By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
A BAHAMIAN and seven illegal immigrants were charged in the Freeport Magistrate’s Court on Thursday in connection with illegal embarcation contrary to the Immigration Act after they were allegedly found in waters 18 miles off Freeport last week.
Alexander Williams, a Bahamian, appeared before Magistrate Debbye Ferguson. He pleaded not guilty to charge of assisting with the illegal embarcation of illegal immigrants from the Bahamas while knowing they did not have proper visa or passport to enter the United States.
It is alleged that on April 9, the accused assisted six Haitians and one Jamaican in leaving Freeport for a destination outside the Bahamas without requisite visas or passports permitting them entry to the United States.
Williams was represented by Simone Brown. He was denied bail and remanded to the Bahamas Department of Corrections until May 23 for trial.
The six Haitians - three men and three women - and Jamaican Damion Mason pleaded guilty to the charge of illegal embarcation and were each ordered to pay a fine of $300 or six months imprisonment in default of payment.
Magistrate Ferguson ordered that on payment of the fine or serving prison term that the seven persons were to be deported to their respective countries.
The Haitians were also charged with illegal entry to the Bahamas. They all pleaded guilty and were ordered to pay a fine of $300 each or serve one year imprisonment in default of payment.
Mason also pleaded guilty to the charge of overstaying his time in the Bahamas. According to the particulars, the accused was granted an extension from the Department of Immigration in December 2015, and sought not to further extend his visitor’s time and remained in the country.
He was ordered to pay a fine of $3,000 or one year imprisonment in default of payment.