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Missing Migrants ‘Had Help Ashore’

The sloop that was found on the shoreline of Adelaide Village in this photograph posted to Facebook.

The sloop that was found on the shoreline of Adelaide Village in this photograph posted to Facebook.

By SANCHESKA DORSETT

Tribune Staff Reporter

sdorsett@tribunemedia.net

THE Department of Immigration is conducting massive sweeps of known “areas for Haitian migrants” after a large empty sloop was discovered on the shoreline of Adelaide Village Sunday afternoon.

In an interview with The Tribune, Immigration Director William Pratt said he “had no idea” how such a large sloop could land so close to the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) Coral Harbour Base and go undetected, but suggested the RBDF should perhaps “improve their surveillance”.

Authorities believe the immigrants who landed on Sunday had help from people already on New Providence and yesterday warned anyone who was found to be hiding them would be jailed, fined or both. 

Kirklyn Neely, head the Department of Immigration’s Enforcement Unit, said he estimated between 150 to 250 undocumented migrants were on board the sloop. He said immigration officers apprehended 27 immigrants on Monday in an effort to gain information on the people who landed illegally the day before. None of the people caught were on board that vessel.

The hunt for the migrants began on Sunday when the RBDF said it was investigating reports of a wooden Haitian sloop landing in the southwest area of New Providence.

The ship came ashore sometime Saturday night or early Sunday morning, the RBDF said, adding the number of suspected migrants on board were unknown.

Officers conducted a search of the immediate area but did not capture anyone from the vessel.

Yesterday, Mr Pratt said the search for the migrants was ongoing and would be for days to come.

“An extensive search of the area was conducted today (Monday),” Mr Pratt said.

“We do not know how the boat came in undetected. We did a sweep of the main area but the search was also extended to areas where we know a lot of Haitians are concentrated. So for the rest of the week, we will be picking up illegal immigrants every day, whether they were on the boat or not, until we get the persons that came on the sloop. Honestly, I do not know how the boat was not seen, seeing that it was so close to the base but maybe they need to reevaluate their surveillance – but it’s quite unusual.”  

Meanwhile, Mr Neely sent a strong message to anyone who may be housing or hiding the immigrants.

“We were able to capture 27 people including Haitians, Jamaicans and Colombians who were here illegally. This kind of search will continue all week until we get the people who were on the boat,” Mr Neely said.

“We have questions – where did the boat come from? What time did it leave and were there any children who were on the boat? I also want to send a strong message to people, there is a fine or jail time or both if you are caught hiding illegals. All those people did not disappear without any help. There is also a misconception I want to clear up. The Immigration Act specifically says the burden of proof is on the individual who is living and working in this country. We have seen fraudulent spousal permits and work permits and birth certificates, so have your documentation on you at all times.”

The total number of undocumented migrants apprehended by the RBDF for the year is approximately 1,100. Half of these apprehensions were made jointly with local immigration and police authorities officers as well as the United States Coast Guard, the RBDF said.

Comments

TheMadHatter 6 days, 5 hours ago

Probably more help ashore than we will allow ourselves to even imagine.

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My2cents 5 days, 22 hours ago

It's more like no one wants to state the obvious. There should be an investigation into the surveillance procedures and personnel of the RBDF. This happened before, and it should have been corrected then; but as it stands the same thing could happen tomorrow. Whether complicity or inefficient procedures is to blame, they should have to have answer to the public on how this happened and the chances of it happening again.

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sealice 6 days, 4 hours ago

you know they had help ashore - it's not always just immigrants on board normally a couple suitcases of coke too...

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Cas0072 6 days, 4 hours ago

It is not news that they had help ashore. The Guardian report showed a man being captured in a shanty town, but no word on whether or not the people who harbored the man were also arrested. I have seen Haitians, the so called Haitian-Bahamians to be exact, boldly state in social media groups that they will not turn in illegal Haitian immigrants.

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sheeprunner12 6 days, 3 hours ago

There are at least 60,000 non-Bahamians living on New Providence with questionable immigration status ......... It would be easy to get help for another 250 illegals.

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Greentea 5 days, 22 hours ago

Thats a conservative number.

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baldbeardedbahamian 6 days, 3 hours ago

Lets build a big, big,, tremendously big wall all around New Providence. Let's make Jamaica and Haiti and Columbia pay for it. And what about these flights from Saudi Arabia?

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DDK 6 days, 2 hours ago

With you on the wall! What flights from Saudi Arabia??? Must have missed that.

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baldbeardedbahamian 5 days, 4 hours ago

UDK, I was just channelling the Donald for a minute there.......

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TalRussell 6 days, 3 hours ago

Comrades! Think about it. A sloop landing on the beach at Adelaide Village would be the equivalent of a sloop ending up on a beach on Miami Beach and loaded with 250 illegals - all while sailing undetected through the southern shores -all the way from Haiti. {Even Minister Marvin, couldn't explain this, or could he?}

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DDK 6 days, 3 hours ago

No drones on OUR southern shores eh Comrade?

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TalRussell 6 days, 2 hours ago

Comrade DDK, The United States Air Force fly drones to gather intelligence over the Bahamaland during the mornings and the wee morning hours, afternoons, evenings and nights. They cameras so accurate they can see through the walls and ruffs the numbers houses to see the numbers ya gambling on..... much less a sailing sloop full illegals on route to Adelaide from Haiti. But, Marvin will soon have his explanation?

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bogart 6 days, 2 hours ago

A paradime shift is needed in that we need an agency as Homeland Security with wide ranging powers combining all the powers of existing agencies and increase in penalties.Continuing the same old way is not working. Just by seeking the recent boatload 27 others were apprehended. How many rings have we ever smashed, captains caught, persons arrested for aiding and abetting, employers charged, etc. Using the same strategies??

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sealice 6 days, 1 hour ago

WIDE RANGING POWERS = WE ALREADY HAVE THOSE OFFICERS IN OUR CUSTOMS DEPARTMENT AND DEFENSE FORCE.... NO ONE CHOOSES HOWEVER TO EVER USE THESE WIDE RANGING POWERS....

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birdiestrachan 6 days, 2 hours ago

The Haitian woman said they put doc in power. So they are not paying him any mind. The outspoken QC say they have all the right to be here so they should not be stopped and questioned. Off course their Haitian brothers knew when they would arrive and what time they should be picked up and where. They probably went to work on Monday morning early. and the children if they were on the vessel will be admitted to school. if they are refused they can call Mr. small things Symonette or the Former Deacon who will have them admitted into the classrooms small things said call him he will fix it. and if the Women are about to give birth there is room at PMH.

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DDK 6 days, 1 hour ago

Your cynicism is showing!

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bogart 6 days, 1 hour ago

Birdiestrachan a further part of that same article is ....there is no law which requires anybody to walk around with proof of citizenship and Immigration officers have no right to demand you produce such proof, or detain you if you cannot. That is a flagrant violation of the constitution, which guarantees freedom of movememy and that you are presumed innocent until... How can our law enforcement officers oprate if their suspicions are aroused and if they cannot demand you produce some id.. Given the many illegals with Haitian names and many legal ones too the law handocaps our officers in going further and no wonder the situation grows.

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John 6 days, 1 hour ago

Human smuggling is no five and dime operation. Follow the money trail and see whose hands have fresh green ink on them. The Haitians are, for the most part, victims in this situation. Unfortunately the country cannot continue to accommodate them and the cost of repatriation is expensive. Need to find the smugglers and hit them with heavy fines to help cover the cost of sending their undocumented cargo back home.

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John 6 days, 1 hour ago

Then who is to say all the persons on the ship got off at one location. Usually they are forced to jump overboard and swim to shore. This may have been done on the south eastern side of the island. And then the high winds pushed the vessel further west and further north and into the arms of the defense force base.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 5 days, 23 hours ago

Hubert Minnis, Brent Symonette and Marvin Dames seem unable or unwilling to understand that we are a country under siege by illegal aliens. All Symonette ever wants to do as Minister of Immigration is give every illegal immigrant papers as quickly as possible to live and work in the Bahamas, even if he himself has to personally engage in robo-signing of approvals to eliminate the backlog of thousands and thousands of no doubt flawed and or fraudulent permit applications.

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Greentea 5 days, 22 hours ago

Didn't the neighbors say that they heard a ton of vehicular traffic in the area at 3 in the morning? Of course they had help. They ALWAYS have help.

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bogart 5 days, 22 hours ago

Afew years ago I believe the HaitianAmbassador went to South Beach when a illegal boat had just landed and was assisting our Officers.

As the Haitian Ambassador he should be brought in the picture to encourage his fellow citizens who are here illegally.

In addition to the Haitian Ambassador so too should the Legal Representatives of the Jamaicans and Columbians as citizens of their cojntries were also caught .

We need every Ambassador or Representatives of these illegal migrants to be more active or visible in assisting our efforts to enforce our laws and protect our sovereignity.

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John 5 days, 22 hours ago

and not to forget those who reside in Old fort bay and Lyford Cay and parts of the Abacos

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Greentea 5 days, 22 hours ago

Shocking- though not quite- how clear people see when they aren't governing and the very second they are elected, they become blind to the issues they ran on.

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bogart 5 days, 20 hours ago

Here newly elected had to come in running to pick up from the previous and it seems difficult to deliver simultaneously on all fronts especially when coming from a small opposition previously occupied with a number of challenges to its leadership which all knew.

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SP 5 days, 20 hours ago

DUH - Of course, they had help! There's nothing complex about it. Solving the illegal Haitian immigrant dilemma is as simple as equating the huge amount of money involved and following the trail.

The estimated 70,000 illegal immigrants each paid $5,000.00 minimum to get to the Bahamas by boat.

70,000 X $5,000.00= $350,000,000.00

Anyone ignorant enough to believe former TOP POLITICIANS are not involved in this mega-business need to visit Shane Gibson's clinic for head examinations!

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DDK 5 days, 2 hours ago

So these folk come to the Bahamas, mostly illegally, work in the Bahamas, lowering the hourly wage thresh-hold for Bahamians, line up every Friday and Saturday at the new-fandangled money gram centres and send their B$ (paying up to 25% for the transfer) to Haiti to their family and friends to pay the boat captains to bring them into the Bahamas illegally. Amazing!

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TalRussell 5 days, 20 hours ago

Comrades Lance Knowles and George Mosko, Jr, who own Sky High Media, might want give Minister Marvin a telephone call.
These two men's have invested in highly sophisticated camera platforms mounted on multi-rotor UAVs. Commissioned by government agencies, security companies, major resorts, real estate developments, they are even called to provide work for movie sets. They’ve done shoots in Florida for Busch Gardens and Sea World and provided photographic evidence for oil spills. They are taking the business of unmanned photography to new heights.
Comrades Lance and George can count the number lice crawling in peoples head hairs from afar in the skies above Adelaide. And, if ya ainit got's no head hair at the top, they can see through your lower undies.

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bogart 5 days, 19 hours ago

Wrong approach. You should have said they were foreigners.they have impressive credentials and they would have that contract done signed. Just jokin.

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Jetflt 5 days, 18 hours ago

Why is the RBDF not patrolling the coast line? We should have two layers of patrols......out to sea and close to shore around NP. In fact if they just focused on the Southern part of NP, they would hav detected this sloop. Where are the RBDF vessels? Docked at Coral Harbor and PG Wharf?

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TalRussell 5 days, 18 hours ago

Comrade Jetfitt, the only thing that I could think of that could have made their voyage from Haiti to the beach at Adelaide to have gone any more smoother, would've been if they had stopped off at the Coral Harbour base to have asked the Defense Force's Commodore - to please take over da sloop's tiller to steer the sloop to a safe landing at Adelaide. {You just can't make this kinds stuffs up}.

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Gotoutintime 5 days, 1 hour ago

And they could have assisted them to get ashore and accommodations for the night!

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Baha10 5 days, 18 hours ago

The "simple" Solution to Refugees, Poaching and Smuggling has always been to move the RBDF in its entirety to Inaqua and create a Survelliance Wall between Cuba and TCI, as all things bad come from the South, but as I noted at the beginning, this would be the "simple" Solution, first got to determine who of the "Insiders" are going be "granted" the land to flip to the Government for the Port, get the Construction Work, operate the Hardware and Food Stores, Restauants and Bars, together with Other Businesses that will flourish as a result, as the "Insiders" would not be able to accept their fellow native Bahamians from Inaqua "simply" benefiting from this mini economic boom.

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TalRussell 5 days, 18 hours ago

Comrade Baha10, I done thinks they are using a wooden types beneath the surface of the water submarine sloops to smuggle illegals into Nassau Harbour,

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TheMadHatter 5 days, 15 hours ago

Can anyone name a single company or individual in the last 7 years who was fined for employing an illegal? One? Just one?

Mitchell said in 2012/14 he would introduce legislation to fine employers. Never happened. So PMs threat to fine employers is without basis in law.

Someone please tell me im wrong. I hope i am.

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SP 5 days, 6 hours ago

Astonishing! With the massive illegal migrant problem, we are unable to name anyone or company ever fined for hiring them.

It is no wonder employers and illegals have no apprehensions about breaking the law. Shameful!

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ohdrap4 5 days, 3 hours ago

there is legislation to charge emplyers and the fine is 10,000.

i have never seen any report that it has been used.

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concernedcitizen 5 days ago

As a boat Capt I can tell you the ocean is very big ..There are many ,many boats doing legal trade and you can spot them from the sky w planes and in the case of the U S satilites and still not have the boats or personal to go board all and inspect what they are up to .More than likely speed boats were going out an d unloading the people from this sloop ,then she was left to drift ashore ..

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