Bahamas Deputy PM Defends Immigration Amendment Bill

Bahamas Deputy Prime Minister K. Peter Turnquest is defending the newly passed Immigration Amendment Bill 2019, surmising there is a “misunderstanding” of the bill’s intentions and insisting that it does not provide for the free movement of people or labor.

The deputy, speaking Friday to reporters on the sidelines of a ribbon-cutting ceremony, said the bill makes it “convenient and efficient” for high-level investors and executives to visit their institutions that are operating in the Bahamas, The Tribune reported.

Turnquest, who is also the Minister of Finance, maintained the country has the right to admit or reject anyone. He also insisted that there was consultation, and while he could not provide specifics, he noted the Minnis administration “didn’t dream this up overnight.”

His comments came one day after the Bahamas Bar Association rejected one of two amendments to the Immigration Act that provides for work visa exemptions to visitors for a myriad of professional and commercial purposes.

Such persons would be allowed to enter the country in 14-day intervals to participate in conferences or seminars (excluding event organizers), attend trade shows or summits (again, excluding organizers) or work as a non-executive director of a business being carried out in The Bahamas, among other things.

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