Fears escaped Haitian prisoners may head to Bahamas
By KRYSTEL ROLLE-BROWN
Guardian Staff Reporter
Nassau, The Bahamas
Immigration Director William Pratt yesterday expressed fears that some of the fugitives who escaped a Haitian prison in a mass prison break earlier this week may be headed to The Bahamas.
On Sunday morning, more than 300 prisoners escaped a high security prison, which is just outside the Haitian capital.
According to the Associated Press (AP), Haitian police believe that some of the escapees have fled the country and authorities have already appealed to Dominican Republic and Jamaican officials for assistance.
Pratt said while the Department of Immigration has not received an official report from Haitian authorities, local officers remain on high alert.
“Our department [is] taking all of the necessary precautions,” Pratt said. “Our officers are always on high alert at the port of entry.
“However, we are concerned that most of these persons perhaps may attempt to enter illegally by illegal boat landing. That’s what we are afraid of.
“We are hoping that the Defence Force, as they always do, would also be alert and vigilant and ensure that no illegal boats are landed at any of our islands.”
According to reports, some inmates were captured, but up to last night there were more than 200 on the run, including accused rapists, robbers and kidnappers.
AP said the gunmen entered the prison in Croix-des-Bouquets and wounded two guards in an attack that is believed to have been orchestrated to free a high profile prisoner.
A total 329 prisoners escaped during the melee.
Given that The Bahamas is a common destination for Haitian immigrants, Pratt said it is not unreasonable to expect that some of the prisoners would attempt to migrate to The Bahamas.
Pratt noted that a group of 101 Haitian immigrants was apprehended by the Coast Guard in waters near Inagua on Monday.
He said there were 80 males and 21 females.
The Coast Guard took the migrants to Inagua, where they remained until yesterday.
The group was repatriated on several Pineapple Air flights directly from Inagua.
Pratt said in an effort to cut costs, authorities did not transport the Haitians to the Carmichael Road Detention Centre in New Providence, as is customary.
August 15, 2014