP), which is being facilitated by the PADF.
The PADF has partnered with the Royal Bahamas Police Force to introduce the multi-year program to Bahamian officials. The initiative was launched at the Police Training College yesterday.
Crime statistics have fluctuated over the last few years. Despite a drop in crime for the first half of this year compared to 2013, crime numbers remain high.
O'Reilly said the program was uniquely designed for The Bahamas based on an extensive needs assessment.
"The Bahamas was one of the major priorities for the U.S. Embassy," she said following the opening ceremony for the program. "So that also went into the calculation."
Asked if the crime rate also factored in on the decision, O'Reilly said,"It was a part of the picture."
"The Bahamas is actually one of the countries that the U.S. government was very interested in prioritizing as well. So that was a big factor in that."
Twenty individuals from various Urban Renewal centers will go through the program. Following their completion of the program they will be accredited and will be able to teach others.
O'Reilly said the RAPP will build on what Urban Renewal is already doing.
"This 40-hour accreditation workshop is intended to prepare leaders to mentor, educate and encourage others and work with young people to take concrete actions that improve the future of the next generation," according to a statement detailing how the program will work.
"The workshop will provide an opportunity for participants to exchange experiences and discuss theoretical frameworks on social crime prevention, the root causes of youth crime and violence, gangs, organized crime, domestic violence, communication and action plans to address these issues.
"Ultimately, it will prepare participants to lead up to five day-long courses in crime prevention on a variety of topics covered in the instructor's manual and participant handbook, and serve as agents of change in the promotion of concrete crime prevention techniques through the use of action plans in targeted 'hot spots'-- areas with 5,000 or more residents -- that include the communities of Fox Hill, Kemp Road, Saint Cecilia, Pinewood Gardens, Farm Road, Bain and Grants Town, Nassau Village and Fort Charlotte."
Police said they have noted a "marked increase" in crime statistics involving youth. Police also said a large number of the murders in the country are carried out by young men.
The program will continue until Friday. Once completed, its organizers will draft and launch an action plan to ensure that participants make use of the tools they learn during the course.

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News Article
Behavioural health group formed on Grand Bahama

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- A new health group is being formed in Grand Bahama, but this one deals with the head and mentality. Following speaking with the Rotary Club of Grand Bahama Sunrise, member Billie Bowe, Behavioural Health Activist, said that a small core group for The Family: People Helping People Programme, met this past Friday at the YMCA and they have already gained some corporate support and they are looking at an official launch soon.
Mrs. Bowe told the Rotary Club last Wednesday during their regular weekly meeting at Geneva's that there is a growing concern among the citizens of The Bahamas regarding the steady increase in violent crimes facing our communities.
"We are all talking about it in the lunchrooms, or at the office" she continued. "Or maybe even around the domino tables, where we are all asking, 'what is going on in Nassau with all these crimes?'
"And while it is tempting to get caught up in the many seductive explanations being put forward as to the 'numbers' of murders vs homicides, etc., very little attention is being focused toward answering the questions as to why. Why are these things happening in such a small country? What help, if any, are persons who are victims of crimes getting? I won't rattle on about crime statistics here. It's unnecessary. The bottom line is crime, most especially violent crime, is on the rise - plain and simple!"
Mrs. Bowe said that according to a poll The Bahamas as rated #5 most happy country in the world but she asked if we are so happy then what is causing so many symptoms like depression, suicide, erosion of the traditional family structure, drug addiction and violent crime that are so prevalent in our country?

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News Article
PM reports on meeting with Haitian president

Haitian President Michel Martelly told government officials that he is hoping to create opportunities in Haiti to attract citizens back to their home country, according to Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham.
"We had a normal, sensible discussion about the Haitian government's interest in exporting agricultural produce to The Bahamas, in increasing their business to The Bahamas and in providing opportunities for Haitian nationals to find Haiti more attractive to go back to Haiti," Ingraham told reporters over the weekend.
Thousands of Haitians have migrated to The Bahamas over the years.
In the past five years, nearly 21,000 Haitians have been repatriated.
According to the statistics, 2,392 Haitians were repatriated last year; 1,562 Haitians were repatriated in 2010; 4,931 Haitians were repatriated in 2009; 6,029 Haitians were repatriated in 2008 and 6,063 Haitians were repatriated in 2007.
Ingraham said the government is making huge investments to fight illegal immigration.
"We have populated the Defence Force with more craft than it has ever had in its history," he said.
"We bought them two new aircraft since we came to office and 10 new boats.  We are opening up a new Defence Force base in Ragged Island.
"We have now put Defence Force officers in Grand Bahama, Abaco, and in Inagua - all by the FNM - primarily to deal with migration, poaching and illegal drugs."
Ingraham said the reality is that Haitians are part of the Bahamian society and the government's job is to assimilate those who qualify for status and to make sure that they understand the Bahamian culture.
"There are thousands of persons of Haitian descent who are Bahamian citizens and who have been becoming Bahamian citizens since 1973.  And some of them even before 1973 were naturalized in The Bahamas. I've seen people as old as 75 years old who have been in The Bahamas for 40 to 45 years who were legal in The Bahamas and who are just getting their status straight now," he said.
"And of course the young ones, who become 18, who go to your schools, who you do not even know they are Haitian, apply for their citizenship. They do very well in our school system, and they become citizens. They are policemen, Defence Force officers, civil servants, etc.  One of the undersecretaries in the government, his mother is Haitian."
Ingraham said Haitians have made significant contributions in the development of The Bahamas  both in the public service and in the private sector. He noted that Stephen Dillet, the first black person elected to the House of Assembly in The Bahamas, was of Haitian descent.
Ingraham said the government will remain firm on its policy regarding illegals.
"Insofar as illegal persons are concerned, whether they are illegal Haitians, Jamaicans, Africans, Brazilians, Peruvians, etc, we want them not to be in our country and as we find them, we will repatriate them," he said.

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News Article
Don't lose the future

Sub-Deck:

With the noise for the Bahamas to do something about its national debt reaching a crescendo, none of the three major political parties set to contest the 2012 general election inspire much confidence that they will be able to address the situation

Wall Street set the ball rolling. It gathered pace with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). And by the time the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) had finished, the momentum pushing the Bahamas to immediately deal with its growing national debt pile had become a runaway train.

None of this is surprising to astute observers. A look at the headline statistics shows reason for their concern: A $4.25 billion national debt that contin ...

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