Foreign Affairs Minister Mitchell leads delegation to Dominican Republic
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration
The public is advised that Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell leads a delegation to Santo Domingo for high level bilateral talks with the Dominican government on the long standing and vexing problem of illegal poaching in Bahamian waters by Dominican fishermen.
In its charter for Governance, the Progressive Liberal Party promised to strengthen the country’s border patrol and protect the local fishing industry for Bahamians. Minister Mitchell has spoken to the leadership of the Dominican Republic during his visit there for the presidential inaguration and this trip is a follow up to that initial meeting.
Further, Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage has announced aggressive initiatives to strengthen the capacity of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force to better control our borders with plans to increase the manpower of the defence force by some 140 recruits in this fiscal year. He also announced a $200 million asset acquisition and technical training initiative. These programs and initiatives are in line with the commitments made in the Party’s Charter for Governance.
These talks, when announced by the government, have come under some criticism by the Bahamas Commercial Fishing Alliance as a waste of time. Mr. Mitchell had this to say in response:
“The government of The Bahamas has an obligation to protect its territorial borders and economy from all illegal encroachment and activities. We must live peacefully with our neighbours and therefore all conflicts must be addressed through diplomatic means, but we must forcefully make our position known on these matters. That is what responsible government’s do. It is instructive to also take note of the concrete steps the government is taking to increase the capacity of its relevant agencies to better deal with these vexing problems.”
Included in the delegation are National Security Minister Bernard Nottage and Argriculture, Marine Resources and Local Government Minister V. Alfred Gray. The delegation leaves Nassau on Monday, 29th October 2012 and is expected back in the capitol on Thursday, the 2nd November 2012.