By FARRAH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A HAITIAN woman who falsely told immigration officers that she had travelled to the country on a wooden sloop, although in fact she had entered by plane, was yesterday fined $1,500.
Claudelle Bien-Aime, 30, was charged with overstaying after officers found her living in Marsh Harbour, Abaco on February 20, beyond the time given to her to remain in the country.
The prosecution said the accused also gave immigration officials a false answer when she was detained for questioning.
The court was told that a team of immigration officers conducted an operation in Abaco. When they approached Bien-Aime, she was unable to show proof of her status. As a result, they arrested her and took her to the island’s immigration office for further processing.
When they questioned the accused there, she told them she had arrived in the country by boat. However, checks of the system revealed that Bien-Aime arrived by plane in September 2019 and was given permission to stay in the country until March 2020. The prosecution said the accused overstayed for a period of 11 months and three days.
After she pleaded guilty to the offences, Magistrate Samuel McKinney fined her $500 or one month in prison for overstaying and another $1,000 for lying to immigration officers. He said while he considered the fact that the pandemic made it difficult for people to travel during the early parts of last year, Bien-Aime had no excuse to justify her deceiving immigration officials.