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Students Failing To Return (Nassau Guardian)
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Posted by:Mar 27th 2006, 11:01:45 pm
Fig Tree News TeamStudents failing to return

By JIMENITA SWAIN, Guardian Senior Reporter

More than 50 per cent of Bahamian students who complete their college education in developed countries such as the United States never return home. Yesterday, Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs, made the revelation in Miami while speaking to Bahamians attending St Agnes Anglican Church.

Minister Mitchell also noted that "some 58 per cent of those who complete tertiary level or college level education who are from The Bahamas end up never leaving the developed countries like the United States."

In other countries such as the Caribbean nations, he said, the figure is more like 75 to 80 per cent of college educated people who never return home.

Stressing that leaving home was not an easy decision, no matter the circumstances, he said that many migrants still choose to seek a better way of life. "What this is telling us is that migration to the United States is still continuing from The Bahamas, and while some people think that is a bad thing for The Bahamas, I take the opposite view," Minister Mitchell said.

He added, "It would be good to have our citizens at home and we need our citizens at home, but wherever there is a Bahamian abroad, that Bahamian can help his fellow Bahamians. You are our best Ambassadors abroad."

Minister Mitchell also used the opportunity to speak about the Bahamas' sovereignty despite the recent backlash the country got from US demonstrators calling for the release of two Cuban doctors from the Carmichael Road Detention Centre. The two doctors were detained from last April until their recent release two weeks ago. "We are an independent and sovereign country, make our decisions within the world community, and no matter who shouts and screams, and threatens, the decisions have to be made in the best interest of all concerned," he said.

"The recent decisions then had to be taken having regard to our agreements with all nations [Cuba and the United States] concerned, and having regard to our relations with all the nations concerned," he said. Nonetheless, he was of the view that the issue was resolved in the best interest of all concerned. In addition, he pointed out that both Haitian and Cuban migrants that come to The Bahamas are sent home, but it was important to show equality of treatment before the law.

Minister Mitchell said Prime Minister Perry Christie shared with Florida Governor Jeb Bush on a recent visit that, "The Bahamas as a black country cannot develop a reputation of discriminating between black Haitians on the one hand and Cubans who are white."

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