By FARRAH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A HAITIAN man who claimed he lived in bushes and survived off coconuts after he travelled to The Bahamas on a wooden sloop was yesterday fined $300 before being deported back to his home country.
Gemsly Phanor, 36, appeared before Senior Magistrate Derence Rolle Davis after he was found living in New Providence without the legal documents required to reside in the country.
He pleaded guilty to one count of illegal landing during the arraignment.
The court was told that a team of immigration officers conducted a small exercise on the western side of Nassau on February 12. When they saw Phanor, they approached him and questioned him about his status in the country. After he was unable to produce proof of his status, he was cautioned and taken to the Carmichael Road Detention Centre for further processing. Checks of the system revealed that Phanor had applied for a work permit that had been denied. When questioned, he also said he had migrated to the country illegally.
Speaking through an interpreter, Phanor told the magistrate he was in Cape Haitian when he saw some people leaving on a boat and he asked them where they were going. He said that after the men told him they were going on a voyage, he asked to tag along and they allowed him to because he was young. Phanor said he had no family in the country, so when he arrived in New Providence he lived in the bushes and ate coconuts to stay alive. Phanor claimed he eventually found people who helped him get decent food and shelter.
After listening to his explanation, Magistrate Davis accepted his guilty plea and fined him $300 which he paid. Phanor was subsequently turned over to the Director of Immigration for deportation.