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  • Gallery Staff

Bahamas launching two Pre-clearance facilities in Florida

Updated: Nov 16, 2020

Bahamas Customs and Immigration are in the process of setting up two pre-clearance facilities in Fort Lauderdale, Florida to accommodate the rich, raising serious National security concerns.

This means U. S. passengers traveling on private planes will be processed by Bahamian Immigration & Customs officers stationed in Fort Lauderdale before flying into any island of The Bahamas.

The Gallery is on the ground in Florida and caught a glimpse of the area designated for Bahamas Pre-Clearance. Furniture is being moved in to set up the space.

It will be similar to the U. S. Pre-Clearance area set up at Lynden Pindling International Airport, which allows Bahamian travelers to clear U. S. Customs and Border Patrol before boarding their flight.

However, observers are skeptical about whether Bahamian Customs and Immigration officers will wield the same powers in U. S. facilities that American Customs and Border Patrol agents enjoy in the Bahamas.

There are only two participating Fixed Based Operations (FBO) - SheltAir & Banyan Air.

Only clients of the FBOs will be allowed to utilize pre-clearance services.

Insiders are concerned that once these Bahamas Pre-Clearance areas are set up in Florida, flights can land at any US airport and take on items including prohibited and illicit goods without detection, leaving small islands and cays wide open for illegal gun and drug smuggling.

Immigration and Customs being housed on FBO premises in a foreign country could also compromise the integrity of the process.

Are laws governing Bahamas Immigration and Customs enforceable in the United States? No.

Will Immigration and Customs officers be able to detain or fine violators of Bahamian laws?

What will the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) think of this opportunity for money laundering?

What will the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) think about this opportunity for gun-running?

Has the US State Department sanctioned this venture?

Some fear Bahamas Pre-clearance will open up The Bahamas to irreparable damage under the guise of increasing visitor arrivals but really in an attempt to line the pockets of a few powerful men.

Critics have questioned whether the government has given real consideration to Bahamas Pre-Clearance in Florida or whether it will also be rushed like the country’s travel policies which change at the drop of a hat.

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