The year 2019 began with a blast and practically every goal proposed for the Department throughout 2018 had rolled over into blessings throughout 2019, with few exceptions.
2019 IN REVIEW
Over (29) twenty-nine staff members received advanced training locally and (7) seven internationally in various key areas such as, Firearms, Drone Operations, Trafficking and Child Exploitation etc.
- Vehicular assets grew substantially
- Our 80th Anniversary Celebrations moved along enthusiastically with all who participated on board.
- Our dog kennels were tentatively approved, as was our pending canteen at the Carmichael Road Detention Center.
- New weapons and vests landed and talks of advanced body cams and drone technology appeared within reach.
- Digitization spread rapidly throughout the organization and new procedural changes made the threat of illegal migration a war we felt we could win.
The times were changing and succession planning appeared a reality worth exploring 2019 and beyond. Then, on 1st September 2019, Hurricane Dorian arrived in our midst and everything changed. The consequences and devastation were far-reaching throughout the entire Commonwealth and the world at large, as nations far and wide came to our rescue to aid in one of the region’s most devastating natural disasters in decades.
Our role as an agency swiftly became not just enforcers of the law but also search and rescue, as our courageous men and women rose to the occasion and made me and this nation very proud. This phenomenon served to separate many “sheep from the goats” and our lives, and that of our nation will never be the same.
Thank God Jehovah we survived as an agency; bent but not broken, battered but stronger as our brothers’ keepers. Likewise, we as a nation survived in spite of the challenges we face, particularly our staff and citizens of Abaco and Grand Bahama. From this year of unexpected ups and downs, we have learnt that at all times, we must prepare for the unexpected as we strive to continue in the spirit of brotherly love, for it is His will.
To our Honourable Minister, Permanent Secretary, Ministry staff and other external support teams – we thank you for your continued support of our unwavering efforts!
I take this time also to commend our Social, Sports and Welfare Committees throughout the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, whose role in bringing our staff together cannot be overlooked. Your contributions to those hospitalized, those who fell from our ranks (retired), and support of family members of our staff who passed- whose funerals we attended throughout 2019, did not go unnoticed.
I would be remiss, if I failed to salute our hardworking and dedicated Detention Center, Prosecution and Enforcement Units who were instrumental in pounding the streets as they likewise are responsible for the processing and repatriations of some (2005) two thousand and five convicted illegal migrants, of all nationalities safely to their home countries.
To all the support staff who work tirelessly behind the scenes, your contributions are duly noted.
The participatory roles we played in competing within our communities in sporting events were par excellent. The crowning agent was our stellar Annual Christmas Party 2019 – which saw the elites and the not so elite, but all-important in our midst. This event spoke volumes of the success you have all achieved as hard-working, dedicated agents of change. It showcased your comradery at work at its best! Your co-operative spirits and organizational skills were clearly on display.
You made us all proud!
As I presume you have all commenced, and in instances completed your area reports/statistics for the agency’s Annual Report 2019. I take this opportunity to thank you for your contributions, as I likewise invite your recommendations for agency growth and development, going forward in your respective areas of command for 2020 and beyond.
On behalf of my family and I, we wish you all, your dear families and where applicable, your significant others a happy, safe and healthy New Year 2020 and beyond!
May the peace of God Jehovah be with you always.
C. Alexander Russell II
Director of Bahamas Immigration
MOFSTI & Immigration