Family in Saba finally reunited with father

Wednesday, February 17, was a special day for a Saba fam­ily with three minor children who were finally reunited after they won their appeal case filed against the Immigration Department’s denial of a residence permit for the father, Akeem Isiah Winston, their attor­ney Remco Stomp said.

The father was raised in Saba, but holds a Dominica passport, and had been legally married to his Saba wife for many years. He was informed by Immigration officials in 2011 that he was not allowed to stay in Saba and had to leave the is­land, Stomp explained.

Akeem Isiah Winston (front left) with his family (Photo The Daily Herald)

Since then, he kept on trying to stay with his wife and children in their ancestral home in Saba. How­ever, each time he wanted to file for residency he was sent away by local authorities with the message that he did not qualify and had to leave the island, sometimes separating him from his family for more than a year, Stomp said.

“On several occasions he made it back to Saba, but was constantly harassed by police, who took his passport on at least five separate occa­sions over the years, telling him that he would only get it back if he left, forcing him off the island and separating him from his family time and time again,” Stomp said.

As the situation for the mother and the children became unbearable, Win­ston made his way back to Saba and moved in with his loved ones, determined not to leave anymore. He once more filed for residency and this time around the applica­tion finally was accepted, but turned down nevertheless because he had not remained off-island as is required by law, the Immigration De­partment’s decision stated.

The Winston family con­tacted attorney Stomp in St. Maarten, who filed an imme­diate appeal against the de­cision with the Immigration Appeal Committee, which is based in Bonaire.

In the appeal Stomp fo­cused on technicalities within the law and pointed out that, according to the law, individ­uals who have had legal resi­dence for a prolonged period of time are to be exempted from the off-island require­ment.

Stomp asked Winston to start looking for his old resi­dence papers. “This was eas­ier said than done, as find­ing old documents after the various hurricanes over time poses a challenge,” whereas “government systems that change over time do not al­ways hold all necessary, com­plete or correct information, experience teaches,” Stomp explained.

However, Winston did manage to find some ex­pired residence permits, as he had been raised in Saba as a child. Stomp submitted these as evidence during the appeal.

In addition, Stomp pointed out to the court that the fam­ily complied with all other requirements for residency, as well as the right to a fam­ily life which is “explicitly guaranteed” under the Eu­ropean Human Rights Treaty EVRM.

The Immigration Appeal Committee accepted the ap­peal in the name of the state secretary of justice and se­curity, finally granting Win­ston’s “hard-fought right to stay with his loved ones and reuniting this Saba family,” his lawyer said.

The Daily Herald.

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3 comments

  1. At last!
    Who is that / are those Inhumane Civil Servant(s)? Are they still in function?
    And why did the government nothing? Have you learned something about this 10 year procedure?
    What about the police men mentioned in this story? Are they still doing this kind of things?
    And where was the solidarity of the rest of the people of the island?
    All in all a not so good advertisement for Saba! Shame!

  2. Wat een slechte reclame voor Saba! Dus bij de 180 ambtenaren zitten er een paar bij die regeltjes belangrijker vinden dan mensenrechten! Wat gaat de baas van die ambtenaren hieraan doen om dit in de toekomst te voorkomen?

  3. Thank God this family can Now plan their future together!
    This is their Hero! Their Daddy! One Lovez, under One roof!
    Onward & Forward You Go!Congratulations!
    This is going to be an Amazing year!

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