Govt gives cash to help Bahamians stuck in US – Bahamas Tribune

Posted: April 11, 2020 at 7:29 pm

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Senior Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

THE Bahamas government has provided cash to some desperate Bahamians stuck in the United States, often to help with their living accommodations during the COVID-19 crisis, according to Bahamas Ambassador to the United States Sidney Collie.

The State Department, he said, has also worked with this countrys immigration department to ensure Bahamians approaching the end of their visit are not found in violation of US immigration laws.

Mr Collie said small funds have been given only in cases of real emergencies, stressing the government cannot fund long-term accommodations for Bahamians stuck in the US.

In some cases, exceptional ones, where theres absolutely no other accommodations that have been found we have provided financial assistance but the Bahamas government is not able to commit to providing long-term accommodations for people, the accommodations are very short-term and we try to work out some other form of accommodations for persons in distress, he said.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced the closure of this countrys borders to incoming flights on March 23.

About 270 Bahamian students in Florida are among those eager to return home, Mr Collie said.

They have been made to understand that the border is closed, theres an emergency and theres no chance deep into this lockdown that its going to be opened, he said. Weve advised them they have to ride it out where they are and those who need subsistence living assistance, weve given those and as issues pop up in emergency cases where there is a real need for small cash, that has been provided.

Profiling those needing assistance, Mr Collie said: We have Bahamians who got caught, didnt make it back home, didnt pay attention, ran out of money, are living in hotels and had to vacate the hotels.

Theyre mostly in South Florida. Some dont have a credit card or the card maxed out so emergency arrangements have been worked out for them at consulate offices. In the rest of the US, most students and other Bahamians have made satisfactory arrangements to stay in the country.

Mr Collie said there are about 40,000 Bahamians in the US.

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Govt gives cash to help Bahamians stuck in US - Bahamas Tribune

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