NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Police investigation has been launched into the smuggling of the most recent interdiction of dozens of undocumented migrants from Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba, Ecuador, Romania, and Turkey on a yacht.
Minister of Labour and Immigration Keith Bell announced on Tuesday following weeks of apprehensions and the detention of more than 1,000 undocumented Haitian migrants in Bahamian waters as Haiti continues to face economic challenges ranging from the ongoing pandemic, consecutive natural disasters including a recent earthquake and political unrest.
Reliably informed, Minister Bell advised that there were two recent interdictions: one vessel with twenty-eight (28) Cuban migrants on board and one yacht with forty-four (44) people on board, not including minors.
Bell noted that the latter apprehension was particularly of note given that there were multiple nationalities on board, along with one Bahamian man who is believed to be the suspected smuggler.
Among those migrants detained were ten (10) Colombian men, two (2) Colombian women, three (3) Ecuadorian men and a minor, five (5) Ecuadorian women, five (5) Jamaican men, six(6) Romanian men, one (1) Romanian woman, one (1) Turkish man, five(5) Haitian men, and six (6) Haitian women — two (2)with minor children and one (1) currently pregnant.
Minister Bell said that “We are pursuing an investigation to determine where these migrants came from, where they were housed,”
“It’s obviously a major concern, so all of our law enforcement agencies are working together to investigate the matter thoroughly and to also ensure there is an effective and quick prosecution.”
Minister Bell noted that the apprehension has raised concerns of illegal harboring in the country that warrants a deeper investigation.
He advised that the Bahamian man found aboard the yacht is in police custody and the group is expected to be charged this week.