Two Americans Trapped in Bahamas without I.D.: Helen & Ngozi Cash
We are Mrs. Helen Sandra Duncan Cash and Ngozi Adeyemi Duncan Ware Cash.
We need your help
We lost our documentation to hurricane, as have many people.
Institutions we should be able to get verification from don’t have a copy as they lost theirs too. Or they failed to transfer our document to computer database and as a result we are not in the system.
We’ve tried everything & more than listed here since July 2020:
- dental records,
- school records, and
- social security numbers.
- I’ve approached innumerable U.S. Lawyers,
- numerous Congress persons,
- a local Legal Aid Clinic,
- an organization for Stateless Persons and also
- two U.N. Lawyers with no success.
The U.S. Embassy says they no longer accept high school year book pix & social security numbers since 9/11.
We were hopeful when the then U.S. Consul recommended us getting a DNA test with a near relative for ID verification so we don’t continue to be “undocumented” & “stateless.”
However the incoming U.S. Consul has denied us that, saying we have to cooperate with the rules of getting a birth certificate from the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. which we can’t do because they are asking for what we do not have.
- Can’t get copy of our birth certificate without Government Issued ID and
- can’t get a Government Issued ID without a copy of birth certificate.
- And we do not have it because it was lost to hurricane and institutional failure to keep accurate records. So we are trapped in a catch-22.
The only option available to us is called a “Lawyer’s Protocol” and it involves paying a lawyer to travel and interview friends and family, compiling affidavits which he or she will then submit to a Judge who may or may not (there is no guarantee) grant us an exemption to receive a copy of our birth certificates from the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
This process costs a whopping $400 per hour for an estimated 15 hours totaling more than $6,000. Money we do not have because our savings were spent on my Husband’s funeral in 2020.
We would not wish this hopeless “Mission Impossible” scenario on anyone. The irony is that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which both the Bahamas and the United States are signatory to, states that every human being has the right to
- support their family;
- own a business and
- get married.
But I cannot do any of those long sought after rights without a Government Issued I.D. So every day that I can’t
- obtain gainful employment,
- get married or
- start my own business.
I (Ngozi) am being deprived of my basic human rights.
I (Helen) needs medical assistance for a heart condition. I have had two consecutive heart attacks from shock of my healthy Husband’s unexpected injury death. Covid restrictions complicated his receiving timely medical assistance from frightened doctors who vacated the island, govt. restrictions on human to human contact & no ambulance or bus services available during the early covid scare.
So, Mother Helen cannot receive medical assistance except under “emergency” because lacking the ID to apply for it. This was not the case just before covid & new ID rules applied to institutions.
I (Ngozi) have to work odd and slave wage paying jobs which barely cover rent, a few groceries and utilities.
My mother is skin & bones from heart break loss, heart failure, medical needs, worry & malnutrition.
I don’t have transportation. And I can’t save money to buy a car. Even if I could, I can’t get a driver’s license or bank account now unless with a govt. ID.
Do please HELP take us off the limited charity of kind friends who have their own covid restrictions, job & health losses to deal with.
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If we could just get 500 paying subscribers that would help allay legal and medical costs.
I have a cousin who is going to start a crowd funding account. She’s been fighting this battle every step of the way with us.
If you have any questions ask away.
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Thanks so much for listening.