0

‘Survivors will be humanely treated’

THE CAPSIZED boat, right, and, above, images from inside the boat underwater. Photos: RBDF

THE CAPSIZED boat, right, and, above, images from inside the boat underwater. Photos: RBDF

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net

ONLY two Haitian survivors from Sunday’s deadly boating tragedy had work permits to be in the country, Labour and Immigration Minister Keith Bell revealed yesterday, as he promised survivors would be treated humanely.

Speaking to the media, Mr Bell said it is likely those work permits will be revoked and that the holders will be repatriated as a consequence of violating the country’s immigration laws.

“We are now reviewing as to what we will do in respect to that, but standard policy is that those permits will be cancelled immediately and they would face repatriation,” Mr Bell said ahead of a Cabinet meeting.

“We want to be humane about what we do and how we do things given the tragedy, but at the same time, we have laws to enforce and we want to ensure that we do precisely that.

“Based on the information that we have coming from the police and the investigation, it would appear that they were engaged in an illegal smuggling operation, which is an offence in The Bahamas. Therefore, you cannot be in possession of a work permit. If you commit an offence, that’s grounds to cancel that permit.”

 According to police, some 50 people were travelling on a 33ft twin engine vessel that was enroute to either Miami, Florida or Grand Bahama when it overturned in rough seas near Blackbeard’s Cay around 1am Sunday.

 The tragedy left 17 Haitians, including a young girl, dead, while several people are believed to still be missing.

 Twenty-five people, including two Bahamian men, have since been rescued following the accident. Those two Bahamians in addition to a third man, have been arrested.

 Yesterday, Mr Bell said 22 Haitian nationals are currently being housed at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre.

 Meanwhile, two Haitian survivors remain in hospital, a Public Hospital official confirmed to The Tribune yesterday.

 Mr Bell said counsellors from the local Haitian community have been engaged to provide grief therapy to the survivors.

 Asked yesterday when the nationals are expected to be repatriated, Mr Bell said exercises will begin once investigations have been completed.

 However, he also explained that repatriations of the Haitians will not happen right away.

 “Those persons who were involved in this incident in one way or the other, we would not move to repatriate immediately because it’s an ongoing investigation,” Mr Bell said.

 “We will have to wait until the police finish their investigation and be satisfied that we may not necessarily need these persons as witnesses, or they very well may face other consequences.”

 “But as it stands now, let me say that at the detention centre, we have a total of 27 irregular migrants of Haitian descent. We have 93 Cuban nationals there now. We have a Venezuelan, two Dominicans, a Jamaican national and an Italian national there and so we are looking to ensure that we work with these countries to have their nationals repatriated as quickly as possible.”

 As it relates to search and recovery efforts of missing passengers, Mr Bell said officials will continue to utilise every effort to recover remains where possible.

 “We will be out there,” the minister said when asked when officials intend to call off the search.

 “I’m sure that the Minister of National Security would agree with me as long as it takes to recover the remains if there are any more at sea and once we get the experts, that is the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, who’s leading that charge, once they’re satisfied, that they are beyond recovering any bodies, etc, then they will advise the minister who will then make a decision. “

 RBPF officials could not say up to press time yesterday whether any of the deceased had been identified by relatives.

 On Monday, National Security Minister Wayne Munroe pledged to uncover the full extent of operations behind the latest boating incident, noting the illegal activity could be a part of larger transnational organised crime.

 “In my mind, something like that doesn’t just pop up and happen so we may be contending with international criminal organisations and – so there will be investigations to discover how this operation is put together,” he told reporters.

 “Is it localised? Does it involve persons in the US? Does it involve persons from Haiti? Is it a transnational gang? And our law enforcement officials will address that as expeditiously as they can.”

 In 2019, 28 Haitian migrants died after their boat capsized off Abaco in February of that year.

Comments

TimesUp 2 months, 1 week ago

Humanely. adverb. in a way that shows compassion or benevolence.

The survivors will absolutely not be treated humanely.

0

tribanon 2 months, 1 week ago

All poor and struggling Bahamians should just be sickened to their stomachs by Keith Bell's virtue signalling to illegal Haitian nationals in our country:

Labour and Immigration Minister Keith Bell ......promised survivors would be treated humanely.

“We want to be humane about what we do and how we do things given the tragedy...."

Mr Bell said counsellors from the local Haitian community have been engaged to provide grief therapy to the survivors.

Asked yesterday when the nationals are expected to be repatriated, Mr Bell said exercises will begin once investigations have been completed. However, he also explained that repatriations of the Haitians will not happen right away.

.....he also explained that repatriations of the Haitians will not happen right away.

“But as it stands now, let me say that at the detention centre, we have a total of 27 irregular (as opposed to illegal) migrants of Haitian descent."

Mr Bell said officials will continue to utilise every effort to recover remains where possible.

“We will be out there,” the minister said when asked when officials intend to call off the search.

This level of virtue signalling by the Davis led PLP government to our very large illegal Haitian community should tell all poor and struggling Bahamians a great deal about where they stand today on the totem pole of importance in their very own country. Yes indeed, suffering Bahamians are now the 'second fiddle' class of people in their own Bahamaland.

1

TalRussell 2 months, 1 week ago

This is telling observe colony's crown ministers washy 'work permit' responses... Treading back old testament times (OTT)? ... And this is but day four ... Ignoring immigrating, actually do have all the who. whom and whatever documentation on file― Yes?

0

tribanon 2 months, 1 week ago

There's very big money for certain of our senior government officials in 'selling' work permits to illegal Haitian nationals who should not be receiving them.

The wrongful (illegal) selling of these permits by corrupt Bahamian government officials is allowing thousands and thousands of illegal Haitian nationals to wrongfully remain in our country.

And this illegal activity only serves to embolden other Haitian nationals to illegally come to our shores as a stepping-stone to eventually getting into the U.S.

But the likes of Davis, Bell, Mitchell and others are refusing to clamp down on all the corruption surrounding the illegal 'selling' of permits to those who have entered our country illegally.

1

sheeprunner12 2 months, 1 week ago

Are Haitians treating the Bahamians humanely???

They are juicing us in every hole ......

0

One 2 months, 1 week ago

Treating humans humanely, what a luxury thanks to the international attention.

0

tribanon 2 months, 1 week ago

Bahamians who are poor and suffering as a result of the invasion of their country are human too.

0

tribanon 2 months, 1 week ago

Keep in mind too that immediate deportation would not allow our corrupt elected officials to bilk the public treasury for the money they are keen to put in the pockets of their lawyer friends who will be engaged to represent these illegal Haitian nationals.

It's always all about the money, which is why our corrupt elected officials continue to do nothing of any consequence to stop the ongoing flood of illegal immigrants into our small nation.

0

Sign in to comment