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Fred Mitchell: Government will "not countenance any malfeasance"

Addressing the media at a press conference is Immigration Minister Hon. Fred Mitchell. Accompanying the Minister are Director of Immigration, William Pratt and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Philip Miller The press conference was held on Sunday 21st December 2014. Addressing the media at a press conference is Immigration Minister Hon. Fred Mitchell. Accompanying the Minister are Director of Immigration, William Pratt and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Philip Miller The press conference was held on Sunday 21st December 2014.
NASSAU, Bahamas, December 22, 2014- Minister of  Foreign Affairs & Immigration for the Bahamas, Fred Mitchell, says his Government will "not countenance any malfeasance" on the part of individuals who are a part of his country’s Immigration Department.

Mitchell said he will be doing everything in his power to ensure the proper investigation of what has been alleged and “the chips will fall where they may.”

The Bahamian Foreign Affairs Minister noted that “the Government and the Prime Minister will not countenance the undermining of the integrity of the Immigration Department and stand by measures necessary to ensure that its integrity is not compromised.”

The issue surrounds reports that a Jamaican woman was raped by a senior immigration officer in the Bahamas. The Jamaican woman, who is a legal resident of the Bahamas and is married to a Bahamian, alleged that the incident took place at the home of  the immigration officer. 

The officer, who was detained last Wednesday, has since been released from police custody pending further investigation. In the meantime, he has been sent on indefinite administrative leave while the matter is being investigated.

The following is the full text of the  press statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs & Immigration, the  Hon Fred Mitchell, 

You already have in your possession a statement issued yesterday which speaks to an administrative action taken in the circumstances of certain allegations made against a senior immigration officer.

I cannot speak much more to this matter save and except to say that the chips will fall where they may.

There is also an ongoing investigation into a complaint by someone detained at the detention centre. It was discovered that money which was checked in upon his arrival was missing as he was being released. If the lost property is not found, the police are to begin a criminal investigation into the matter.

I want to make it clear that I do not countenance any malfeasance on the part of individuals who are a part of this department. The public needs to know that. The chips will fall where they may. The Government and the Prime Minister will not countenance the undermining of the integrity of the Immigration Department and stand by measures necessary to ensure that its integrity is not compromised.

We will update you from time to time in a more systematic way on the success of our work and the complaints where they arise and how those complaints were resolved.

It is important for officers of the Department to understand what we have been saying that this is a new era of increased scrutiny, transparency and public accountability. Those who cannot adhere to those standards are not welcome in the Department.

I thank the public for its understanding and support and I want them to know that these individual acts are not systemic or sanctioned by the government. In addition the work of the Department continues and will continue through the holidays and into the New Year.

Please be reminded that I shall be starting our efforts in Abaco in January, meeting with the communities in Cooper’s Town, Hope Town, Marsh Harbour and Sandy Point.

Thank you.

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