Saturday, August 30, 2014

Haitian fugitives and Illegal Haitian migrants in The Bahamas

Haitian fugitives may be in Bahamas

Authorities believe escaped prisoners traveled by boat

Guardian Staff Reporter

At least three men who escaped from a Haitian prison in a mass prison break earlier this month may have been apprehended with a group of illegal migrants who were caught in Bahamian waters, Haitian Ambassador to The Bahamas Antonio Rodrigue said yesterday.

Rodrigue said Haitian authorities contacted the Haitian Embassy in Nassau on Wednesday with the information.

“It is very concerning you know because [that] group of people who escaped from jail in Haiti, the government is trying its best to get everybody back in jail,” he said when contacted.

“I know some went to the Dominican Republic. They have been arrested there and some have been arrested in Haiti and we got the news that at least three of them could be in The Bahamas.”

He said Bahamian officials were trying to identify the men.

When contacted for comment on the Haitian fugitives yesterday, Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell said he could not speak to the issue.

Immigration Director William Pratt said he could not confirm the reports.

According to the Associated Press, 329 Haitian inmates escaped a prison in Croix-des-Bouquets after gunmen attacked the facility in an effort to free a prisoner.

The gunmen were attempting to free the son of a prominent businessman being held on kidnapping charges.

Haitian police believe that some of the escapees fled the country and authorities appealed to Dominican Republic and Jamaican officials for assistance.

Rodrigue said as soon as he was informed, he contacted Bahamian authorities.

He said it is imperative that if the men are in the group, that they are identified, secured and repatriated.

When asked if he fears that more of the escaped prisoners got away in The Bahamas, he said, “We don’t know yet.

“We are pretty sure they came by boat. Unfortunately for them, that boat was

apprehended by the Defence Force.

“Apparently they can be among a group who has been apprehended in Inagua, I think.”

He said the embassy is providing Bahamian authorities with the names and information of the suspects.

On Saturday, Royal Bahamas Defence Force officers spotted a Haitian sloop off Duncan Town, Ragged Island.

Officials said 105 Haitian migrants were apprehended — 76 men and 29 women.

The migrants are currently in Inagua awaiting repatriation.

Mitchell said recently that the Carmichael Road Detention Centre was “bursting at the seams”.

Pratt previously expressed fears that some of the fugitives may be headed to The Bahamas.

For the month so far, Mitchell said 409 migrants were interdicted in Bahamian waters.

August 29, 2014